Blog: Through Testimony

Posts are contributed by individual authors. The opinions are solely the authors’ and are not necessarily a reflection of the views of USC Shoah Foundation.

By Thomas Melcher (December 17, 2018)

I have been associated with USC Shoah Foundation since 2007. I attended my first gala that year because a close friend of mine was the honoree. I knew very little about the Institute before attending and I was blown away when I started to learn the story. The mission touched me deeply.

By Inna Gogina (December 4, 2018)

Eighty-five years ago, millions of residents of Ukraine were starved to death as a result of the Soviet-era policies under Joseph Stalin’s totalitarian regime. The man-made famine of 1932-1933, also known as Holodomor, is part of my home country’s history that I grew to fully understand only through my work at USC Shoah Foundation.

By Alex Biniaz-Harris (November 27, 2018)

Musician Alex Biniaz-Harris, a former employee at USC Shoah Foundation, writes about his inspiration for a piano composition he is co-writing with Ambrose Soehn, a former intern at the Institute. The duo plans to perform the piece in Cambodia in January to commemorate that country’s upcoming 40-year anniversary of liberation from the genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime.

By Stephen Smith (October 29, 2018)

The history of antisemitism is strewn with the corpses of Jews who could not get out of the way when words turned to violence. The slaying of innocent Jewish lives by Pittsburgh gunman Robert Bowers, who this weekend turned his rhetoric about killing Jews into the actual killing of Jewish people, is the latest example. We need laws to allow intervention much earlier, or this will not be the last time we see Jewish people die in America because they are Jews.

By Ulrika Citron (October 17, 2018)

Curious but friendly onlookers in the multicultural middle-class neighborhood in Amsterdam joined us. A café owner slowly crossed the street. “What’s happening?” she asked. “We are placing memorial stones in front of my grandparents’ home where they last lived before being deported in 1942,” I replied. “Please join us!”

By Lauren Deutsch (September 17, 2018)

My father was born and raised in Sighet, Romania, just down the road from the Elie Wiesel's simple blue childhood home. When the Nobel laureate's house was spray-painted with antisemitic slurs this summer, it felt like an attack on my own familial history.

By Stephen Smith (July 31, 2018)

The young Nazi approached 13-year-old Szulem Czygielmamn as he walked on the sidewalk of Lubartowska Street in Lublin, Poland, and shoved him off the sidewalk. Szulem was lucky; Jews had died for less.

By Stephen Smith (July 20, 2018)

Those who openly deny the Holocaust are either apologists for the Nazis, right wing radicals, religious extremists, and all are antisemites, even if they deny that too.

By Stephen Smith (July 9, 2018)

It’s hard to imagine I’m even typing this sentence, but an avowed Holocaust denier is the official Republican nominee for an upcoming congressional election in Illinois, while a man whose website warns of a “Jewish supremacy” is running in California.

By Michele Mitchell (June 19, 2018)

When I met the war photographer, he was having his morning coffee on the beach. He had already been in Cox’s Bazar for a month for The New York Times and had no idea when he was going back home.

By Vanessa Roth (May 17, 2018)

While "The Girl and The Picture" focuses on the story and voice of one of the last remaining survivors of the Nanjing Massacre of 1937, it is also a project that I saw as a chance to excavate forms of storytelling itself – and look at different ways we preserve legacy and memory and process loss and survival.

By Stephen Smith (May 8, 2018)

When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the claim that Jews were targeted in the Holocaust for their “social function” in banking and not for their religion, he was not ranting from the podium or calling for death to the Jews. His approach was much more subtle, and therefore much more sinister.

By Stephen Smith (May 7, 2018)

In 2003, I and others were preparing for the opening of the Kigali Genocide Memorial to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda when a volunteer data collector emptied the contents of a brown manila envelope onto my desk. There on top of the pile of papers and photos was a photo of two little girls.

By Karen Jungblut (May 4, 2018)

Like many countries around the world, we commemorated Labor Day on May 1 here in Germany. The day also coincided with the beginning of a new government position – commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and to fight antisemitism, but everyone refers to it as the “Antisemitism Commissioner.” The inaugural holder is Felix Klein, a career diplomat with an international law degree, who coincidentally happens to come from the same town I grew up in.

By Marianne Lère (May 3, 2018)

As a non-Jew living in Paris, the scourge of antisemitism had, until recently, faded from my mind as a major concern. But my eyes were opened in 2016 when I was approached by the USC Shoah Foundation to executive produce for them a new collection of testimonies on contemporary antisemitism.

By Eleanor Huntington (April 23, 2018)

In my role as part of USC Shoah Foundation’s Education Department, I have the honor of working with our team members both in the United States and around the world to create localized educational content using genocide survivor testimony.

By David Adelman (April 9, 2018)

It’s a story my grandfather never told me, something that I only heard and understood later, years after my mother recounted it.

By Stephen Smith (March 30, 2018)

Mireille Knoll managed to survive the Nazis during the Holocaust, but antisemitism is ancient and tenacious, and its tentacles finally caught up with her last week at her home in Paris.

By Stephen Smith (March 23, 2018)

It’s hard to imagine I’m even typing this sentence, but an avowed Holocaust denier on Tuesday became the official Republican nominee for an upcoming congressional election in Illinois.

By Stephen Smith (February 16, 2018)

At the exact moment a former student was destroying lives at Stoneman Douglas High School, a group of students inside a classroom was studying ways to make the world a better place.

By Stephen Smith (February 9, 2018)

Even absent this current era of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” the new Polish law making it a crime to point out Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust would be alarming. 

By Maria Zalewska (February 6, 2018)

The future of Polish-Israeli relations can be driven by compassion and forgiveness, or a retreat behind walls of fossilized antisemitism, essentialist prejudice, nationalistic egotism, and fear.

By Lesly Culp (January 31, 2018)

The IWitness Video Challenge is a 21st century skill builder - teaching students how to use digital tools such as video editors to craft multimedia essays. Most importantly, the challenge provides students the opportunity to positively enhance their digital citizenship as they network and collaborate with others to deal with real world problems.

By Stephen Smith (December 16, 2017)

By Stephen Smith (December 15, 2017)

Reflections on the recent conferences the USC Shoah Foundation hosted or participated in, and the ways in which these scholarly gatherings enrich the field of genocide studies and demonstrate the value of the Visual History Archive.

By Robin Migdol (December 1, 2017)

The day after Thanksgiving, the New York Times published an article called “In America’s Heartland, the Nazi Sympathizer Next Door,” by Richard Fausset. It profiles Tony Hovater, a 29-year-old far-right extremist and Nazi sympathizer who lives in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio.

By Stephen Smith (November 25, 2017)

By Rennie Svirnovskiy (November 2, 2017)

About four years ago, still in high school and bussing tables at my first job, I found out that management hands you bigger tips at the end of the night when they see the big table in the corner harass you. Because those tips, they said, were left for you. What are you going to question that for?

By Rennie Svirnovskiy (October 19, 2017)

Though USC Shoah Foundation specializes in maintaining thousands of recorded testimonies in its Visual History Archive, many of the Institute’s interviewees have also published memoirs and autobiographies.

By Svetlana Ushakova (September 14, 2017)

On July 30, 1937 the head of Soviet secret police Nikolai Ezhov signed the order that started a mass punitive operation against their own citizens.

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