Institute News

The Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust to Offer Public Access to 2,500 Testimony Videos From the USC Shoah Foundation Institute

Public opening coincides with 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Betsy Aldredge
(646) 437-4337
baldredge@mjhnyc.org

Abby R. Spilka
(646) 437-4333
aspilka@mjhnyc.org

New York, NY—November 7, 2011—The Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in New York, is pleased to announce that starting on Kristallnacht, November 9, it will be the only public institution in New York where visitors can access video testimonies from Holocaust survivors and other witnesses collected by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.

The Museum’s resource center will have 2,500 testimonies available from several countries in multiple languages.  The interviewees include Holocaust survivors, rescuers, and liberators.  Survivors of many religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are represented including Jews, Roma and Sinti survivors, political prisoners, and homosexuals.

Visitors can search based on name, place, biographical details, or key word.  Visitors may drop in to the Museum’s resource center during designated times or set up an appointment with a member of the staff of the Museum.  This service is free.   For more information, please call (646) 437-4290.

Museum of Jewish Heritage Director, Dr. David G. Marwell, said, “As the Holocaust survivor generation passes, we believe it is of the utmost importance to keep their voices alive and to retain the power of their stories for future generations.  We are grateful to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for making their testimony available to our visitors and for those who wish to conduct research about the Holocaust.”

“Survivors of the Holocaust have something to teach us as individuals and as a global community whose future will be in question until we learn to choose tolerance over prejudice and fear,” Stephen D. Smith, Executive Director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, said.  “By immersing ourselves in their life stories, we can be inspired to make a difference in the lives of those around us and strike a different course today and in the future than humanity has done in the past.  We’re so pleased that our long-time colleagues at the Museum of Jewish Heritage will now offer a significant collection of 2,500 testimonies to all who visit the museum.”

Please contact the Museum of Jewish Heritage to interview a survivor whose story is available through the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s archive, Dr. Marwell, or a representative of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute.

About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute

Established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg 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 Dana and David Dornsife 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 expand the archive with accounts of survivors and witnesses of other genocides.  

For more information, visit the Institute’s website at dornsife.usc.edu/vhi.

About the Museum

The Museum’s three-floor Core Exhibition educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century—before, during, and after the Holocaust.  The Museum offers a variety of educational experiences and resources for students, teachers, and adults including opportunities to hear first-person testimony from Holocaust survivors themselves.  Substantive internship programs are available to high school and college students, and fellowships are available to graduate students in the United States and abroad.

Current special exhibitions include:  Deadly Medicine:  Creating the Master Race, on view through January 16, 2012; Emma Lazarus:  Poet of Exiles, on view through summer 2012; and Let My People Go!:  The Soviet Jewry Movement, 1967-1989, on view through March 2012.  It is also home to the award-winning Keeping History Center, an interactive visitor experience, and Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones.  The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall, and receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.