a A

Milestones for the ITS

A number of ITS milestones revolve around expanding digital content

A number of ITS milestones revolve around expanding digital content

As part of its system of targets, the ITS is planning several milestone projects between now and 2020. The following milestones have a high priority:

Packing and new damage analysis

For decades, the documents in the ITS archive were tools used on a daily basis to respond to inquiries. For this reason, they were not packed and stored in accordance with archival standards. Two milestones are important for preserving the holdings: Before the documents are moved to the provisional archive, a new damage analysis will be carried out in 2017 as the basis for a 10-year restoration plan. The move in the second quarter of 2017 is also the deadline for all documents to be repacked in accordance with archival principles. One of the last collections to be repacked will be the more than 30,000 boxes that make up the Central Name Index, which contains reference cards relating to the fate of 17.5 million persecuted individuals.

Description and indexing

Another project for 2017 involves determining when each document collection should undergo archival description. This milestone is important because the priorities set here will also determine what is published online. As soon as a collection has been described, the archival description can be published in the general inventory on the website. Then the documents can also be uploaded to the Online Archive of the ITS.

Center for Digitization

Since the ITS began digitizing documents in 1998, it has acquired a great deal of expertise in this segment. By 2020, the technical framework should be in place for the ITS to offer its digitization services to other archives and institutions.

Fundraising and third-party funds

The ITS is generally funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). But various projects planned by the ITS require additional funding in order to be realized. For this reason, a high priority has been placed on acquiring third-party funds and establishing a fundraising program. In 2017 we will initiate the concepts for quickly getting this under way.

Exhibition and conference for the ITS anniversary in 2018

The ITS is planning an exhibition on its history and work to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of Allied tracing activities and the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the ITS. The exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to learn about these tracing activities, the establishment of the archive, and the development of the institution. Parallel to the opening of the exhibition, we will hold an international conference dealing with aspects of the history of the ITS as well as the research potential offered by the archival holdings.

Paul Dostert, Chairman of the International Commission
In June 2016, Paul Dostert assumed Chairmanship of the International Commission on behalf of Luxembourg.

We want to optimally support the ITS by intensifying our cooperation, sending clear messages, and implementing concrete goals. In the coming year, the International Commission will meet for the 80th time. To mark this occasion, we will hold a conference in Luxembourg which looks back on the fight to open the archive. We want to raise even more awareness of the wealth of documents available in Bad Arolsen.

In June 2016, Paul Dostert assumed Chairmanship of the International Commission on behalf of Luxembourg.

Online exhibitions

To make the topics and projects of the ITS more internationally visible and accessible to all internet users, the ITS will offer online exhibitions on the Google Arts & Culture platform starting in 2017. The first step will be to present a small project about displaced persons based on the traveling exhibition “Where should we have gone after the liberation?” This will be followed by an exhibition developed in cooperation with the Buchenwald Memorial on the first 149 prisoners who were deported to this concentration camp 80 years ago.

E-guides to the documents in the ITS archive

Documents from the ITS archive, especially those from the Nazi era, require explanation – for researchers and family members alike. The ITS is therefore issuing a series of three electronic guides (in German and English) which explain various types of documents. The first guide covers documents from concentration camps, and it will be followed by guides for documents about forced laborers and about displaced persons (DPs). All three guides will be published online in the coming years.

Knowledge management

Since many ITS employees will be retiring in the years to come, a concept will be developed for transferring knowledge about the collections and the inquiry process to the next generation. This will include events such as “Employees Training Employees,” introductions to the sub-collections, and the development of a database with text modules on historical keywords.

Archive pedagogy: Memorial visits

The ITS will develop a document-based program to support groups before and after they visit a memorial. It will be based on the ITS archive, with its extensive holdings on concentration camp prisoners. Through these prisoners’ biographies and histories of persecution, direct connections can be drawn between the areas in which the groups of visitors live and the sites of Nazi terror – in nearly all regions and cities of Germany and other European countries. The groups can use the material to prepare for or follow up on a visit to a concentration camp memorial. The materials supplied by the ITS can also be used as a starting point for local history initiatives, such as memorial projects.