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Syracuse University Library to offer Shoah Visual History Archive of Holocaust survivor and witness testimonies
Syracuse University Library to offer Shoah Visual History Archive of Holocaust survivor and witness testimonies April 29, 2008Pamela McLaughlinpwmclaug@syr.edu
Syracuse University Library now offers access to the world’s largest archive of visual histories of the Holocaust. The Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive, housed at the University of Southern California, includes nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors, rescuers and other witnesses gathered by the Shoah Foundation. The interviews, which are in 32 languages, were conducted in 56 countries between 1994-2005. Syracuse University is one of only 10 partner universities worldwide that provide students, faculty, staff and the general public with access to the complete archive.
“Syracuse University Library is honored to become one of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s partners. The Visual History Archive is a welcome addition to our collection of multidisciplinary research tools,” says University Librarian and Dean of Libraries Suzanne Thorin. “The firsthand perspective provided by these interviews will be invaluable to students and scholars of history, religion, anthropology and many other disciplines.”
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute grew out of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by film director Steven Spielberg following the release of “Schindler’s List.” The purpose of the project was to document the experiences of survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust. The majority of the interviews — about 90 percent — are with Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution; also represented in the archive are political prisoners, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with liberators, witnesses, rescuers and aid providers.
Users can search more than 50,000 geographic and experiential keywords, the names of every person mentioned in the testimonies, and biographical information for each interviewee. A selection of testimonies will be immediately available at SU; users can request that other testimonies be delivered to SU’s local server. The Shoah system makes use of Internet2, a relatively new network that is ideally suited to transferring large files like the Shoah videos. Users must be physically present on the SU campus to access the Visual History Archive, which is located at http://vha.usc.edu.
“The Visual History Archive is an extraordinarily useful tool for addressing the issues of the Holocaust and making it relevant to the theme of being a bystander in today’s world,” says Alan Goldberg, professor emeritus in SU’s School of Education and coordinator of the institute’s “The Holocaust, Lessons for the Classroom,” a collaboration of Syracuse University, the Holocaust Museum, Houston, and the Warren Fellowship for Future Educators.
The mission of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute is to “overcome prejudice, intolerance and bigotry — and the suffering they cause — through the educational use of the institute’s visual history testimonies.” The institute relies upon partnerships in the United States and around the world to provide public access to the archive and advance scholarship in many fields of inquiry. The institute and its partners also utilize the archive to develop educational products and programs for use in many countries and languages.
For more information about Shoah or to arrange for a demonstration, contact Lydia Wasylenko at 443-4692 or firstname.lastname@example.org.