By the end of World War II, millions of people had been murdered or displaced by war and genocide. Families and communities were torn apart. Many were missing, and some people’s fates remain unclear to this day.
Despite immense logistical challenges, a number of charities, such as the British Red Cross Society and the Jewish Relief Unit, attempted to help find missing people and reunite families. Their efforts came together what became known as the International Tracing Service (ITS).
Co-curated with Professor Dan Stone (Royal Holloway, University of London), this exhibition tells the remarkable, little-known story of the agonising search for the missing after the Holocaust. Drawing upon The Wiener Library’s family document collections and its digital copy of the ITS archive, one of the largest document collections related to the Holocaust in the world, the exhibition considers the legacy of the search for descendants of those affected by World War II, and the impact of fates unknown.
An exhibition catalogue featuring photographs and documents from our collections, case studies featured in the exhibition, and the history of the International Tracing Service archive is available to purchase at our Library’s reception desk, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
Fate Unknown Event Series
The exhibition run included a series of events designed to amplify themes in the exhibition.
- The International Tracing Service and the ‘Legacies of Political Humanitarianism’ Dr. Jennifer Rodgers, University of Pennsylvania. 8 March 2018.
- Curators’ Talk with Dr. Christine Schmidt and Professor Dan Stone.19 April 2018.
- Film Screening – Fred Zinnemann’s The Search. 26 April 2018.
- The Power of Words by Survivor Leslie Kleinman. 30 April 2018.
- “The Greatest Detective Story in History” and the Search for Missing Children after the Holocaust. 3 May 2018.
- ‘That is Bella, Only Seven’: The Depiction of Holocaust Survivors in Liberator Narratives. Dr. Mark Celinscak. 10 May 2018.
- Workshop – Resources for Family Research. Dr. Christine Schmidt (Deputy Director and Head of Research, The Wiener Library), Elise Bath (International Tracing Service Researcher, The Wiener Library) and Jeanette R. Rosenberg OBE (Education and Outreach Officer, Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain). 22 May 2018.
- Reverberations and Aftershocks: Artistic Practice and an ITS Case Study. Sara Davidmann and Elise Bath. 24 May 2018.
In partnership with the Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway University of London, with support from the Royal Holloway Research Strategy Fund, the Leverhulme Trust, the International Tracing Service (ITS) and the German History Society.