FAU and LEAH Partner to Give Florida Community Access to USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Archive

Mon, 08/06/2007 - 12:00am

BOCA RATON, FL–August 1, 2007–Florida Atlantic University students, faculty, staff, as well as the general community, will have access to video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses from around the world when the University provides access to the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive.  The program will be underwritten by the Florida-based League for Educational Awareness of the Holocaust (LEAH), a nonsectarian, not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to raise awareness and funds to support and encourage education efforts for children to help eliminate prejudice and hatred, using lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocides, including Darfur, Rwanda and Bosnia.

FAU currently has a selection of 300 testimonies from throughout the world immediately available to viewers.  Through LEAH's underwriting, the university plans to install the hardware necessary to store a larger quantity of testimonies, allowing access to more than 3,400 Florida Holocaust survivor and witness testimonies, and others from around the world.

"Florida Atlantic University is truly honored to partner with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute and LEAH.  The testimonies found within the Institute's Visual History Archive are an invaluable tool for not only the University, but for those in the general community who would like to gain additional knowledge of the firsthand testimonies offered through the archive," said FAU President Frank T. Brogan.  "We are grateful that LEAH recognized the tremendous impact the accessibility of the archive will have on our community, and thus gifted FAU with the generous underwriting to support this significant program."

Accessing the Visual History Archive requires users to be physically present on a FAU campus.  Using a computer connected to the University's Internet servers, a user can conduct a variety of searches using a hierarchical thesaurus that includes more than 50,000 geographical and experiential keywords, as well as the names of every person mentioned in the testimonies and biographical information for each interviewee.  Users can view testimonies already available on the FAU cache or request that testimonies be uploaded from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's archive.  All requests are filled within 24 to 48 hours.  Users can access the local Visual History Archive site at designated computers located in FAU libraries on all FAU campuses.

A special LEAH Fund has been established to underwrite the purchase of equipment, computers and furniture, to create a Holocaust Information and Instructional Center in the FAU libraries, salaries for a Visual Archive Specialist and a K-12 Curriculum Specialist, licensing fees and subscription costs associated with the acquisition and maintenance of testimonials.

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute grew out of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, to document the experiences of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust.  The Institute currently provides licensed access to its entire archive via Internet2 to ten universities worldwide, including FAU.  Internet2 is a separate, high-quality network capable of higher security and more effective data transmission than the Internet.

"Through the use of video, personal stories of life before, during, and after the Holocaust have been preserved without sacrificing the nuance and emotion that give these experiences their power," said Professor Douglas Greenberg, Executive Director of the Shoah Foundation Institute.  The complete USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive includes nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in 32 languages and from 56 countries.  The vast majority of the interviews—about 90 percent—are with Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution.  However, political prisoners, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, survivors of Eugenics policies, as well as liberators and liberation witnesses, rescuers and aid providers, are also represented in the archive.

"We are very excited about being an instrumental part of this vital project," said LEAH President Robert Alrod.  "By underwriting this comprehensive archive of Florida Holocaust survivors, and the technology to maintain and access them, will significantly increase the community outreach education that LEAH has sought to intensify since its inception more than a decade ago.  The impact will be exponential, and we are proud and grateful to be partnering with FAU in this mind-broadening and enlightening opportunity."

For more information, contact Dr. William Miller, director of FAU Libraries, at 561-297-3760.

About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute

With a collection of nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's archive is the largest visual history archive in the world.  The Shoah Foundation Institute is part of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California.  The Institute's mission is to overcome prejudice, intolerance and bigotry—and the suffering they cause—through the educational use of the Institute's visual history testimonies.  The Institute relies upon partnerships in the United States and around the world to provide public access to the archive and advance scholarship in many fields of inquiry.  The Institute and its partners also utilize the archive to develop educational products and programs for use in many countries and languages.

About Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida.  Today, the University serves more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on 7 campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida's southeastern coastline.  Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts nine colleges:  the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters; the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science; the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science; the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing; the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College; the Barry Kaye College of Business; and the Colleges of Education, Engineering & Computer Science, and Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs.

About League For Educational Awareness of the Holocaust (LEAH)

LEAH is a nonsectarian, not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to raise awareness and funds to support and encourage educational efforts for children to help eliminate prejudice and hatred using lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocide, including Darfur, Rwanda, and Bosnia.  Since its inception in 1996, LEAH has fulfilled more than $1.2 million in education grants, funded training at the U.S. Holocaust Museum for more than 400 teachers, and underwritten curriculum developed for the international March of Remembrance & Hope; the Boca Raton, Florida, stop on the worldwide tour of the international Co-Existence exhibition; and programs and activities implemented by LEAH's NEXT GENERATIONS organization of children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who wish to maintain awareness of the Holocaust and its global impact through true accounts passed down through generations as the eyewitnesses to the witnesses of the Holocaust, etc.  For information, visit www.leahforkids.org, or call 561-393-9717.