Our mission is to develop empathy, understanding and respect through testimony

The Shoah Foundation Story

Watch our video introduction to learn about the Institute’s history and its current mission at the University of Southern California.

Latest News

Robert Widerman Clary was among the first 100 Holocaust survivors interviewed for USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, and he conducted 75 interviews of other survivors. In his testimony, he talks about his instinct and talent for entertaining—honed while he was a child in Paris—saved and shaped his life. Read More
Monday, December 5, 2022 - 12:12pm
Today marks the 84th anniversary of the Kindertransport, the rescue operation that beginning in 1938 helped nearly 10,000 Jewish children escape to the United Kingdom from Germany and Nazi-controlled territory in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.  Read More
Friday, December 2, 2022 - 3:47pm
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) today announced the appointment of USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director Robert Williams as Advisor to the IHRA for a three-year term. Read More
Friday, December 2, 2022 - 10:48am

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Creative Storytelling

Our storytelling projects are both based on and inspired by the more than 55,000 testimonies in the Institute’s archive. They offer a deeper look into the emotional complexities of our survivor stories and told through the written word, video, audio and photography. They are opportunities to explore the impact that these voices have and the way in which testimony drives our understanding of conflict and grief as well as resilience, resistance and hope.

Hela Goldstein’s testimony given to the British Film and Photographic Unit on April 24, 1945 is believed to be the first-ever audio-visual testimony given by a Holocaust survivor. As a 22-year old victim, she spoke from Bergen-Belsen, the Nazi concentration camp where she was imprisoned upon liberation. Standing at the foot of a mass grave with her killers before her, Hela recounted what she experienced. By telling her story in the face of death, she became a foremother of testimony.
Twenty-one-years after my grandmother recorded her testimony with USC Shoah Foundation, I teamed up with the Institute to create a podcast about my own decade-long journey to retrace her war story. It would be the first-ever narrative podcast to be based around survivor testimony. After years of research, criss-crossing international borders, living in stranger’s homes, and harmonizing history with the politics of today, I began to sit with her voice. “I always felt very guilty,” she told the interviewer about her survival.
Now, many (many) months into this fight against Covid-19, it feels like we are rewriting our own story. It is like our obsession with separation has been viewed in a new lens, a wider one. The stories we are now drawn to are those of connections, even if experienced by individuals who are thousands of miles apart. And, once again, when digging into the Visual History Archive for stories of the past that exemplify this idea, there is no shortage of testimonies to lean on. One story in particular involves a reunion between Betty Grebenschikoff and Ana María Wahrenberg.
Together We Are Stronger Than Hate

Stronger Than Hate, an initiative that draws on the power of eyewitness testimony to help students and the general public recognize and counter antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of hatred.

The Willesden Project

Inspired by the power of story to transform lives, this groundbreaking initiative available in IWitness combines testimony, technology and music to reshape Holocaust education.

You can help us make a difference
Our education programs bring the voices of survivors into classrooms, impacting future generations to build a better world based on empathy, understanding and respect.