Why were the Arolsen Archives founded? How and where were the documents collected? What inquiries have, to this day, been sent to the institution by over three million people around the world? The catalogue of the permanent exhibition “A Paper Monument – The History of the Arolsen Archives” answers these and many other questions.

Millions of people were deported and murdered under the Nazi dictatorship from 1933 to 1945 in Germany and the territories it occupied during World War II. Soon after the war ended, the world’s most comprehensive collection of documents on victims of Nazi crimes was assembled in Arolsen with the aim of finding missing persons and clarifying their fate. Kilometer upon kilometer of files, index cards and lists are stored next to each other on shelved – millions of documents about Holocaust victims and concentration camp prisoners, foreign forced laborers and survivors.

»I hope that the exhibition raises awareness of the potential of the Arolsen Archives to play a new role, to address socially relevant issues and to strengthen democratic values.«

Floriane Azoulay, Director of the Arolsen Archives

This examination of the history of the Arolsen Archives not only explains how the search for missing persons and clarification of their fate developed over time, leading to the creation of this unique paper monument, it also illuminates the changing approaches to dealing with historical evidence and the victims of Nazi crimes.

Packed with pictures, illustrative graphics and short explanatory texts, the catalog of the permanent exhibition traces the organization’s development, describing how it started out as a tracing service and went on to become the world’s largest archive on Nazi persecution.

The catalog of our permanent exhibition “A Paper Monument. The History of the Arolsen Archives” (DIN A4, 219 pages, coloured) is available for 15 € (orders within Europe) or 20€ (orders outside of Europe) in German or English. Shipping is free of charge. Please place your order at id@arolsen-archives.org. In addition to providing your shipping address, please indicate the number of catalogs you would like to order in which language (German/English).

The exhibition catalog is also provided for download free of charge. 

Support us
Learn more