Since the end of 2007, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has been receiving digital images of the documentation at the International Tracing Service (ITS), an archive established by the Allied Powers after World War II to help reunite families separated during the war and trace missing relatives. The physical archive itself is located in Bad Arolsen, Germany, and over the next several years, the Museum expects to receive more than 150 million digital images of archival material from the ITS collection. To date, the Museum has received digital images of 40 million index cards; 18 million camp, prison, ghetto, and transport records; 13 million images of slave labor records as well as 7 million Displaced Person records.
Using records of the ITS along with documents in the Museum’s extensive archival collection, researchers in the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center are able to trace the fates of many individuals during the Holocaust. Although the Museum makes every effort to locate requested documentation, the ITS and other archival records do not include information on every Holocaust victim or survivor.
For example, the ITS collection does not include names of persons
• who were murdered upon arrival in camps and killing centers
• who were murdered by the Einsatzgruppen
• who perished in death marches
• who died at the time of arrest
• who were hidden (excluding some emigration information when applicable)
The ITS collection contains more documentation on persons persecuted in Western Europe than persons who either originated or were persecuted in Eastern Europe. For example, a transport list may be available for victims in the Netherlands, but there will not be a record of their arrival or subsequent murder in the East.
For further information, read the Museum’s Frequently Asked Questions about the ITS.