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International Tracing Service: new management, extended role

18-11-2011 News Release 11/235

ICRC (Geneva) - The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany is set to expand its role. While continuing to trace people missing as a result of the Second World War and reuniting families, the ITS is to become a fully developed centre for documentation, research and education on the Nazi persecution of 1933 to 1945.

Back in 1955, the 11-State International Commission for the ITS entrusted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with the management of the ITS. Now the time has come for the ICRC to withdraw from that role, a process that will be complete by the end of 2012.

Meeting in Paris on 18 November 2011, the International Commission agreed an enlarged mandate and new management structure for the ITS, assigning to the German Federal Archives the role of adviser. These changes are planned to come into effect on 1 January 2013, but the ICRC will retain observer status at the International Commission and will continue to work with the ITS on all tracing related services involving the worldwide network of the International Movement of Red Cross Red and Crescent Societies.

The new status results from the opening up of the ITS' archives in 2007 and confirms its evolution from a purely tracing-oriented body to a centre for documentation, research and education.

"After more than half of a century of managing the work of the ITS in providing millions of answers to people around the world on the fate of their loved ones, the time has come for us to leave. But we will continue to lend our technical expertise on tracing-related matters to the new ITS," explained Barbara Hintermann, head of ICRC operations in Europe and North America.

The International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen serves victims of Nazi persecution and their families by documenting their fate through the archives it manages. The ITS preserves its historic records and makes them available for research.

For further information, please contact:
Bijan Frederic Farnoudi, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2180 or +41 79 536 9259