Monday, August 21, 2017

Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive

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Shoah: (noun) a modern Hebrew term used since the 1940s to describe the Holocaust. The mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime during 1941–5.
Steven Spielberg presented with the Ambassador for Humanity
award by President Obama in 2014 - USC Shoah Foundation
The University of Alberta Libraries now offer access to the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, the world’s largest archive of audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses to genocide. The USC Shoah Foundation was founded by Steven Spielberg in 1994 after he began filming Schindler’s List. Spielberg began interviewing survivors and the interview structure came from his desire to tell a complete life story. Survivors would be asked to start with their background history, then their experiences during the war, and then describe how their lives unfolded in the aftermath.

52,000 interviews were conducted between 1994-1999. The collection was then transferred to USC who will preserve in perpetuity. The collection has grown to capture the testimony of people who have survived mass violence.

The collection, which began as a repository of Holocaust and World War II testimony, has grown to include 52,000 testimonies from the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide, the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979, the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-96, and the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. Testimonies were collected in 62 countries and 41 languages.

This includes experiences such as:

  • Jewish Survivor
  • Political Prisoner
  • Rescuer and Aid Provider
  • War Crimes Trial Participant
  • Jehovah’s Witness Survivor
  • Sinti and Roma Survivor
  • Liberator
  • WWII Survivor
  • Non-Jewish Forced Laborer
  • Eugenic Policies Survivor 
  • Homosexual Survivor 

Given the diversity and deeply insightful content of the Shoah Foundation’s archive, the testimonies have the potential to support research, teaching and learning in many disciplines. If you wish to learn more about this new collection, please contact your Subject Librarian.

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