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.

Stephen Smith Delivers Keynote at UNESCO Latin American Convening

Read the full text of USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith’s keynote address to the UNESCO Latin American convening on Teaching with Testimony held at USC on September 9, 2016.

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Headline

Testimony in Armenian Collection Will Include Visual History Archive’s First Funeral

The integration of the final Armenian Genocide collection testimonies in the coming months will bring one testimony that includes both a survivor’s life and his death.

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Impact in Profile

Meet Jiří Kocian

Jiří Kocian started out using the Visual History Archive himself as a researcher. Now, he’s helping others discover testimony as the coordinator of the Malach Center for Visual History at Charles University in Prague.

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The Visual History Archive® is USC Shoah Foundation’s online portal that allows users to search through and view more than 54,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Archive has expanded significantly to include survivor and witness testimony from four other genocidal events: the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), the Nanjing Massacre (1937), the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda (1994) and the Guatemalan Genocide (1978-1996).

The Rwandan testimonies were collected in the United States and Rwanda in two languages (English and Kinyarwanda) in collaboration with Aegis Trust (an anti-genocide NGO) and the Kigali Genocide Memorial (a museum and burial ground), with additional support provided by IBUKA (a survivors' advocacy group). The addition of the first 64 Rwandan testimonies in 2013 marked the initial expansion of the Archive beyond the Holocaust.

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

The first of the Armenian testimonies were integrated into the Visual History Archive in April 2015, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the onset of those atrocities. For this collection, USC Shoah Foundation partnered with the late Dr. J. Michael Hagopian, who filmed all the interviews. The partnership includes Hagopian’s wife Antoinette and the Armenian Film Foundation he founded.   

The Guatemalan testimonies were collected in partnership with Fundacion de Antropologia Forense de Guatemala (FAFG). USC Shoah Foundation trained FAFG staff on its interviewing methodology; FAFG personnel then went out and gathered the testimonies.  

Each collection in 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.