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USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive: VHA Subject Guide

Established in 1994 to preserve the audio-visual histories of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: the Visual History Archive (VHA).

VHA Overview

Select from the Subject Guide in the left box to learn more about specific areas of the collection.

 

USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive (VHA) contains 54,405 interviews with witnesses of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, the 1937-1938 Nanjing Massacres, the Holocaust, 1975-1979 Cambodian Genocide, 1978-1996 Guatemalan Genocide, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the ongoing Central African Republic conflict, and contemporary antisemitism. Originally consisting of the Holocaust testimonies recorded by the USC Shoah Foundation, the Visual History Archive now includes testimonies shared by other organizations, including the Armenian Film FoundationFlorida Holocaust Museum, Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala, Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, Holocaust Museum Houston, JFCS San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and nine Canadian organizations (Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives; Calgary Jewish Federation; Concordia University Centre for Oral History; Freeman Family Foundation; Jewish Archives of Edmonton and Northern Alberta; Living Testimonies, McGill University; Montreal Holocaust Museum; Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre; and the Ottawa Jewish Archives).

 

The indexing of each interview enables researchers to search in detail for the people, places, events, and experiences described in each one. For example, the archive includes over 1.8 million name records—those of the interviewees themselves, their family members and anyone else they talk about in the interview. The indexing terms include more than 47,000 specific geographic locations from all over the world, and around 8,000 experiential terms used to describe the huge variety of events, experiences, organizations, and other subjects (browse the latter in the Thesaurus).

 

The VHA contains currently interviews with witnesses of the following:

  • Armenian Genocide: 334
  • Cambodian Genocide: 5
  • Central African Republic Conflict: 4
  • Contemporary Antisemitism: 10
  • 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda: 86
  • Guatemalan Genocide: 14
  • Holocaust: 53,922
  • Nanjing Massacre: 30

 

Within each one are the following interviewee experience groups:

  • Armenian Genocide:
    • Armenian Survivor: 191
    • Descendant: 13
    • Foreign Witness: 6
    • Miscellaneous: 23
    • Rescuer and Aid Provider: 1
    • Scholar: 7
    • Yezidi Survivor: 4
  • Cambodian Genocide:
    • Cambodian Survivor: 5
  • Central African Republic Conflict:
    • Central African Republic Conflict Witness: 4
  • Contemporary Antisemtism:
    • Interviewee (Contemporary Antisemitism): 10
  • 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda:
    • Elder: 4
    • Hutu Power Opponent: 1
    • Rescuer: 13
    • Tutsi Survivor: 67
    • Victim's Spouse: 1
  • Guatemalan Genocide:
    • Guatemalan Genocide Survivor: 14
  • Holocaust:
    • Eugenic Policies Survivor: 13
    • Homosexual Survivor: 6
    • Jehovah's Witness Survivor: 84
    • Jewish Survivor: 51,325
    • Liberator: 429
    • Miscellaneous: 155
    • Non-Jewish Forced Laborer: 14
    • Political Prisoner: 268
    • Rescuer and Aid Provider: 1,159
    • Sinti and Roma Survivor: 406
    • War Crimes Trial Participant: 62
  • Nanjing Massacre
    • Nanjing Massacre Survivor: 30

 

The interviews currently available in the VHA are in 38 languages:

  • Arabic:               15
  • Armenian:          158
  • Bulgarian:          624
  • Croatian:            393
  • Czech:               560
  • Danish:              69
  • Dutch:               1,076
  • English:             27,235
  • Flemish:             5
  • French:              1,913
  • German:             924
  • Greek:               318
  • Hebrew:             6,280
  • Hungarian:         1,348
  • Italian:              433
  • Japanese:          1
  • Khmer:              2
  • Kinyarwanda:     75
  • Kurdish:             3
  • Ladino:              9
  • Latvian:             1
  • Lithuanian:         46
  • Macedonian:       9
  • Mandarin:          30
  • Norwegian:        34
  • Polish:               1,515
  • Portuguese:        560
  • Romani:             24
  • Romanian:         130
  • Russian:             7,137
  • Serbian:             384
  • Sign:                 5
  • Slovak:              561
  • Slovenian:          6
  • Spanish:             1,366
  • Swedish:             264
  • Turkish:             14
  • Ukrainian:          304
  • Yiddish:             574

 

The interviews currently available in the VHA were recorded in 62 countries:

  • Argentina:                                  731
  • Armenia:                                     14
  • Australia:                                   2,495
  • Austria:                                      189
  • Belarus:                                     246
  • Belgium:                                     203
  • Bolivia:                                      23
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina:               55
  • Brazil:                                        564
  • Bulgaria:                                     628
  • Canada:                                     4,083
  • Chile:                                        65
  • Colombia:                                  15
  • Costa Rica:                                 19
  • Croatia:                                     327
  • Czech Republic:                           563
  • Denmark:                                   104
  • Ecuador:                                     9
  • Estonia:                                     9
  • Finland:                                     1
  • France:                                      1,660
  • Georgia:                                     6
  • Germany:                                   672
  • Greece:                                     324
  • Guatemala:                                13
  • Hungary:                                    790
  • Ireland:                                     4
  • Israel:                                       8,460
  • Italy:                                         418
  • Japan:                                       1
  • Kazakhstan:                               6
  • Latvia:                                       79
  • Lebanon:                                   4
  • Lithuania:                                  137
  • Macedonia:                                9
  • Mexico:                                      111
  • Moldova:                                    284
  • Netherlands:                               1,046
  • New Zealand:                             53
  • Norway:                                     34
  • People's Republic of China:             30
  • Peru:                                         2
  • Poland:                                      1,382
  • Portugal:                                    2
  • Romania:                                   147
  • Russia:                                      675
  • Rwanda:                                     77
  • Slovakia:                                     657
  • Slovenia:                                   11
  • South Africa:                               250
  • Spain:                                       7
  • Sweden:                                     325
  • Switzerland:                               69
  • Syria:                                        30
  • U.S.A.:                                       21,258
  • Ukraine:                                     3,428
  • United Kingdom:                         871
  • Uruguay:                                    124
  • Uzbekistan:                                25
  • Venezuela:                                 227
  • Yugoslavia:                                346
  • Zimbabwe:                                 8

 

Visual History Archive Curator

Crispin Brooks's picture
Crispin Brooks
Contact:
DML 232, 213-740-5463
Website / Blog Page