Institute’s Archive of Testimonies Now Accessible at Central European University

Fri, 05/08/2009 - 12:00am
CEU becomes second European institution offering electronic access to archives.

Institute Launches International Visual History Program in Hungary

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY—MAY 7, 2009—Central European University (CEU) has become the second institution in Europe to offer electronic access to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s archive of nearly 52,000 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust.  CEU has also gained access to the archive’s online search interface, which allows users to search for and access testimonies of interest by using more than 50,000 keywords contained in the interface.

“Providing the broadest possible access to the Visual History Archive is a vital component of the Institute’s mission, and we are so pleased that the archive will be available to scholars, students, and educators at Central European University,” said Kim Simon, Interim Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.  “In addition to supporting scholarship and research in many disciplines, the depth and breadth of the archive—which contains personal accounts of life from numerous countries throughout the 20th Century—can support CEU’s commitment to nurture respect for human rights and diverse cultures and opinions.”

In addition to providing access to the testimonies, the Institute is engaged in an ongoing effort to create greater educational opportunities for students, educators, scholars, and researchers to encounter the life stories of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.  In Hungary, the Institute is launching the International Visual History Program, through which it works with local government agencies, non-governmental organizations, educators, and historians, to develop testimony-based educational resources in Hungarian for secondary school educators.

Support for the Institute’s work in Hungary is made possible through generous funding by the George W. Schaeffer Foundation.  “Through the educational use of their testimonies, Holocaust survivors and other witnesses can bring history to life for students and inspire them to stand up against intolerance and prejudice,” Schaeffer said.  “The testimonies are an important educational tool; I am proud to support the Institute’s outreach in Hungary.”

“The CEU Library is proud to be the first in Central and Eastern Europe to present the Visual History Archive for researchers, educators, and students.  Until today, only Freie Universität Berlin provided digital access to the archive in Europe,” said Maria Szlatky, CEU Library Director.

About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute

Established in 1994 to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world:  nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries.  The Institute is part of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California; its 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 works within the University and with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes.  In addition to preserving the testimonies in its archive, the Institute is working with partner organizations to help document the stories of survivors and other witnesses of other genocides.

(Read article in Hungarian)