Helping Families Trace the Fate of Nazi Victims: Foreign Ministry Presents Arolsen Archives

(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, FILE)

A one-day meeting at the Greek Foreign Ministry will present to the Greek public the long-standing efforts to document persecutions by the Nazis through international research centres, on February 27.

The presentations in the English language will explain the work of the International Documentation Center (IDC) and especially that of the Archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS), whose International Commission Greece is now presiding over. The other members of the Commission include Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

ITS, renamed this year “Arolsen Archives”, holds 30 million documents on Nazi persecution. It is the most important record of inmates at Nazi concentration camps through documents seized by the Allies after WWII and kept from 1946 at a central location in Germany. They were supplemented by documents on Displaced Persons after 1945 by the Allies.

The Arolsen Archive is housed at the town of Bad Arolsen in Hesse, Germany and includes the Central Name Index, a collection of nearly 50 million index cards providing information on 17.5 million fates.

The Archive helps families trace the fate of victims and focuses on three central topics: incarceration, forced labor, and the liberated survivors. Since 2013 it has been included in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” Register.

At the meeting on Wednesday (Feb. 27) at the Kranidiotis amphitheatre in the Foreign Ministry, the Greek presidency will also inaugurate the exhibit “Stolen Memory” in the building and options for accessing the digitised archives electronically. Opening remarks will be made by Deputy Foreign Minister Markos Bolaris.