ID: 95

HÄUSLER, Michael


Born 1961 in Herford, Germany.. - Studies in Modern European History and Protestant Theology at Münster, Tübingen and Stanford Universities. - 1995 Ph.D. in History from Münster University. - 1993-1995 Archival Studies at Archivschule Marburg. - Since 1996 Director of the Archives and Library of the Social Service Agency of the Protestant Church in Germany; since 2012 renamed to: Archives and Library for Diakonia and Development. - 2000-2004 Vice-Secretary, 2004-2006 Vice-President of ICA/SKR. Since 2007 President of the Association of Archives and Libraries of the Protestant Church in Germany. - Numerous publications in the fields of social history in Germany (esp. 19th and 20th century) ans archival practice.


Providing Access to Clients Records in the Field of Institutional Child Care. Balancing the Demands of Victim's Claims, Privacy Protection ans Historical Research.

Brief summary:

The public debate on institutional child care in Germany and other countries calls for the need to give access to clients files. The legal conditions are described and discussed. The confliction interests of victims, researchers and officials have to be balanced in the archival practice.


Starting from an overview of the public debate on the harms of institutional child care in Germany and other countries (Switzerland, Ireland, Great Britain, Australia etc), the organizational structures of public child care in Germany is outlined and its consequences for the existance and archival management of clients records. Follwed by a description of the legal regulations for the access by the clients themselves, by the administration (head of institutions, youth welfare officials etc), by researchers and by the wider public. While it is obvious - though not completely practised - that former clients of child care have to be granted free access to personal records that relate to them, there are also relevant indicators that allow access to client records for researchers. Finally, the special challenges that occur while former clients of institutional child care receive access to "their" records, are disussed, accompnaied by considerations for a good, responsable conduct with these often traumatized persons during their stay at the archives.

Scientific contribution:

In many countries in Europe, America and Australia, problems of institutional child care (orphanages, industrial schools etc.) in the mid 20th century are widely discussed in public. That includes aspects of physical and mental brutality, repressive pedagogy and sexual abuse. While institutional records sometimes are the only means to provide identity to the former orphans, the memories of the victims often differ from the recorded information.
The proposed presentation will - always relating to the German example - give insight in the number, form and relevance of clients records and will discuss the conflicting interests and legal preconditions that make access to these personal records a highly responsible task for an archivist.

My comment to "type of presentation": I had to decide for one of the items offered. Still, my presentation could also bei a stand-alone paper.


access, client records, personal records, data protection, privacy protection, freedom of research, institutional child care