Like memory itself, the video testimony within the Visual History Archive is not permanent. Data degradation resulting from the gradual decay of storage media can result in the eventual breakdown of video and audio, rendering a testimony worthless, even in digital form. The Institute’s newly-launched Forever Fund will provide means to ensure that testimonies will live on in whatever form the future may necessitate.
For the Forever Fund’s inaugural donor, Dr. Joel Geiderman, the reason to donate was personal. His mother survived Auschwitz. So did two of his aunts. Two uncles and a grandmother he would never know were murdered in the gas chambers on arrival. Geiderman sees himself – and all second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors – as stewards of their stories. “I’ve talked to thousands of Holocaust survivors in my lifetime, and they all have an incredible story,” said Geiderman. For this reason, he donated to the Forever Fund, in hopes of providing a lasting source of financial security that guarantees the Institute’s survivor testimonies will continue to be accessible using the latest technologies and updated platforms of the next generation.