About Us
Our mission is to develop empathy, understanding, and respect through testimony
Leading Change Through Testimony
The Institute currently has more than 55,000 video testimonies, each one a unique source of insight and knowledge that offers powerful stories from history that demand to be explored and shared. The testimonies are preserved in the Visual History Archive, one of the largest digital collections of its kind in the world. They average a little over two hours each in length and were conducted in 65 countries and 43 languages. The vast majority of the testimonies contain a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide.
The USC Shoah Foundation Story

View “The USC Shoah Foundation Story,” a video about the Institute's history and its current mission at the University of Southern California.

Institute Milestones

Key Facts

  • The Institute houses nearly 55,000 audio-visual testimonies conducted in 65 countries and in 43 languages.
  • Steven Spielberg founded the Institute in 1994 to videotape and preserve interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust.
  • The Institute holds 11 patents on digital collection management technologies it developed.
  • The Institute celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2019.
  • The Shoah Foundation moved to its permanent home at the University of Southern California in January 2006.
  • Testimonies average over two hours in length, including personal history before, during, and after firsthand experience with genocide.
  • 115,000 hours of video testimony have been recorded with all content indexed and searchable to the minute.
  • Rwandan testimonies were added to the Visual History Archive and IWitness educational website in Spring 2013.
  • Dr. Stephen D. Smith serves as Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.