To set up an interview, fill out the Interview Request Form
Who is eligible to record a testimony?
Holocaust survivors, those who fled Nazi persecution, liberators and other eyewitnesses to the Holocaust who have not previously recorded interviews with USC Shoah Foundation are invited to participate.
Where do interviews take place?
Interviews are currently being recorded at studios in cities around the U.S., and at the Ceci Chan and Lila Sorkin Memory Studio at our international headquarters on the USC campus in Los Angeles. For survivors who cannot leave their homes, or live far away from the recording sites, alternate arrangements can be made.
How long is the interview?
Recorded interviews usually run 2 to 3 hours, depending upon the witnesses’ experiences, remembrances, and stories.
How much time does the interview take?
The entire experience, including travel, pre-recording preparation, and the interview takes approximately 4 to 6 hours.
How do I sign up to be interviewed?
Survivors and their family members who would like to be contacted about scheduling an interview are invited to complete the Interview Inquiry Request.
Can family members attend the filming?
Family members are welcome to accompany the survivor but cannot be in the studio or room where the interview is taking place. This is because it is important to create a distraction-free atmosphere in which the survivor feels comfortable recalling often difficult memories. At the end of the interview, family members are invited to record thoughts or messages, which are then included in the testimony.
Is there a fee for recording testimony?
Can I become an interviewer?
USC Shoah Foundation is looking for people with interviewing experience and/or a strong knowledge of the Holocaust to volunteer as interviewers. This may include descendants of survivors, journalists, academics or graduate students, or those in the care professions. A short training course is required. Fill out our interviewer inquiry form. Click here for more interviewer FAQs.
Are there other volunteer opportunities?
Yes. We are looking for volunteer videographers, people to support survivors through the application and interview process, and people who can help us create networks to spread the word about the new recordings. Submit an application to become a USC Shoah Foundation volunteer here.
Can children or grandchildren of survivors record testimony?
USC Shoah Foundation is not currently recording interviews with next generation survivors.
Why did USC Shoah Foundation stop recording testimonies, and why are you restarting now?
In collecting more than 52,000 testimonies between 1994 and the early 2000s, USC Shoah Foundation exceeded its initial goal. At that point, the Institute shifted its focus to making the testimonies accessible to the broader public. This entailed setting up systems for continuing preservation of the testimonies, indexing interviews down to the minute with thousands of search terms, and building community and educational partnerships and programming, so that testimony now reaches tens of millions of people around the world every year. USC Shoah Foundation is now hoping to add new testimonies to the Visual History Archive that will both enhance our understanding of the Holocaust and document survivors’ perspectives on contemporary issues.
What does the USC Shoah Foundation do with the testimonies?
Our Visual History Archive includes more than 55,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses to genocide across more than 100 years of history.
This collection is preserved and shared for remembrance, education, research and action to counter antisemitism, racism and other forms of hate. USC Shoah Foundation pursues academic programs and partnerships across the University of Southern California and at more than 180 institutions worldwide. We also provide professional development for educators and teaching resources through our award-winning IWitness education program that reaches millions of students and educators every year. USC Shoah Foundation's interactive programming and research materials can be accessed in museums, classrooms and universities worldwide, and are often cited by government leaders, NGOs, and other thought leaders.
How are the testimonies saved?
USC Shoah Foundation uses state-of-the-art digital preservation methodologies to store and share testimonies in the Visual History Archive, including a variety of technologies that keep the testimonies safe in locations worldwide. At USC, for example, the digital recordings are copied and checked at the bit level every 6 months to ensure files do not get corrupted.
Where can I access the testimony?
Survivors and witnesses who give testimony are provided with a link to view their interview, and families can request links to the testimony free of charge here. Testimonies are also shared through USC Shoah Foundation programs and resources such as the Visual History Archive, our YouTube channel, and IWitness. Learn more about institutions with access here.