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History of the research centre

The International Research and Documentation Centre for War Crimes Trials (ICWC) was founded by the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main  in 2000 under the name  Pilotprojekt der Volkswagenstiftung: Kriegsverbrecherprozesse gegen Deutsche und Japaner (Pilot project of the Volkswagen Foundation: War Crimes Trials of Germans & Japanese). This initiative can be traced back to the then director of the MPI, Prof. Dr. Drs. h.c. Dieter Simon, and Prof. Dr. David Cohen, director of the War Crimes Studies Center at the University of California in Berkeley (WCSC). After the foundation for research had been laid the ICWC was established as an interdisciplinary research centre at the university in Marburg. On the 11 November 2008 its charter became effective.


The ICWC is active in many different fields. Among its most important duties are the research and documentation of historical sources, especially material relating to war crimes trials. In the course of this work staff from the ICWC collect sources, which are scattered around the world, and then analyse them from a variety of academic perspectives. As a result the centre does not merely function as a central collection point but also offers access to a comprehensive and steadily expanding database through which an immense pool of relevant information can be accessed quickly.

Our Databanks

The collection of material at the ICWC is unique. In addition to original documentation we also have a large collection of microfilm and other microforms (microfiche)along with many other digital sources. Our collections are always expanding; new documents are added almost weekly. As a result of poor paper quality and other factors the condition of the documents is a cause for concern; therefore, the process of archiving sources at the ICWC makes a significant contribution to their future preservation and also provides a central point of access to these documents. They can be viewed in our visitor room, which provides access to both computer terminals and microfilm readers.

The people at the research centre

Staff from various disciplines contribute to the work of the ICWC. It is only through their engagement that many of the centre’s activities are possible. Its charter dictates the organisation of the research centre.

Last modified: 14.01.2015 · Wolckenh

Philipps-Universität Marburg

ICWC, Universitätsstraße 7, 35032 Marburg
Tel. +49 6421 28-26895, Fax +49 6421 28-26894, eMail:

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