I recently returned to China to record audio-visual testimonies from survivors of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. In February 2014, the Institute incorporated 12 Nanjing testimonies into its Visual History Archive, adding a new perspective to the 53,000 testimonies that we collected from the Holocaust and the Rwandan Tutsi Genocide.
Nanjing Massacre, china, nanjing, GAM, op-eds / Thursday, October 9, 2014
With nearly 52,000 interviews from survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides, the archive of audio-visual testimony assembled and maintained by USC Shoah Foundation is so abundant it would take at least 12 years to watch it from beginning to end. And that’s assuming the footage would be rolling 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When I started my new job here at the Institute, I was struck by this statistic, which adequately conveys the scope of this incredible resource.
testimony, research, op-eds / Monday, October 13, 2014
I adored my father and admired him greatly. Harold Eisenberg was a good man in every sense of the word. He spoke about his life in Opatow, Poland before World War II and even his experience during the Holocaust, but he also lived very much in the present, working hard to provide for his family. The business he started after the war became the foundation for much of our extended family’s success. I was named for his mother and his sister, who both perished in the Holocaust, and my father would often look at me tenderly and tell me how much I reminded him of his mother.
memory, family, testimony, op-eds / Friday, October 17, 2014
Pinchas Gutter stepped onto the bimah at the Kiever Synagogue in Toronto, Canada, where for the 27th consecutive time he was about to lead the Yom Kippur services. He stood tall in his white robe breathing deeply surrounded by eight white-clad Torah scrolls, each held by a leaders of the congregation. The scrolls appear to jostle for position, their silver shields and finials glistening as PInchas intones the ancient supplication, 'Kol Nidrei'. But on the bimah there are more than the eight men holding Torah scrolls, because gathered around him are also the ghosts of the Gerrer Hasidim o
op-eds / Friday, October 24, 2014
I have only known Harry Reicher for three months, and yet today I say goodbye to him as an old friend.I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting to meet a devout and practicing Jew the day he first walked into the USC Shoah Foundation office, but Harry’s devotion to his religious life radiated from him the moment he said hello.
Harry Reicher, Penn, Holocaust Studies, law, In memory, op-eds, cagr / Tuesday, October 28, 2014
In honor of National Archives Month, here are 10 unique facts about USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.
Ask an Archivist Day, National Archives Month, #askanarchivist, op-eds / Thursday, October 30, 2014
For some people, hope is nothing but an airy dream. But for my parents, Elisabeth and George, it is a hard-won reality that they have lived every day of their lives. Their commitment is anything but naïve. They are both survivors of the Holocaust and have experienced anti-Semitism in all its forms. They’ve suffered more than most of us, God willing, will ever experience. And yet, their hope has been a source of redemption and new life.
memory, op-eds / Wednesday, November 5, 2014
The academic conference hosted by USC Shoah Foundation last week was an excellent opportunity for me to hear the personal stories of survivors alongside academic analysis of modern-day events and future challenges. I attended the keynote panel discussion and the final discussion on the future of testimony and genocide study.
rwanda, conference, holocaust, Holocaust Studies, op-eds / Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The Visual History Archive enables its users to observe the history of political utilization of anti-Jewish prejudice since the beginning of the 20th century until the century's end. Teaching about the mechanisms of hatred and the real goals of the propagandists is of utmost importance especially in what used to be the Soviet Block, where the liberation from Nazi regime did not necessarily mean the end of anti-Jewish propaganda.
anti-semitism, op-eds, antiSemitism / Thursday, December 4, 2014
Auschwitz should never have existed, so why are we so keen to cling onto it? Would it not be reasonable to scrub it from the landscape, remove the very thought of what it represents from our minds, recognize it as the cemetery it is, then grass it over and leave the dead to rest in peace?
Auschwitz70, auschwitz, memory, preservation, GAM, op-eds / Monday, January 19, 2015
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch had a lucky moment while being processed at the Sauna in Auschwitz-Birkenau. One of the girls processing her asked her what she did prior to landing in that place of unspeakable horror. “I played the cello,” she answered. That surreal conversation, not far from the gas chambers at Birkenau, would save her life. As a member of the Auschwitz women's orchestra, playing the cello meant respite from heavy labor.
Auschwitz70, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, memory, music, op-eds / Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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
The Holocaust collection in USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive contains nearly 53,000 testimonies; however, only a mere six of those testimonies are from survivors who were persecuted by the Nazis for being gay: one in English, three in German, one in French, and one in Dutch. There are other gay survivors we have in the Archive, but they were persecuted by the Nazis for the greater sin of being Jewish; Gad Beck being one of them. The meager number says a lot about the history of the gay men who lived through the Nazi regime and who came out the other end willing and unafraid to speak about their lives.
GAM, homosexuality, holocaust, homosexual, gay, survivor, Albrecht Becker, paragraph 175, gay pride, op-eds / Tuesday, March 24, 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