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USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive: United Kingdom

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).

United Kingdom

The USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive contains 3,382 testimonies relate the experiences of interviewees who spent time in the United Kingdom before, during, and after the war. These include 898 interviews recorded in the United Kingdom.

The great majority of these interviews relate to the experiences of Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia who arrived in the United Kingdom on the eve of World War II. While some of these refugees remained in Britain, joined the army, and settled after the war, others emigrated to North America and elsewhere. These interviews discuss the Kindertransports; the role of aid givers such as Nicholas Winton and of organizations such as Bloomsbury House; the dispersal of refugees around the country (including the hakhsharot at Grwych Castle in North Wales and on Lord Balfour's estate at Whittingehame in southern Scotland); the interaction between the refugees and the foster families who took them in; the work experiences of Jewish refugees; the internment of "enemy aliens" in camps on the Isle of Man and Isle of Wight and the subsequent deportation of internees to Canada and Australia. Other interviews describe the internment of Jewish refugees attempting to enter Palestine during and after the war, in camps in Palestine, Cyprus, Kenya, Uganda, and Mauritius.

A separate part of the British collection pertains to the experiences of Jews serving in the Polish Army-in-Exile (Polish units of the British army), American and Canadian servicemen who spent time in the United Kingdom en route to operations in Europe.

A number of rescuers and aid providers, liberators, and war crimes trial participants in the archive were born in the United Kingdom

There are 32 Jewish Holocaust survivors in the archive who were born in the United Kingdom.

Among the British interviews are those of Hugh Stewart (interview code 39772, English), who worked for the Army Film and Photo Section and filmed the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp; Lord Janner of Braunstone (interview code 46115, English), founder of the All-Party War Crimes Group in 1986-87, which investigated suspected Nazi war criminals living in the United Kingdom.

Visual History Archive Curator

Profile Photo
Crispin Brooks