In the archives of the ITS

During the many years of our research, we have always been in good contact with the staff at the ITS Archives in Bad Arolsen, which has not been open to the public for a long time.

The Arolsen Archives – International Center on Nazi Persecution is a center for documentation, information and research on Nazi persecution, Nazi forced labor and the Holocaust.

Until May 2019, the organization was known as the International Tracing Service. (ITS). The main tasks of the ITS were to clarify the fate of persecuted persons of the Nazi regime and to search for family members, to provide information to survivors and family members of Nazi victims, to research, pedagogy and remembrance, and to store, preservation and archiving documents.

With around 30 million documents, the ITS collection is one of the largest collections of documents on civilian victims of Nazi period.  The Central Name Register contains references to about 17.5 million people. The total stock of the archive is about 26 running paper kilometres. They shed light on the extent of persecution by the Nazi regime, the unscrupulous exploitation of forced labour and the consequences of the Second World War for millions of refugees. The holdings are divided into three major areas: imprisonment, forced labour and displaced persons.

In June 2013, the archive was included in the World Documentary Heritage by UNESCO.

We had registered for research in the archive for several days with Heike Müller and Christiane Weber, were assigned two workstations with professional instruction from Heike and then worked our way through the files for 8 hours a day. The result was several gigabytes of documentation.

At the end of the last day we gladly accepted Christiane Weber’s nice offer for a private, competent guided tour through the exhibition of the archive. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Heike and Christiane for their nice support.