Archives of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany
Archives of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany - Post view
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- International Organization > International Commission for the International Tracing Service
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International Commission for the International Tracing Service
||International Commission for the International Tracing Service
Between 1933 and 1945 the world went through an unprecedented period of destruction and persecution caused by the National Socialist regime in Germany. The Second World War represents the widest conflict humanity ever experienced. At the same time the Holocaust took place.
The International Tracing Service was established for the purpose of tracing missing persons and collecting, classifying, preserving and rendering accessible to governments and interested individuals the documents relating to Germans and non-Germans who were interned in National Socialist concentration or labour camps or to non-Germans who were displaced as a result of the Second World War. The ITS archives, undoubtedly the largest depository of original papers that tell the fates of those who were persecuted and murdered, comprise about 30 million documents issued during the National Socialist period or immediately after the war. The collection contains material from concentration and extermination camps, ghettos and Gestapo prisons, as well as documentation on the displacement and exploitation of forced labour and the fates of displaced people including survivors searching to emigrate out of a destroyed Europe.
Since 1946, the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen (Germany) have been testimony to the persecution of minorities and political opponents of all kinds, the extreme exploitation of forced labour and a vast uprooting of people from their homes. As time passed, the ITS became tasked with further missions: the wider dissemination of information on the persecution, the opening and description of the archives, education and research. Many scholars from universities, memorial sites and educational and research institutes in various countries are currently using ITS archives for their research programmes. The sheer volume of the ITS archives illustrates the extent of Nazi crimes. As witnesses will soon no longer be among us to tell their stories, the documents become of even greater relevance. They will bear witness of what happened for generations to come and emphasize the essential values of democracy and freedom, protection of the rights of minorities and respect for human rights.
"To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all", said Nobel Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, warning the world that the atrocities must never be forgotten in order to make sure that they will not happen again.