Archives of the International Tracing Service

Author(s): Carolin Piorun (2018) – last update: 2018-04-19.


The Archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) hold over 30 million documents with information on the fates of victims of Nazi persecution: incarceration, forced labour and post-war Allied assistance to Displaced Persons is documented here. Since 2013, the original collections are part of the UNESCO-“Memory of the World”. The Central Name Index is the key to the archives and has been their most important tracing tool for many decades. With its help, the ITS is still contributing today to the search for missing victims of the Nazi persecution.


Internationaler Suchdienst / International Tracing Service 
Große Allee 5-9
34454 Bad Arolsen

Archival information: tel. +49 5691 629 321
Office hours: Monday – Thursday, 8:00 – 17:00, Friday 8:00 – 13:00


How to find the Archive sites

Maps & location sketches

How to plan and to prepare a visit

The Archives of the International Tracing Service has digitized many of its documents which are now available in the Online Archive. Check the Digital Collections Online before your visit.

Please, contact the archive before your visit to get more information about the material available. You have to book a workspace at least two weeks in advance. If you have to use original documents from the magazine, you should also order them in advance.


Fill out the research request on the website of the ITS and get in touch with the archivists. You have to fill out a form during your visit.

Reading Room rules and regulations

  • The reading room is located 100 meters away from the main building (Große Allee 23). Please register in the main building on the first day; you will be told where to meet the archivist who deals with your research request.
  • Before entering the reading room, visitors are asked to leave their coat, bags, etc. in the lockers in the break room. You will get an introduction to the archives and the database on your first day. In general, you will work with the database since the majority of the documents is digitized. If you have to order original documents, it takes some time to bring them from the magazines.
  • The archivists are always keen to help if any problems or questions occur. You are allowed to scan all the documents you need for five Euros. The archivists will copy them on a new flash drive on the last day of your visit.
  • You are not allowed to bring drinks or food into the reading room.
  • You can bring your laptop, paper and pens as needed.

Archive databases & Online finding aids

Many documents are available in the Online Archive. The ITS has published several finding aids (e.g. on the Child Search Branch, Files of the Gestapo, Documents of the SS Organization “Lebensborn”) online.

Practical advice

  • Many countries do not require a visa for entry into Germany, permitted to stay up to 90 days. (Click here to see the list of coutnries with visa-free access.) If you require advice on how to attain a visa into Germany, please visit the Information Requirements page.
  • The staff usually speaks German and English.
  • There is also a library with books on Nazi persecution and Displaced Persons.
  • There are power sockets in the reading room.
  • There is a room for breaks in the same building where the reading room and library are located. You can eat a packed lunch there and buy cold beverages. In the main building is the ITS cafeteria where you can buy more snacks and drinks (please check the opening hours, information is available in the reading room). A 5-minute walk away is a bakery. Close to the Kirchplatz (10 minute-walk) is a café and a little further down the Bahnhofstraße there are several restaurants.
  • The Central Train Station is 20 minutes from the ITS Archives. You can find offers for accommodation on the city’s website.

Citation Suggestion

Piorun, Carolin: Archives of the International Tracing Service, in: ESE Archives Guide: A Web Archive Guide to East and Southeast European Archives, 2018 (2018-04-19),

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