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

Rukesha’s testimony, along with six other interviews from The 600 documentary, was recently integrated into USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, which now holds 135 indexed and searchable interviews connected to the Genocide Against the Tutsi Rwanda. The majority of these testimonies were collected by Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial, in partnership with USC Shoah Foundation. The seven new testimonies include the first accounts of Rwandan liberators to be added to the collection. Read More
Friday, July 2, 2021 - 11:41am
Theogene Kayitakire, a sergeant in the Rwandan Patriotic Army, helped capture the strategic high ground of the Mount Rebero neighborhood in Kigali in April 1994, just days after the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda had begun. With the location secure and reinforcements arriving, Theogene had a request for his command: Could he go to save his relatives nearby? When given permission, he disguised himself in a government army uniform and, with a few other soldiers, went to find his uncle. But his uncle refused to flee to safety without his neighbors. Read More
Friday, July 2, 2021 - 11:37am
Actor, director, filmmaker and advocate Yuval David has a weapon of choice he employs to attract audiences and disarm would-be haters: a positive embrace of his story and a persistent belief in humanity. Read More
Friday, June 25, 2021 - 9:26am
A group of 30 second-grade children in New York City took part in a Tour for Tolerance event earlier this month that featured a virtual read-along given by famed broadcaster and Holocaust survivor Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Delivered virtually to students at the Glenn Morris School (PS100) in Queens, New York, the program was a pilot initiative of Tour for Tolerance and USC Shoah Foundation. Read More
Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 11:14am
USC Shoah Foundation mourns the passing of Fritzie Fritzshall, president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, whose story of survival and will to share it has inspired thousands of people. She was 91. Always hopeful and optimistic, Fritzie’s understanding of where hate and intolerance can lead if left unchecked has driven her her whole life to educate and empower everyone she meets. She will be dearly missed. Read More
Monday, June 21, 2021 - 4:03pm
The Institute congratulates Lesley Stahl and her 60 Minutes team for winning a 2021 Gracie Award for their segment “Talking to the Past,” which focused on Dimensions in Testimony and featured live as well as virtual interviews with Holocaust survivors, including Pinchas Gutter, Eva Kor, Aaron Elster and Max Eisen. Read More
Monday, June 21, 2021 - 12:21pm

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.

Twenty-five years ago, in October, 1995, a then 72 year-old Fanny Starr sat down in her living room in Denver, Colorado and recorded a two-hour long testimony with USC Shoah Foundation. Fanny was born as Fala Granek in 1922 in Lodz, Poland -- a diverse city where Jewish and Polish students intermingled. Her family was modern yet traditional. They spoke Polish, kept kosher, went to public school, and celebrated the Jewish holidays; she and her four siblings were assimilated in the way that many young Jewish people in the United States are today.
Friday, October 23, 2020 - 9:39am
This past May, a friend sent me an article he knew I would appreciate. It was an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Burying My Bubby During the Pandemic” written by a comedy writer named Eitan Levine who, like me, grew up with a grandmother who survived the Holocaust. I began to read and found myself immediately wrapped inside his writing which was so honest it was cathartic. I immediately reached out to Eitan and asked if his grandmother’s testimony was in USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.
Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 2:06pm
“I remember lots and lots of light,” Karla Ballard told me about her childhood home just outside of Philadelphia, a community called Friends of the Fairfax. “So much light. And a beautiful, long dining room table. My father was an entrepreneur and my mom was a nurse. I just remember lots of light coming into that house and having grandparents around watching us, and having Susan, Eileen, and Max — my mother’s best friends.”
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 2:34pm
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.

Our 2020 Annual Report is Available

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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.