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Group to return items from Nazi camp victims

The Local · 19 May 2011, 15:52

Published: 19 May 2011 15:52 GMT+02:00

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The Germany-based International Tracing Service (ITS), which is responsible for Nazi camp archives, said it was posting a list of personal belongings on the internet in a bid to track the owners or their relatives.

"It is our aim to return as many effects as possible to the survivors of Nazi persecution and their relatives," said Jean-Luc Blondel, director of the ITS in Bad Arolsen, central Germany, in a statement.

ITS archives currently still hold about 2,900 items whose owners are known by name, most of them having coming from the Neuengamme concentration camp in Hamburg, northern Germany, and Dachau near Munich in the south.

The organisation also has a small number of items from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in central Germany, from Natzweiler in eastern France, along with items taken from Gestapo prisoners in Hamburg, and from people held in transit camps in Compiegne, France, and Amersfoort, Holland.

Items include wallets, identification papers, photographs and letters, the ITS said.

"The personal items have little material value, but a high sentimental value," said Blondel.

"In our opinion the mementos are in the best hands with the families," he added.

The list is published on the ITS website with access given by password to survivors and relatives of camp prisoners.

Story continues below…

The ITS said it still holds a total of 3,400 personal items handed over to it in 1963. It has spent years trying to identify and return the property.


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Your comments about this article

09:51 May 20, 2011 by harcourt
Strange the Germans are usually so efficient and quick, what we in England call "Blitzkrieg" mentality, I wonder what went wrong here.....
12:53 May 20, 2011 by Ebolter
@ Harcourt - may be the papers are still in the mail ...
15:04 May 20, 2011 by jbaker
Why do people always relive this WW II Killing Event? More people have been tortured and killed in Russia and China alone in the last 60 years than all who were killed in WW II. The past has had its due, time to live in peace now! Those who dwell on the past are doomed to relive it.
10:41 May 21, 2011 by harcourt
jbaker Most conservative estimates put the TOTAL number who died in Europe alone during WWII, NOT including The Far East, is 47 to 50 million both civilians and armed forces. I cannot believe more than that have been tortured and killed in Russia and China. It sounds as though you might be slightly prejudiced against ex-communist countries. - By the way my statistics do not include people who were tortured in WW II.
20:01 May 21, 2011 by john66

What is the cutoff date for forgetting history...twenty years? Fifty years? After that date should we rip certain chapters out of our history books? (Oh wait...America doesn't teach history anymore. So never mind that.)

Should we destroy all automobiles made prior to your arbitrary date, thereby eliminating those annoying "antique cars clubs" whose members parade their prize autos around the countryside on Sunday afternoons? For that matter, should we eliminate all people over age...maybe sixty, who keep saying, "Why, when I was a boy (or girl) we didn't have all this stuff like telephones, televisions, microwave ovens, etc. You youngsters have it good today!" So annoying, those old ones living in the past!

And by the way, the saying is "Those who DO NOT REMEMBER the past are doomed to repeat it."

And last...your wish for enduring peace...good luck with that. A great writer named Paul, writing at the behest of his Master, says: "For when they say, 'Peace and safety;' then sudden destruction comes upon them [...] and they shall not escape." There will never be true peace in THIS world.
20:55 May 21, 2011 by harcourt
Thank you john66 for pointing out that misquote of jbaker about forgetting/remembering the past I had intended mentioning it myself but forgot ! However it gives me the chance of saying there is no comparison between the numbers killed in roughly 5 yrs of WWII and the 60 yrs that jbaker mentioned well there is - a factor of 12!! A German once said to me with I think a bit of pride that "only the germans with their super efficiency could have exterminated 6 million Jews in such a short time " I was absolutely appalled
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