Welcome to Through Testimony, the official blog of USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.
op-eds / Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Steven Spielberg was awarded this year's Records of Achievement Award by the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
op-eds / Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Let's just say I throw my smartphone over the wall into the Warsaw ghetto. Along with it, I send instructions to make a video diary until the battery drains, then to wrap it in lots of newspaper before throwing it back.
op-eds / Tuesday, December 3, 2013
When I tell my fellow USC students that I’m the president of an organization called SFISA, it’s usually safe to assume that 90% of them have no idea what it is. It’s not the most elegant of acronyms and we acknowledge this. Our club’s full name – the Shoah Foundation Institute Student Association – is equally as unwieldy but at least it’s descriptive, and that’s something, right? But even if they’ve heard of our less than stellar name, they still might not know who we are or what we do. So let me take this moment to enlighten you.
rwanda, op-eds / Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The email wasn’t so different from many others I’ve received since I started working at the USC Shoah Foundation last summer. A woman named Olga in Germany was moved by watching survivor Paula Lebovics talk about her stolen childhood during the Holocaust. Olga had a young daughter of her own and felt an immediate bond with Paula, who was taken to Auschwitz when she was the same age. And so she wanted to contact her.
op-eds / Monday, January 13, 2014
USC Shoah Foundation hands off books on the Armenian Genocide to USC Doheny Library’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies collection. Lynn Sipe, senior bibliographer and curator for the Holocaust and Genocide Studies Collection for Doheny Library, visited the Institute June 13 to pick up books and other resources on the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide, doheny library, op-eds / Tuesday, June 17, 2014
The 53,000 testimonies in the Visual History Archive from the USC Shoah Foundation tell a complete personal history of life before, during and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide. These testimonies are an invaluable resource for humanity, as in addition to their experience through some of the darkest chapters of human history; the testimonies also recount happy memories of childhood and successes in life including careers, children and grandchildren. 
testimony, PIQ, Newsweek, Life History, op-eds / Tuesday, July 15, 2014
On July 16 -17, 1942, over 13,000 Jews from Paris and its suburbs were rounded up by French police in the early morning hours and forcefully taken from their homes to both the Vélodrome d’Hiver, a winter cycling stadium in Paris, and to the Drancy internment camp.
Vél d’Hiv, Paris, france, Hollande, GAM, op-eds / Friday, July 18, 2014
I recently emailed a teacher to ask if he was willing to be featured in a profile story on the USC Shoah Foundation website about his experiences using IWitness in his classroom. I had never been introduced to him and he had not been expecting to hear from me.
op-eds / Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Auschwitz was one of five death camps established by the Nazis in Poland where Jews were taken to be murdered during the so-called “Final Solution,” a euphemism for the their genocide. We know it through the horrific photos of trains filled with Jews, of men being split from women, parents from children, of the uniformed Nazi wagging his finger, and of the brick chimneys billowing smoke. But there is a much more intimate story still to be heard.
Auschwitz70, PastisPresent, holocaust memorial day, op-eds / Tuesday, January 27, 2015
“My father is Jewish.  My mother is Jewish. And I am Jewish.”  Those were the words I kept repeating to myself as I boarded my flight from JFK to attend the 70th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Auschwitz70, memory, anti-semitism, past is present, op-eds, antiSemitism / Thursday, February 5, 2015
Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Warsaw and Krakow with USC Shoah Foundation’s mission to Poland for the Auschwitz: Past is Present program, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I had many unforgettable experiences throughout these four days traveling and meeting incredible people who are all interested in the work of USC Shoah Foundation and its mission of changing the world through testimony.
Auschwitz70, past is present, Remembrance, op-eds / Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I expected to feel an intimate and profound connection to Auschwitz after touring the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for the first time late last month. After three consecutive days visiting and working at the museum, I was indeed moved. But the insight I was hoping for came from beyond the well-worn paths of tourists, from a source that hits close to home here at USC Shoah Foundation.
Auschwitz70, past is present, op-eds / Thursday, February 12, 2015
As I completed the transaction for my first foray with Airbnb for a trip to Paris with my daughter, I was pleasantly surprised by the note that popped up from Christophe, the manager, who alerted me that I could also have a ride from the airport with Karyn with whom he has an arrangement. 
Paris, past is present, op-eds / Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Auschwitz, the final destination of Jewish people from across Europe destined to be murdered as a part of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Auschwitz, a place that housed prisoners of many religions, persuasions, minorities and nationalities, but whose evil reputation is seared onto our collective conscience because the five gas chambers at Birkenau were there for one reason only - to devour the lives of 960,000 Jews. Auschwitz, which has evolved into a universal symbol of man's inhumanity to man – and indeed it does remind us just how cruel human beings can be.
Auschwitz70, op-eds, antiSemitism / Wednesday, February 25, 2015
When I met Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor in January, she was dozing on a chair that doubles as her walker, wearing a contented smile while a flurry of activity buzzed around her. 
Auschwitz70, eva kor, op-eds / Friday, February 27, 2015
We are hiding from the fact that subsequent to Haman, Hitler was successful in carrying out the genocide of the Jews and the survivors of the Holocaust are better examples than Mordechai or Esther.
purim, op-eds, antiSemitism / Thursday, March 5, 2015
On March 8, 2015 there will be events all over the world celebrating the achievements of women for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme Make it Happen encourages action for advancing women’s rights and also recognizing the incredible and courageous work women do in various industries throughout the world.
international womens day, Womens Day, #IWD2015, Womens History Month, résistance, op-eds / Friday, March 6, 2015
In February, I participated in an international conference titled Are we losing memory? Forgotten sites of Nazi forced labor in Central Europe. The event organized by the Terezin Initiative Institute and the North Bohemian Museum in Liberec brought together educators, researchers, archeologists and other experts from the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany to examine the disconnect between history of forced labor and regional history caused by the ethnic cleansing and population transfers after WWII in regions that were part of the German Reich.  
op-eds / Monday, March 9, 2015
What does it mean to live 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz in a world in deep crisis? What does it mean with all we know about the damage that hatred causes – after all the pain we have gone through – that we are hurtling out of control into an inferno of rage that takes us right back to where we started?  Why are survivors of the Holocaust who walked out of the camps with at least the hope that their own suffering was not in vain, dying disappointed?
anti-semitism, action, beginswithme, GAM, résistance, op-eds, antiSemitism / Wednesday, March 18, 2015
You never know what you are going to discover in the Visual History Archive. Each one of the 53,000 testimonies in the Archive tells a different story of life before, during and after the individual’s experience with genocide.
Woman in Gold, art, Austria, law, Maria Altmann, op-eds / Thursday, April 2, 2015
Over the last few days I’ve overheard my grandmother and father talk endlessly about Celia Tiano, an Auschwitz survivor from Salonika, Greece, their next-door neighbor on 7th Avenue -- a quiet block in the Hyde Park area of L.A., during the 1950s and 60s. After more than 40 years, my family has reconnected with Celia -- through testimony. We were able to make this connection because of a film project I had been working on for the Student Voices Short Film Contest.
Celia Tiano, auschwitz, student voices, discovery, op-eds / Friday, April 3, 2015
Music is the purest form of communication. It transcends language and ignores the passage of time. It can be euphoric and elegiac, subtle and sublime. It joyously welcomes life and mournfully greets death. It can provide glimmers of hope and comfort in a world devoid of hope and comfort.
days of remembrance, comcast, Xfinity, op-eds / Wednesday, April 15, 2015
For two full days in June 2010, while the camera was rolling in Thousand Oaks in the Hagopian’s living room, I had the privilege of being behind the camera while the late Jacob Michael Hagopian was in front of it -- the whole time.
Armenian Genocide, Armenian Genocide Testimony Collection, Michael Hagopian, GAM, op-eds / Thursday, April 23, 2015
Thousands of people came to Times Square on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and to demand the U.S. government recognize the slaughter of 1.5 million people as genocide. In a speech at the event, USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith said that the world must stand together speak for those who are not here to speak for themselves.
Armenian Genocide, GAM, op-eds / Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I participated in an event in April called Survivor Voices. We were six panelists from Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, two Holocaust survivors and an Armenian-American priest.
genocide awareness month, Rwanda Genocide, GAM, op-eds, cagr / Monday, May 4, 2015
Edith Umugiraneza was born and raised in Rwanda and survived the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide but lost most of her family including her mother. Edith wrote this poem not only as an ode to her mother but as a promise to continue her mother's work of helping others.
Mother's Day, memory, Rwandan Genocide, op-eds / Thursday, May 7, 2015
The school I teach at in Alberta, Canada, is considered a "unique setting" within our public school system. This means that our programming is designed to meet the complex learning, social and emotional needs of elementary children who exhibit extreme behavioral and emotional difficulties which impede their ability to be successful in school, community and home.
past is present, Holocaust education, Teaching with Testimony, iwitness, Paula Lebovics, Twitter, op-eds / Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Film composer James Horner died when his single-engine plane crashed near Santa Barbara on June 22. Earlier this year, the Academy Award-winner worked with USC Shoah Foundation on a movie about a Holocaust survivor. These are the recollections of producer Leslie Wilson.
One Day in Auschwitz, James Horner, op-eds / Sunday, June 28, 2015
Doris Lazarus is a docent at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, the first institution to pilot New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT), a collaboration between USC Shoah Foundation and USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), in partnership with concept developer Conscience Display.
New Dimensions in Testimony, Pinchas Gutter, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, op-eds / Wednesday, July 8, 2015

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