Annual report of International Tracing Services, Bad Arolsen, Germany, says inquiries remain undiminished as relatives seek contact or other information for family members thought lost.
Perhaps one of the requests is from the stocky, older man who came to my first Lebensborn book talk to ask for help in locating his “true” parents in Germany.
The humanitarian department at ITS last year received over ten thousand inquiries concerning over sixteen thousand people in sixty-nine countries in the most part by the children and grandchildren of Nazi persecution.
The new fifty-page report written in both German and English
says that ITS has now opened its archives and is transferring information to partner organizations and increasing its presence on the Internet to encourage more to make use of the over thirty million items of information. ITS now has a Russian website and has conducted discussion groups in Russia, the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Poland.
The average search by a staff of three hundred persons takes up to eight weeks to clarify individual fates. Each letter reveals a “particularly haunting picture of the past, the complexity of the suffering, and shows the brutality of the Nazi regime, yet also the courage of the survivors.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross is removing itself from active management of ITS but continues its affiliation with this humanitarian organization. This allows ITS be a continuing active center for documentation, information and research.
In January 2013, the German Federal Archives will be the new institution partner of ITS. A German staff member in the foreign office said, “I don’t need to emphasize how important it is for the Federal Republic of Germany to keep alive the memory of the victims fate.”