Guests are very welcome to visit the Arolsen Archives in person. The world’s most comprehensive archive on the victims of National Socialism is open to all. Please note the special access instructions due to the pandemic.
Opening Hours and Reading Rooms
Our reading room is available during the following opening hours:
Monday to Thursday 8.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Friday 8.00 – 1.00 p.m. | 1.00 p.m. – 3 p.m. by appointment
If you would like to visit the reading room, please use the inquiry form and register one week in advance. If you would like to view original documents for family members, please register four weeks in advance. See below for more information.
Please use the inquiry form to register online or contact us by post (Arolsen Archives, Große Allee 5-9, 34454 Bad Arolsen) at least one week before the desired date of your visit. Because the number of seats in the reading rooms is limited, we advise you to register as early as possible.
In our reading rooms, you can access a digitized copy of the collections, the digitized version of the Central Name Index, and other special Arolsen Archives catalogs and finding aids.
On-site research visits are free of charge. With a few exceptions, once you have completed your research, you can save the documents you have been using on a new USB flash drive purchased directly from the Arolsen Archives. We charge a fee of €5.00 for the USB flash drive.
If digital versions are not yet available, you can view the original documents on request, provided that there is no conflict with conservation requirements and the state of preservation of the archival materials is not under threat. Please note that at least three working days advance notice must be given when ordering original documents because the archive and the reading rooms are not located on the same premises.
The staff of the Arolsen Archives answer inquiries concerning specific people or topics. However, you need to bear the following in mind:
We carry out research on up to a maximum of 10 people per inquiry.
For researchers, academics, and other interested parties this maximum limit applies per quarter. If you need to research more than 10 people, we invite you to visit Bad Arolsen or one of the copyholding institutions to carry out your research in person. Please use our inquiry form to submit your inquiry.
For families who are looking for information about the fate of their relatives, our service is not limited. However, we would like to point out that due to the high number of inquiries we receive, it may take some time to process your inquiry. Here you can find out more about our processing times and access the inquiry form.
The Reference Services team can also research specific topics. Depending on the scope of the research question and the number of relevant documents in our holdings, we will either make copies of the documents available to you or invite you to visit us in person. We are happy to check our holdings to find out whether they contain any documents that are pertinent to the topic you are researching. Here you can find out more about the holdings of the Arolsen Archives.
When you arrive in the reading rooms, our team will brief you on how to use the database, and we will make sure that someone is always available to answer any questions you have about the documents. Our specialist library is also at your disposal.
For families, we offer more intensive counselling. We explain the documents in detail as some of them are difficult to understand, and we provide support to facilitate the sometimes painful memory work involved.
If you want to learn more about the structure of our database and about how to search it before your visit, here you can find our video tutorials. The tutorials are available in English and German.
In order to be able to provide you with the best possible service when you visit our institution, we need you to register in advance and provide information on the subject of your inquiry. Here you can access our inquiry form; this is the easiest way for us to process your registration.
If you register via the form, we will be able to process your inquiry more quickly and provide you with better service.
Since we work fully digitally, we can process all your details and questions from a single source and prepare your stay at the Arolsen Archives in the best possible way.
It is a special concern of ours to make the original documents accessible – especially to families. They contain photos or signatures that may be some of the last testimonies to a person’s life. Please note that we ask you to register your visit four weeks in advance. This gives us time to fetch all the documents from the external depot and make the necessary preparations for your visit. Unfortunately, we will not be able to show you the originals if their state of preservation does not allow it. If you would like to view original documents, please use the inquiry form. If you have already sent an inquiry, we will be able to bring the inquiries together.
“A Paper Monument” Exhibition
Our exhibition presents the eventful history of the search for missing persons and the documentation of Nazi crimes over the past seven decades. However, due to the coronavirus crisis, it is closed until further notice. Here you can find more information about the exhibition and even take a virtual tour to explore individual exhibits and find out about the topics they cover.
Guided Tours for Visitors:
Currently, we offer guided tours for groups of 5 to 15 visitors (larger groups have to be divided). We are happy to answer your questions about guided tours and receive requests for specific dates. We look forward to hearing from you by phone at +49 5691-6290. Or get in touch with us via contact form.
Public guided tours:
Every 1st Tuesday of the month there is a guided tour in German and every 1st Wednesday of the month there is a guided tour in English. Time: 2:00 p.m., registration desired (via contact form), but not required.
Where can you find us?
The Arolsen Archives are located in Bad Arolsen, a town in northern Hesse not far from Kassel, Germany.
Große Allee 5-9
34454 Bad Arolsen
34454 Bad Arolsen
It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Kassel by car. There is a parking lot directly behind the building. (Directions via Google Maps)
Alternatively, you can take a high-speed ICE train to Kassel and then a regional train to Bad Arolsen. The journey from Kassel takes just over an hour by train. It takes about 25 minutes to walk from the train station to the Arolsen Archives on a relatively flat route (1.8 km). By taxi, it takes about 5 minutes.
The nearest international airports are Frankfurt am Main (180 km) and Dortmund (120 km).
The exhibition is accessible by wheelchair. There are no stairs.
The reading rooms are located in the main building. From the parking lot behind the building, a short asphalt path leads to the entrance. Reference Services are located on the ground floor. However, there is a staircase with three steps up to the entrance to the building. A wheelchair ramp will be installed soon. We are very happy to assist you if you need help entering the building. The reading rooms are equipped with automatic doors that are suitable for people with disabilities. We will bring books and documents directly to your table. Accessible toilets and the cafeteria can be easily reached from the reading rooms.