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Filling in the missing puzzle pieces

Barbara Glück, Director of the Mauthausen Memorial, is very pleased to be able to work now with the copies of ITS documents including metadata

In July 2017, Barbara Glück, Director of the Mauthausen Memorial, received digital excerpts from the ITS archive. In this interview she explains what these documents mean to her and the memorial.

What kinds of documents are included in this copy given to you by ITS Director Floriane Hohenberg in July?

The digital copy comprises around 550,000 files connected to the concentration camp Mauthausen. They mostly contain general information, prisoner cards, individual documents and files relating to the War Crimes Investigation.

How will the memorial use the files?

The metadata associated with the documents has to be harmonized with our collections using special software. But visitors can already look at a selection of the copied documents, and we are also using them to handle search inquiries.

How many people will this information from the ITS archive reach in the future?

We receive around 250,000 visitors each year, and we anticipate growing visitor numbers in our archive when it moves to a more accessible location, which will happen soon. Then there are the around 3,500 visitors to our web archive, and we receive around 1,000 search inquiries each year.

What does it mean to you to receive these copies?

We had wanted to receive these files for a long time. We can fill in a lot of gaps with them. For our Memorial Book project, for example, we currently have the names of 85,000 former prisoners, but for certain persons we did not even know whether, when or where the Nazis had murdered them. These documents are also of a higher quality, because the scans are often better. Finally, the ITS documents will speed up our search for individuals. 

So it has been positive overall...

I am naturally in favor of making this data accessible for the purposes of research and clarifying the fates of individuals. I am pleased that the ITS has changed and is now opening up. This also involves promoting cooperation and networking with the memorials. Our archival work is like a puzzle. Adding missing pieces to illuminate the fates of individuals – this is the mission of every memorial.