Institute News

Shoah Foundation Opens Two National European Visual History Collections

To commemorate the International Day of Memory that marks the 60 th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Shoah Foundation will open two national European Visual History Collections of videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. The Archivio Centrale dello Stato (Central State Archive) in Rome, and the Centre de documentation juive contemporaine (CDJC) in Paris will house the Italian and French Collections respectively.

The opening of these visual history collections is an historic milestone in the ten-year history of the Shoah Foundation. According to Founding Chairman, Steven Spielberg, “The launching of these collections in Paris and Rome is the realization of a decade-long goal. It is particularly moving that these collections are opening at the same time we commemorate the 60 th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.”

The Shoah Foundation’s archive of nearly 52,000 eyewitness testimonies is the largest collection of videotaped Holocaust testimonies in the world, and includes 11,565 testimonies of people who survived Auschwitz. The Italian Visual History Collection of 400 testimonies includes testimonies of 52 survivors of Auschwitz, and in the French Visual History Collection, 375 of 1800 survivors and witnesses share the experience of surviving Auschwitz.

The varied experiences of survivors and other witnesses in the Italian and French collections represent the breadth of the Shoah Foundation archive. Jewish, Sinti and Roma, Homosexual, and Jehovah’s Witness survivors, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, and war crimes trials participants all offer recollections of their lives before, during, and after the war.

“The Shoah Foundation has a responsibility to return the testimonies to the countries whose history they document, and to offer an opportunity for a better future by providing access to the unique and personal narratives of survivors and witnesses from each country," said Douglas Greenberg, Shoah Foundation president and CEO. “When the Shoah Foundation first went to Italy and to France to record the testimonies, we were embraced by overwhelming numbers of volunteers from all over those countries eager to embark on this task with us. Today, as the testimonies are returned to these countries, we mark the culmination of that cooperative effort, and continue to move forward, inspired by the passionate commitment of educators, archivists, and government agencies to bring the testimonies to people throughout Europe,” he continued.