Arolsen Archives: International Center on Nazi Persecution

  • International Tracing Service
  • ITS
  • Service International de Recherche
  • Internationaler Suchdienst


Grosse Allee 5-9
Bad Arolsen


+49 5691-6290


+49 5691-629501


In 1943 the Tracing Bureau was formed through the work of the Allied Forces Headquarters at the British Red Cross as an initial effort to trace missing persons from the war. On 15 February 1944 the Central Tracing Bureau, under SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces), was established as a more thorough investigative effort to seek missing persons.Eventually this humanitarian organization moved its location to Bad Arolsen (a central location amid the four occupation zones in Germany), and in 1948 was renamed the International Tracing Service. In the 1950s the work of ITS was executed under an international commission, and managed by a neutral institution, the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) in Geneva. Today discovering the history of individual persons remains one of the primary objectives of ITS.In 2007 the archive of ITS has been open for research. In 2012 the ICRC ceased management activity of ITS, and the Bundesarchiv became its institutional partner.

Archival and Other Holdings

The records of the ITS’ archives are organized in three main groups

  1. Finding aids including the Central Name Index (part of UNESCO’s “Memory of the World”)

  2. Pertinence-based collections including the archival sections Incarceration and Persecution, Registrations of Persons of non-German Nationality by German State Authorities, Registration and Files of Displaced Persons, Children and Missing Persons, Special organizations and activities of the NSDAP.

  3. Provenance-based Collections including the archival section records of the ITS and its predecessors. These collections include records of correspondence with victims, family members and governmental organizations

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Conditions of Access

As of 28 November 2007 public access of the archives is possible for research purposes, upon submitting a research application (found online).


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