FREE Holocaust archive for history and human interest writers
If you write about history and have an interest in the Holocaust, there is an amazing archive resource available FREE. Miles of documentation are available for reference and research – the project, instituted by the Red Cross, is the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany. These resources were amassed by Hitler’s regime but were siezed by Allied forces. Digital versions of the archives are finally available for general use.
There is no archive like it, at least as far as size is concerned, in the world. You can find information about almost 20 million Holocaust victims in this treasure. Originally, the material was part of a huge conglomerate of personal belongings, documents, and other valuables that had to be sorted and preserved after the liberation of concentration camps. Anne Frank, or Annaliese Marie Frank’s journey from Amsterdam to death at Bergen Belsen is part of it. The documents are all in German, but are translated to English.
After half a century, these documents and artifacts are being assembled, cataloged, classified and compiled by the ITS
Soon, the generation of people who survived these camps will be gone and it’s an important task of other writers to carry the traditions, truthfully, into perpetuity. Mankind simply doesn’t dare forget lists of people who toiled in Oskar Schindler‘s factories. We can’t discard the horror of a birthday gift to Adolph Hitler – the murder of a human being each hour of the day — to celebrate.
This is an invaluable resource containing material that is not available anywhere else on Earth. Families of victims may write in and request information via postal or email. The ITS website provides complete information about how the service can be accessed, what kind of data is there, and what is needed in order to complete a request for information. Press related resources are available, as are descriptions of research topics and good scientific guidelines for research.
If nothing else, browsing the ITS site gives an insight into feelings surrounding this tragic part of history. There are unlimited story ideas here. 60 Minutes reported on the ITS and the first Holocaust survivors to have visited the archive. (15 min video)