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

USC Shoah Foundation offers a robust collection of resources, events and activities to counter antisemitism for educators and students—on the USC campus and beyond—for the 2022-2023 academic year. Initiatives at USC began with the September 16-18 Stronger than Hate Leadership Summit for student leaders. The three-day event, led by USC Shoah Foundation’s Education Department, consisted of guest speakers, discussions and interactions with IWitness and testimonies from the Visual History Archive.  Read More
Thursday, November 10, 2022 - 10:53am
Dr. Kori Street, Deputy Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation, was recently appointed to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education.  Governor Newsom launched the council last year to promote Holocaust and genocide education with the goal of providing young people with the tools necessary to recognize and respond to bigotry or discrimination.   Read More
Thursday, November 10, 2022 - 9:34am
USC Shoah Foundation today releases a complete redesign of its Visual History Archive (VHA), the world’s largest collection of primary source video testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides. Read More
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 - 9:00am

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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.