"Surviving Auschwitz: Five Personal Journeys" Launches

Mon, 05/09/2005 - 12:00am

Today, the Shoah Foundation launched a new online exhibit on its website at sfi.usc.edu/survivingauschwitz. Surviving Auschwitz: Five Personal Journeys introduces students to five men and women who survived one of the darkest periods of human history. Through a dynamic use of their first-person video testimony, the exhibit shows how the shared experience of the Holocaust affected individuals from disparate backgrounds.

Surviving Auschwitz follows survivors, as they start in five different countries, are deported to Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and rebuild their lives after the war, emigrating to various places such as South Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The exhibit includes four hours of English-language testimony from the Shoah Foundation’s archive, an interactive map, a glossary, photos, and survivor profiles.

Surviving Auschwitz not only underscores the subjects’ individual experiences during the Holocaust, but by tracing their lives before deportation and after liberation, it shows students the diversity of their cultural backgrounds and subsequent journeys. The variety of cultural experience revealed in the exhibit dispels stereotypes about the Holocaust and those who were persecuted. This online exhibit is an educational tool for teachers and students and a catalyst for an exploration of prejudice and racism. The use of visual history testimonies helps to ensure that students understand that real individuals stand behind the faceless facts and statistics.

Surviving Auschwitz is geared to students in grades 8 through 12 and the general public and, thanks to generous funding from Bren and Mel Simon and Bui and Herb Simon, is available at no cost on the Shoah Foundation’s website at sfi.usc.edu/survivingauschwitz. “We are thrilled and proud to support the educational efforts of the Shoah Foundation through this new online exhibit. Surviving Auschwitz: Five Personal Journeys shows, like few other programs, the cultural, moral, and educational value of the testimonies contained in the Shoah Foundation’s archive. We hope that children and adults around the world learn from it and are changed by it,” stated the Simons.

As more and more students and educators are turning to the Web for resources, the Shoah Foundation is creating a variety of multimedia interactive exhibits on its website that meet the need for dynamic educational tools. Also available at www.vhf.org are Voices of the Holocaust: Children Speak, and Survivors: Testimonies of the Holocaust. These interactive English-language web exhibits are designed for English-speaking middle and high school students, and include study guides with lesson plans for educators.