University of Haifa Gains Access to USC Shoah Foundation Institute Archive of Testimony

Thu, 06/14/2012 - 11:08am

Interviews with Nearly 52,000 Holocaust Survivors and Other Witnesses Available at University

HAIFA, ISRAEL—June 14, 2012—The University of Haifa has become the first university in Israel with access to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive, a searchable repository of nearly 52,000 video interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.

“New scholarship based on eyewitness testimony is essential to a deeper record of the Holocaust and the world that existed before it, and to a better understanding of its individual and social consequences,” USC Shoah Foundation Institute Executive Director Stephen D. Smith said. “The Visual History Archive is an unparalleled resource for such scholarship, and the audiovisual nature and broad scope of its content make it relevant to many other fields of study as well. We’re thrilled to see the University of Haifa host the archive in Israel.”

The university plans to integrate the Visual History Archive into its new international master’s program in Holocaust studies, a multidisciplinary program of courses on such topics as the history of the Holocaust, social psychology, anthropology of trauma, interview methodology and the methodology of testimony analysis, genocide, and international law.

“There will be substantial usage of the testimonies throughout all the classes offered by the program, and students will be encouraged to make use of the testimonies for their research and thesis papers,” said Professor Arieh Kochavi, Head of the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research. “The use of the archive will enrich the program in a very unique way, by attaching specific faces and concrete names to the historical knowledge the students will gain.”

On Monday, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute provided Visual History Archive training for University of Haifa librarians and faculty members in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to launching the Visual History Archive this week, the university has organized an international symposium, “Bridging the Divide in Holocaust and Genocide Studies: Towards a Cross-Cultural Interdisciplinary Dialogue.” The symposium, which will explore the way Holocaust-based discourse, tropes, and commemorative practice inform diverse experiences of global mass-violence in everyday life, is presented in partnership by the University of Haifa Department of Sociology and Anthropology; the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research; Gerda Henkel Stiftung; the Israeli Mosaic; the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, and the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Funding for Visual History Archive access at the University of Haifa is provided by Lee Liberman, Vice Chair, Board of Governors, University of Haifa. Liberman is also a member of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Board of Councilors.

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.

USC Shoah Foundation Institute website:

About the University of Haifa Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research

The Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research was established at the University of Haifa in 1983. The Institute's specific aims are:

  • Make a critical contribution to the International discourse on the Holocaust and World War II by advancing coherent and extensive academic research
  • Work to embed the memory of the Holocaust and its lessons to various audiences
  • Provide an academic incubator in which multidisciplinary researchers can share knowledge, methodology and resources
  • Cultivate young scholars specializing in the fields of the Holocaust and World War II
  • Publish written materials in English and Hebrew in fields that will give expression to new research agendas in Israel and around the world

The Institute attaches importance to enabling varied populations to gain exposure to new Holocaust studies, from academics and educators to students and the public at large. It realizes its mission through conferences, colloquia, and seminars for academics and the general public, and encourages and nurtures developing scholars in numerous disciplines to gain expertise in the Holocaust and World War II. The Institute’s journal, Dapim: Studies on the Holocaust, The Journal of the David and Fella Shapell Family Foundation, offers a platform for advancing research in Israel and overseas. The Institute awards prizes to recognize excellence in Holocaust studies by university and high school students. The Institute operates the Historical Documentation Center of archival resources that include World War II-era documents from Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and other regions, such as certificates, diaries and letters, pamphlets, newspapers, and Nazi propaganda that reveal the history of the Jews during the War.

Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research website:

For more information, please contact:

Sonya Sharp, USC Shoah Foundation Institute

Dr. Yael Granot-Bein, Director of the Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research