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

Executive Director Stephen D. Smith will step down at the end of 2021 but continue to serve the institute as executive director emeritus. Read More
Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 9:14am
Until he retired from the Soviet Red Army in 1967, Leonid Rozenberg carried the banner at the head of the semi-annual military parade in the city of Lugansk, in what is now Ukraine, with hundreds of fellow soldiers marching behind him and thousands of spectators cheering him on. Although highly decorated – his chest was covered in medals – the honor of leading the parade was tainted for Leonid. During his 26 years in the Soviet military Leonid was never promoted beyond the rank of lieutenant colonel. The reason? He was a Jew. Read More
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 12:37pm
Today, October 1st, marks the day in 1990 that Rwandan Patriotic Front troops crossed into Rwanda from neighboring Uganda and the beginning of a sequence of events that culminated in the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi that claimed as many as one million lives over the course of approximately 100 days. Read More
Friday, October 1, 2021 - 3:59pm
USC Shoah Foundation today launches a redesigned IWitness website reimagined to make teaching with testimony more effective, approachable and cutting-edge. The new site features all of the functionality educators have praised in IWitness—only better, faster, and more user-friendly. Read More
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 5:15pm
A four-year initiative to bring together the expertise of USC Shoah Foundation and the Azrieli Foundation—Canada’s leading nationwide Holocaust education program—has culminated with the release of a robust new destination for teachers and students with a variety of bilingual educational materials based on the memoirs and testimonies of Canadian Holocaust survivors. Read More
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 10:20am
USC Shoah Foundation is looking for 40 students across the country in 7th– 11th grades representative of diverse backgrounds and academic skills who are interested in participating in its highly competitive William P. Lauder Junior Internship Program. The program provides a dynamic and unique learning opportunity to engage with testimonies – personal stories – from survivors and witnesses of genocide to develop their own voice. Read More
Monday, September 20, 2021 - 7:37pm

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.

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.

Our 2020 Annual Report is Available

See how your support helped us make a measurable change.

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.