Institute News

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Makes USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Holocaust Survivor and Witness Testimonies Available

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The world’s largest collection of visual Holocaust survivor and witness testimonies is now available to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum visitors.  The University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive contains nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses from 56 nations and in 32 languages.   More than 90 percent of the collection is comprised of testimonies of Jewish survivors; however, other victims of Nazism—political prisoners, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and survivors of eugenics policies—as well as liberators, liberation witnesses, and rescuers and aid providers are also represented in the collection.

“The power and authenticity of survivors’ testimony is our most effective tool in transmitting the history of the Holocaust to future generations,” says Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield.  “Making the Shoah Foundation collection, in addition to the Museum’s oral histories, available to visitors will greatly enhance our ability to educate millions of people worldwide about the lessons of the Holocaust.”

Museum staff and visitors have access to the central archive via an Internet2 connection.  Internet2 is a high-capacity network created to allow educators, researchers and scholars to share large amounts of data.  The testimonies are accessible through computer terminals in the Museum’s Library and Benjamin and Vladka Meed Registry of Holocaust Survivors.  While all of the videos are not immediately available to end users, any testimony can be delivered promptly—usually within 48 hours.  Researchers who wish to ensure that a specific video will be available upon arrival at the Museum can call the Museum’s Library at 202-479-9717, in advance of their visit.

“It’s fitting that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, one of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s longstanding partners, has become an access point to the Visual History Archive,” Douglas Greenberg, Executive Director of the Institute, said.  “More people turn to the Museum for information about the history of the Holocaust than any other memorial institution in the country, and the archive contains information that can be found nowhere else; making it accessible at the Museum will create new and exciting opportunities for scholarship and research.”

About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was created to inspire leaders and citizens to confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity and strengthen democracy.  Federal support guarantees the Museum's permanence, and donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach.  For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.

About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

The Shoah Foundation Institute is part of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California.  The Institute’s mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance and bigotry—and they suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies.  The Institute relies on partnerships throughout the United States and around the world to provide access to the archive and advance scholarship in many fields of inquiry.  The Institute and its partners also utilize the archive to develop educational products and programs for use in many countries and languages.  For more information, visit sfi.usc.edu.