in the garden

 

Feb 2012 Journal

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International Tracing Service archive now available in UK

At an historic event at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office last December, AJR member Eugene Black spoke about his reaction to obtaining records from the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen and about the persecution he endured at the hands of the Nazis in several concentration camps. The records documented his journey from deportation in Hungary through several concentration camps until liberation at Bergen-Belsen.

Eugene Black was speaking at the launch of the UK copy of the ITS records that will now be publically available, free of charge, at the Wiener Library in London. Comprising 50 million documents covering 17.5 million people, the archive contains material from concentration, slave labour and displaced persons’ camps as well as transportation lists and Gestapo arrest records from the Nazi era, the Second World War and the following decade.

The archive, set up in London in 1942, was created for the ITS to ensure that those displaced by the Second World War and its aftermath could be traced by their families, but today it is of enormous value for researchers, scholars and educators studying and teaching this period in history.

Speaking ahead of the launch, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said: ‘The International Tracing Service archive is hugely significant. Allowing the British public access to the archive in the UK for the first time will enable Holocaust survivors, refugees and their descendants to obtain information about the fate of their relatives who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. It will also provide an invaluable collection of primary source material for UK-based academic researchers and students, and is further proof of the UK’s active approach to preserving the memory of the Holocaust.’

The decision to bring to the UK a copy of the archive, the world’s foremost collection of documents on the Holocaust, followed an agreement in 2007 of the 11-government International Commission which governs the archive.

The AJR is part of the ITS Stakeholders Group, which worked with Sir Andrew Burns, the UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, and the government to bring a copy of the records to the UK.

Michael Newman

previous article:Lutz Weltmann: A forgotten voice
next article:Gloucester and the Kindertransport: A city’s response to Kristallnacht