Conservation treatment of transport lists

The Museum successively conserves documents which are part of an ensemble acronymed WASt - Wehrmachtauskunftstelle für Kriegerverlusteund Kriegsgefangene. This priceless source of information about individual fates of Polish prisoners-of-war encompasses transport lists from 69 stalags and 34 oflags. At issue, however, is the quality of the paper on which they were drawn up.

The high acidity of the paper, stemming from the high proportion of wood pulp and lignin in the structure of fibres, makes the pages of the documents extremely susceptible to breaking and crumbling, so the information written on them fades more quickly. The latest batch of transport lists, treated at the Gorek Restauro specialist workshop, comes from Stalags VI A Hemer and VI B Neu-Versen. This is a total of 148 archive units - 553 cards. The valuable files were cleaned, deacidified and any folds and tears were mended by applying 'patches' of Japanese tissue - a very durable type of handmade paper. After all was done, the preserved materials went into special boxes appropriate for long-term storage.

This is not the end of the work on the WASt collection - further batches of files will be sent for conservation treatment. Independently, there are works on the digital database being conducted, as the documents were already digitised a few years ago and our archivists are using copies.

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