Visual History Archive

An invaluable resource for humanity, with nearly every testimony encompassing a complete personal history of life before, during and after the subject’s firsthand experience with genocide.

Cornell University is 52nd Visual History Archive Full Access Site

Cornell marked the launch Wed., Nov. 3 with a public lecture by New Yorker columnist and Rwandan Genocide expert Philip Gourevitch.


USC Neuroscientists Use Testimony in Groundbreaking Study of Gratitude

The research team of Glenn Fox, Jonas Kaplan, Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio has revealed its findings in the paper “Neural correlates of gratitude,” now published in the academic journal Frontiers in Psychology.


POLIN “Museum on Wheels” Brings Testimony Across Poland

Not everyone in Poland has made it to Warsaw to visit POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. But this summer, the museum came to them.


The Visual History Archive is USC Shoah Foundation’s online portal that allows users to search through and view more than 53,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Archive expanded in April of 2013 to include 64 testimonies from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide and again in April 2014 to include 12 testimonies from the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China. All told, the testimonies have been conducted in 63 countries and 39 languages.

The initial Rwandan testimonies were collected in the United States and Rwanda in two languages (English and Kinyarwanda) in collaboration with Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial, with additional support provided by IBUKA.

The Chinese interviews were conducted in Mandarin in the city of Nanjing, China, through a partnership with the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.

An initial 60 of the 400 testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Armenian Genocide were integrated into the Visual History Archive in April 2015, to mark the 100-year anniversary of the onset of those atrocities. The remaining testimonies are being digitized and will be indexed and integrated by the fall of 2015. For this collection, USC Shoah Foundation partnered with the late Dr. J. Michael Hagopian, who filmed all the interviews, his wife Antoinette, and the Armenian Film Foundation he founded.   

Each collection added to the Visual History Archive adds context for the others, providing multiple pathways to learn from the eyewitnesses of history across time, locations, cultures and social-political circumstances.