It gets about 1, requests per month from people trying to find out what happened to their ancestors in the war. It employs some 9, voluntary workers and has a paid staff of The ITS only opened its archive to researchers in after years of pressure from historians as well as Holocaust survivors in the US and Israel angered at the long time it was taking to obtain information.
SomeGerman war dead have been found and reburied since then, and that number increases by 40, each year, the commission said. The archive was devised from the outset to be searchable only by names, because that was its initial task -- to find people. Soldiers were often buried hastily where they fell, or near field dressing stations and hospitals where they died of their wounds.
They also include forms filled out by displaced persons after the war in which they were asked to describe their experiences. He now plans to travel to Poland to meet his aunt. Wilhelm spent an unhappy childhood with a reluctant foster mother who brought him to Germany in and gave him her surname.
Millions of personal fates are recorded in those yellowed, brittle documents, punched with cold bureaucratic typescript or scratched in shaky hand-writing by prisoners scared for their lives and stunned by their ordeal.
Learning not just about history, but from it," says Urban. You read some stories for example in files about children and then you go home and you have to go for a run through the fields for a couple of hours. The forces of Nazi Germany laid waste to vast swaths of the land they conquered in a war of annihilation that targeted civilians from the start.
It has dogged me all my life. She learned that he had been taken to Auschwitz in November before being deported to Buchenwald in Januarywhere he was registered as suffering from "general physical weakness.
How were the death marches organized, when hundreds of thousands of prisoners were forced to walk to Germany from concentration camps in the occupied east as the Red Army closed in on the Reich?
There was no registration after that," said Flor. Prisoners are categorized with humiliating descriptions such as "protruding ears" or "crooked teeth.
What happened to the Sinti and Roma in Galicia? It has overwhelmed me emotionally. Last month, he received a letter from an organization called the International Tracing Service ITS in the town of Bad Arolsen, just 40 kilometers from his home in the central German town of Brilon.
But many have given up hope. Actual tracing requests involving survivors still account for around 3 percent of enquiries. The German documents are infused with the racism of the Nazi era.
Painstaking Reorganization The archive had increasingly been seen as hamstrung by its statute, overseen by an international commission of 11 countries, that placed the emphasis on the privacy of the data and restricted access to information to its own staff and to prosecutors in Nazi trials.
He never saw her again. It will take years to sort and cross-reference all the information in the database. Since then, Wilhelm has agonized about what became of his mother, who his father was and whether he had any real relatives left.
Laminated files are put through a chemical treatment that separates print that has stuck to the plastic and reattaches it to the paper. It was like I never really had a face.
At the end of this year, the Red Cross will withdraw from the management, reflecting the gradual transition of the archive from a tracing service to a priceless, untapped source of material for historical research into the Nazi era, the Holocaust, and the immediate aftermath of the war As the number of survivors dwindles, databases like the ITS will become even more important because of the silent stories they will tell.
At present, getting the information one wants from the ITS still requires a lot of sifting. It was inand she was sent from their home in Lodz, in occupied Poland, to become a forced laborer in Germany. The database processes some 20, searches per month.
Any file that could be found with a name on it -- concentration camp registers, lists of forced laborers, Gestapo secret police records, birth certificates -- was carted to Bad Arolsen to create a database that now contains some 30 million documents on He knows his mother returned to Poland after the war, married a Frenchman and is then believed to have emigrated to France.
They were at pains to hide the truth then. She recalls one particularly moving instance in her research on death marches this year.
Most of the burial sites are unmarked, and some are mass graves, said Kirchmeier.World War II: The Real Story (Updated December ) If you are interested in learning about World War II, check out some of these nonfiction titles spotlighted by Reader Advisor Paul Mathews.
The three Eagle Squadrons consisted of American volunteer pilots who fought in the skies over northern Europe, including the British coast and France, before the U.S. entered the war. Thanks to a Ford Performance supercharger, the bespoke Mustang GT delivers hp from its liter V World War II’s Greatest Hero: The True Story of Alan Turing A computer pioneer who helped defeat the Nazis, Turing was a war hero working in secret, a gay man in an era of extraordinary prejudice and a genius before his time.
Reorganizing a Vast Archive Holocaust Tracing Service Still Reuniting Families. The International Tracing Service, set up after World War II to help survivors of Nazi Germany find their families.
In so doing, U.S. carriers would participate in the last carrier battles of the war—the battle of the Philippine Sea and the battle of Leyte Gulf.
Throughoutthe Halsey/McCain team continued to alternate with the Spruance/Mitscher team in pounding enemy installations in Indochina, Hong Kong, Formosa, and Tokyo. Feb 04, · This photo Ernie Pyle after being killed in World War II has surprised historians who never knew it existed.
"When I think about the real treasures of American history that we have," says Mark.Download