Institute News

USC Shoah Foundation’s exhibit at California Capitol strikes a chord, draws broad TV news coverage

USC Shoah Foundation’s public demonstration of Dimensions in Testimony at the California state Capitol last week struck a chord among lawmakers and drew broad TV news coverage.  

Northern California local affiliates of CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC all aired segments about the exhibit featuring Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, displayed by USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director Stephen Smith in a room of the state Capitol building.

The April 29 event coincided with Yom HaShoah, a day of remembrance for the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Much of the coverage referenced the April 27 synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif., underscoring the urgency of Gutter’s warning for future generations about the dangers of intolerance.

“I thought when the Holocaust was finished, that that was the end of it— that humanity would learn,” said Gutter’s pre-recorded image on CBS 13 in Sacramento. “But they haven’t.” 

Gutter’s quote on CBS 13 was part of a larger story about California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to dedicate $15 million to enhancing security at places of worship and other institutions vulnerable to hate-motivated violence in the wake of the Poway shooting.

All told, at least seven TV news segments mentioned the innovation by USC Shoah Foundation.

In interviews with each outlet, Smith summed up the importance of the project.

“In much the same way that Holocaust survivors have gone into schools and colleges and museums and so forth, and told their story and then answered questions, the idea behind this was, could we replicate that in a way that in future, students could still learn and people could still engage with Holocaust survivors,” Smith said in a segment that aired on KTXL Fox40 in Sacramento.

A story on KCRA Channel 3 (NBC Sacramento) shows Smith asking Gutter:  “What happened to your family?”

Says Gutter: “I did not get to say goodbye to my family.”

The same day in Sacramento, both houses of the California Legislature approved a resolution that commemorated the Institute’s 25th anniversary.

Here is another CBS 13 segment about the event.

Resolution wording: 

By the Honorable Ben Allen, 26th Senatorial District; the Honorable Steven M. Glazer, 7th Senatorial District; the Honorable Robert M. Hertzberg, 18th Senatorial District; the Honorable Hannah-Beth Jackson, 19th Senatorial District; the Honorable Holly J. Mitchell, 30th Senatorial District; the Honorable Susan Rubio, 22nd Senatorial District; the Honorable Henry I. Stern, 27th Senatorial District; the Honorable Scott D. Wiener, 11th Senatorial District; the Honorable Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, 16th Assembly District; the Honorable Marc Berman, 24th Assembly District; the Honorable Richard Bloom, 50th Assembly District; the Honorable Laura Friedman, 43rd Assembly District; the Honorable Jesse Gabriel, 45th Assembly District; the Honorable Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr., 59th Assembly District; the Honorable Marc Levine, 10th Assembly District; the Honorable Jose Medina, 61st Assembly District; the Honorable Adin Nazarian, 46th Assembly District; and the Honorable Blanca E. Rubio, 48th Assembly District;

Relative to Commending

USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education

WHEREAS, A leading California-based global institution, USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education, is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, and upon this occasion, it is deserving of special public commendations; and

WHEREAS, For 25 years USC Shoah Foundation has developed empathy, understanding and respect by recording and preserving audiovisual testimonies of eyewitnesses to genocide and crimes against humanity, providing survivors and other witnesses a platform from which to guide others through the darkness of humanity and shed light on the possibilities for every individual to counter antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of hate; and

WHEREAS, Established by Steven Spielberg in 1994 to collect and preserve video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, USC Shoah Foundation envisioned that these eyewitness accounts would have a profound effect on education and that survivors and other witnesses would become teachers of humanity for generations to come; and  

WHEREAS, Over the years, USC Shoah Foundation has built and delivered groundbreaking, testimony-based initiatives using its Visual History Archive® of 55,000 testimonies, the award-winning IWitness education program, the Center for Advanced Genocide Research that conducts groundbreaking research into the causes and consequences of genocide, and its network of global partners to counter hate-based ideologies; and

WHEREAS, USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, the largest of its kind in the world, includes more than 116,000 hours of testimonies from the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, the genocides in Cambodia and Guatemala, the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, genocidal violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Yezidi in Iraq and Syria, the Nanjing Massacre in China, mass violence in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and current anti-Semitic violence perpetrated against Jewish people and others, with interviews conducted in 65 countries and in 43 languages; and

WHEREAS, A true pioneer, USC Shoah Foundation has significantly modernized the manner in which history can be preserved and experienced in the digital age through its interactive biography program, Dimensions in Testimony, working with media partners worldwide to share the witnesses’ stories and producing several award-winning documentary films; and

WHEREAS, Reaching millions of people each year on six continents from its home at the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California, USC Shoah Foundation works with young people, teachers, researchers, faculty, professionals, and others, and its interactive programming, research and materials are accessed in museums and universities and taught in classrooms around the world; and now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED BY SENATORS BEN ALLEN, STEVEN M. GLAZER, ROBERT M. HERTZBERG, HANNAH-BETH JACKSON, HOLLY J. MITCHELL, SUSAN RUBIO, HENRY I. STERN, AND SCOTT D. WIENER AND ASSEMBLY MEMBERS REBECCA BAUER-KAHAN, MARC BERMAN, RICHARD BLOOM, LAURA FRIEDMAN, JESSE GABRIEL, REGINALD BYRON JONES-SAWYER, SR., MARC LEVINE, JOSE MEDINA, ADRIN NAZARIAN, AND BLANCA RUBIO, That, upon its twenty-fifth anniversary, they commend USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education, for its work in countering anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of hate and intolerance, as well as for the key role it is playing in developing technology to help people foster empathy, promote understanding, and build respect.


Joint Members Resolution No. 161

Dated this 15th day of April, 2019,


Honorable Ben Allen

26th Senatorial District

(On-Behalf of The Above Mentioned Members)