USC Shoah Foundation Launches New Partnership with

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 2:06pm

USC Shoah Foundation has partnered with, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, to integrate an index of data from nearly 50,000 Jewish Holocaust survivor testimonies found in the Visual History Archive® into the JewishGen Holocaust database.  

JewishGen offers archival collections, resources, and historical information at no charge to the community.  The index to the Visual History Archive records can be freely accessed via the JewishGen Holocaust database here:

“JewishGen seeks to connect researchers with family information, while educating them about the history, culture and values that defined the lives of our ancestors,” says JewishGen’s Executive Director Avraham Groll. “As a result of this new partnership, invaluable genealogical information will be made accessible to the Jewish genealogical community, and a critical sense of communal memory will be preserved and transmitted to future generations.”  

The biographical data is discoverable via more than 250,000 possible names and aliases — which in turn contain information on more than 600,000 additional relatives identified in survivor questionnaires. Data provided in the interviews contains potentially valuable sources of genealogical and family information, with details that can include: Name, Place of Birth, Date of Birth, Relationship to Interviewee, If individual survived the Holocaust, Place of Death, and Date of Death.

“We tend to forget that the Holocaust was not only the murder of Jewish people, but the attempt at total erasure of their names, their places of birth and death,” said Stephen Smith, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director at USC Shoah Foundation. “We have partnered with JewishGen to help families researching their histories to fill the void, reclaim their names and their pasts. Just to see a document with their name on a list, can help restore them back to humanity.”

All individuals listed in the database link back to USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive portal. More than 4,000 of these interviews are viewable in video format via the internet, while the remaining links lead to biographical pages that may contain slideshows of photos, maps, or additional information essential to those searching for relatives, tracing their lineage, or studying the Holocaust.

About the Visual History Archive

USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive® (VHA) is the largest digital collection of its kind in the world. Currently encompassing 115,000 hours of video testimony, the archive is an invaluable resource for humanity, with nearly every testimony containing a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide. The Visual History Archive is digitized, fully searchable, and hyperlinked to the minute. This indexing allows students, professors, researchers, and others around the world to retrieve entire testimonies or search for specific sections within testimonies through a set of 65,600 keywords and key phrases, 1.95 million names, and 719,000 images.

Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Visual History Archive has expanded to include testimonies from the Armenian Genocide that coincided with World War I, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979, the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-1983, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, and anti-Rohingya mass violence. It also includes testimonies about contemporary acts of violence against Jews.

USC Shoah Foundation