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.

Upcoming Events

16
Jun
Judy Batalion: The Jewish "Ghetto Girls" Who Fought the Nazis
USC Shoah Foundation Event
Join author Judy Batalion, in conversation with Nancy Spielberg, to learn more about Batalion's new book The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos.…
  • June 16, 2021

Latest News

In October 1942, when deportations from the Warsaw ghetto paused, more than 20 youth groups and underground units coalesced into a united front. Vladka Meed channeled her despair at losing her family into fighting the Nazis. Read More
Friday, June 11, 2021 - 4:11pm
Anna Heilman and a group of young women smuggled gunpowder to blow up an Auschwitz crematorium. Some of them were caught. Their story lives on in Anna’s testimony. Read More
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 1:32pm
On the day that Faye Schulman’s parents and siblings were killed, along with almost all the Jews of her Eastern Polish town of Lenin, Schulman (then Faigel Lazebnik) was pulled aside by a Nazi officer. The Nazi official had been to Schulman’s studio a few weeks previously. After invading the town in 1942, the Nazis had ordered the talented young photographer to take photographs—both to document their activities in the town and to provide their officers with vanity portraits. Schulman remembered the photo session with the Nazi who now pulled her aside. Read More
Friday, June 4, 2021 - 10:45am
USC Shoah Foundation and Mona Golabek had an end-of-school-year gift for Zoomed-out teachers: a 30-minute, all-inclusive concert/history lesson/social-emotional learning tutorial with messages about learning from history, rising from injustice and overcoming adversity. Read More
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 12:34pm
Fifteen hours of interviews related to a group of World War II-era diplomats who defied official policies to save hundreds of thousands of people from the Holocaust are to be integrated into the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. Read More
Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 12:03pm
A distinguished voice of history has been lost today in the passing of Auschwitz survivor Roman Kent, who captured the agony of the Holocaust and the power of love in his telling of a simple story about his childhood dog, Lala. Kent was 92. Read More
Friday, May 21, 2021 - 2:16pm

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.
Friday, May 14, 2021 - 12:56pm
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.
Monday, April 12, 2021 - 3:21pm
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.
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 1:55pm
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.
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Our education programs bring the voices of survivors into classrooms, impacting future generations to build a better world based on empathy, understanding and respect.