Institute News

New Partnership Brings Canadian Testimonies to Visual History Archive

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre (MHMC) and Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto announced an historic agreement with USC Shoah Foundation to have their testimonies integrated in the Visual History Archive as part of the Institute’s Preserving the Legacy initiative.

View and download the press release here. The press release also includes links to three testimony clips from the Canadian collections that will be made available in the Visual History Archive. These clips illustrate the specificity as well as the wide range of topics covered across these collections.

Preserving the Legacy uses the Institute’s state-of-the-art infrastructure to digitize, index and integrate videotaped Holocaust testimony taken by other organizations around the world into the Visual History Archive. In 2014, a collection of nearly 1,400 testimonies from Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco (JFCS) was the first to begin the process of digitizing, cataloging and indexing as part of Preserving the Legacy.

The Canadian collections are composed of over 1,250 audio-visual oral history recordings, including small collections from several Canadian cities that without this initiative would be at risk for loss. They bring to life the communities that were destroyed and the pre-Holocaust lives of survivors and their families as well as the experiences of the Jews who faced genocide during World War II. As a result of this partnership, these 1,250 testimonies will be digitised and fully indexed so as to serve the purposes for which they were so painfully recorded, clarifying the Canadian story in relation to the Holocaust and Jewish immigration to Canada post-1945.

The testimonies from the smaller collections remained in their original formats (not digitized) and entirely un-catalogued. The small collections include McGill University, Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives, the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University, Ottawa Jewish Archives, Freeman Family Foundation Holocaust Education Centre and Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta, and Calgary Jewish Federation.

The partnership is supported by the Government of Canada and major private donors, including the Azrieli Foundation, Mrs. Paula Nussbaum and Jeanette & Michael Diamond.