As an intern at the USC Shoah Foundation and a student on the Problems Without Passports trip to Rwanda this summer, I’m more than familiar with the phrases “Never Forget” and “Never Again.” Sometimes the two seem like tired mottos. They’re valid and true, but oftentimes I think I miss the full impact of those few words.
rwanda, problems without passports, GAM, op-eds / Monday, June 30, 2014
The statistics are rolling in: Thousands of rockets fired, thousands of homes destroyed, 65,000 reservists deployed, hundreds of Palestinian and tens of Israeli dead, miles of print, hours of commentary, two ceasefires. But for all our statistics, are we not missing one fundamental point? No one is suffering more at the hands of Hamas than the ordinary people of Gaza.
Israel, Gaza, Conflict, op-eds / Monday, July 21, 2014
In just a few short months I will be holding a new born baby in my arms. The depth and complexity of emotion that I feel as this time approaches is multiplied by the experiences I have had working at USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. New acquaintances who inquire about what I do for a living often respond by saying, “Gosh, that must be depressing.” And my response has always been the same, “Actually, it is amazing and inspiring.” And it truly is.
op-eds / Friday, July 25, 2014
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education was founded to capture the voices, emotions and faces of those who suffered, yet miraculously survived the most heinous crime ever committed against humanity by humanity. The idea was to record individual and collective memories that would be preserved in perpetuity as a seminal educational tool to inform current and future generations that incitement, hate and violence against a person or a group can ultimately lead to death, genocide and ultimately extermination.
anti-semitism, Europe, op-eds / Wednesday, July 30, 2014
A group of men is placed in several trucks. They are driven through the streets and out of town into an open area surrounded by trees. They are beaten around the head with rifle butts, made to run in a group towards an open mass grave. A mere handful of armed guards make them lie in the grave like sardines. Then they are shot one by one in broad daylight. The horrific spectacle, highly reminiscent of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen Aktions in the Soviet Union in 1941, was, in fact, the mass murder of some 30 men that took place in Iraq just this week. 
ISIS, Iraq, genocide, Middle East, op-eds / Saturday, August 2, 2014
For years now I have noticed that my students are especially interested in the information from non- traditional educational channels; visual and auditory information are often more welcome than academic texts from their books. The reason, we have experienced a shift in the methods that young people process information these days. 
Teaching with Testimony, hungary, education, op-eds / Monday, August 4, 2014
My “mormor” (literally mother's mother) Greta exuded love and her heart burst for my sister and me. Along with my “morfar” (mother's father) Ingvar, they ensured us an innocent and idyllic childhood in a small town in Sweden. Greta's pork chops with cream sauce were my favorites and I later learned my father would devour when given the opportunity.
Holland, holocaust, Dutch, op-eds / Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The fast pace of globalization with all of its benefits is also accelerating the viral spread of hatred. Where once regional enmities brewed for centuries with sporadic outbursts of warfare and imperial powers that waxed and waned, the truly global speed and scale of ideological hatred and international conflict was not possible until recently for many practical reasons.
Hate, Tolerance, ISIS, Europe, Globalization, anti-semitism, GAM, op-eds / Monday, August 25, 2014
There is talk of a “new anti-Semitism” sweeping the globe, but all I see is the same irrational hatred aimed at the same perplexed victims, who are once again left wondering what has energized such bile.
anti-semitism, Focal Points, discrimination, op-eds, antiSemitism / Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A sea of faces dotted with “Nie Wieder!” banners wraps around the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Germany's capital. As I join them on this Sunday afternoon, I cannot help but think of the crowds that once had gathered under the same grey skies hanging onto every hateful word of their chosen leader, Adolf Hitler.
anti-semitism, Berlin, Angela Merkel, op-eds, antiSemitism / Thursday, September 18, 2014
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
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
During my dissertation research on the history of fear in the Weimar Republic, 1919-1933, a Corrie ten Boom fellowship provided the opportunity for me to visit the USC Shoah Foundation to explore the visual testimonies of the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive. When I arrived, I was not exactly sure how I might make use of these incredibly important digitized collections in my project.
cagr, op-eds / Thursday, January 30, 2020
Only a day after the University of Southern California announced that it would conduct a three-day test to move all classes online, which soon turned into a permanent arrangement until the end of Spring semester, my colleague and I gave our last in-person introduction to the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive to a USC class. Perhaps serendipitously, one of the topics discussed in this class was physical health.
cagr, op-eds, holocaust / Wednesday, April 1, 2020
I much enjoyed my stay at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in early March, just before the pandemic turned all of our lives upside down. Meeting the wonderful members of the staff and seeing how much the operations of both the Foundation and the Center have grown since my last visit in 2014 were remarkable experiences.
cagr, op-eds / Wednesday, April 1, 2020
From visiting family in China during summer breaks growing up, I became acutely aware of the devastation and suffering that occurred during the Japanese occupation of our hometown of Nanjing. Museums, movies, television programs, and commemorative art kept the Nanjing Massacre alive in public memory. But what I also noticed, from visits to museums, shuffling through television channels, and discussions with family, was the seeming absence of Chinese resistance.
cagr, op-eds / Monday, August 10, 2020
I had the opportunity to research the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive this past summer thanks to the Beth and Arthur Lev Student Research Fellowship. I was initially introduced to the archive through a course taught by Dr. Maria Zalewska in the School of Cinematic Arts entitled “Meme, Myself and I: How We Remember in the Digital Age.” Prior to the course, I was unaware of this resource at USC despite having a visual art practice deeply engaged with Holocaust remembrance and archives.
cagr, op-eds / Monday, August 31, 2020
As a postdoctoral research fellow at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research in the 2019-2020 academic year, I carried out a research project focusing on the long-term impact of Hamidian Massacres of 1894-97 and the experiences of genocide survivors with regards to extortion, plunder, and robbery during the genocide of 1915. Since 2008, I have been working on socio-economic aspects of the genocide and of the deterioration of relations among different communities.
cagr, op-eds / Monday, August 31, 2020
My recent stay at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career.  From the remarkable power and content of the Visual History Archive, to the welcoming and helpful nature of the staff and donor community, I leave my term as the Breslauer, Rutman, and Anderson Research Fellow strengthened by new friendships and enriched by new findings for my work. 
cagr, op-eds / Wednesday, November 11, 2020
I never intended to spend months listening to Holocaust testimonies.  My name is Chaya Nove, I am a sociolinguist working on a doctoral dissertation about language change in Yiddish vowels. In my research, I consider the Yiddish spoken by Hasidic Jews in New York today (Hasidic Yiddish, or HY) as a living, changing language, with the understanding that this language was once spoken by a group of people in another time and place. 
cagr, op-eds / Monday, November 30, 2020
On January 25, 2019, the fifth- and sixth-graders of a school in Cottbus, Germany honored all those affected during the Holocaust by unveiling a Butterfly Project memorial to the 1.5 million children murdered during this dark moment in history. This first-ever initiative in Germany introduced a new, younger audience to real stories of local children.
op-eds / Wednesday, February 13, 2019
As a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who survived the tragedy on Feb. 14, 2018, I have spent the past year grappling with this question.
op-eds / Thursday, February 14, 2019

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