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Opening of the International Tracing Service's Holocaust-Era Archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany

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Publication Date: April 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22638

Topic: Culture and religion (Cultural heritage and preservation)


For over 60 years, the International Tracing Service (ITS) has limited access to information in its vast archives of documents relating to victims of Germany's NationalSocialist (Nazi) regime to survivors of Nazi crimes and their descendants. As recently as 2006, ITS had a recorded backlog of over 400,000 requests for information. The archives remain off-limits to historical research. In May 2006, responding largely to pressure from Holocaust survivors and their advocates, the International Commission overseeing ITS agreed to open the archives for historical research and to make digital copies of its collections available to research institutions in Commission member states. Six member states have yet to approve the agreement. In March 2007, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs reported out H.Res. 240 urging these states to expedite approval of the Commission's decision to open the archives. Some Members of Congress have urged the Administration to seek authorization for the immediate transfer of digitized copies of archived materials to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum at the Commission's May 2007 meeting. This report will be updated after the May meeting.