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Previous Meetings -- October 2006



October 2006 

Peter Lande 

Schmul and Rebeka:

Did they Really Die in the Holocaust?

Old, New and Future Sources of Information



Peter Lande is a retired Foreign Service Officer for the US State Department. He is a dedicated volunteer at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 2001, Peter was the recipient of the IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter is considered an expert on sources for Holocaust research.


Peter makes it very clear that he speaks for himself and not for USHMM or any other organization.


He started by providing a status of the International Tracing Service records (the Arolsen records). Not publicly available since the creation of ITS just after WWII, the eleven member countries making up the Governing Council of ITS voted in May to provide one copy of all documents to all member countries. Member countries will then make these records available based upon the laws of their country.


The eleven governments must first ratify and sign the Agreement. So far, nine countries have ratified the Agreement. Only Belgium and Netherlands have not yet ratified, but both were supporters of the Agreement.


In the US, there is no further Government approval needed and it has already been decided that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum will obtain and maintain the record copies.

The big question now for researchers is: How will these records be made available to the public by USHMM? There is no answer yet.


It has been reported that ITS has over 40 million pieces of information. Peter reported that about 70% of the records have been filmed/digitized by ITS. The remaining records have to be filmed or digitized. It is only after this is completed that copies will be available to the eleven country Archives.


Yad Vashem is the likely location for Israel’s copy of the ITS records. Yad Vashem already has copies from ITS made available in the 1950s. However, Peter reported that Yad Vashem only has about 30% of what is now available from ITS.


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