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International Register

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Archives of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany
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Archives of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany - Post view
Region / Country - International Organization > International Commission for the International Tracing Service
Year of Registration 2013
Possessing Institutions International Commission for the International Tracing Service
Management Institution 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.