What is the USC Shoah Foundation?
See About Us. Between April 1994 and December 2005, the organization bore the name Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Between January 2005 and July 2012, it was known as the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. As of August 2012, the full official name is USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education.
What is the Visual History Archive?
The Visual History Archive (VHA) is the search tool that allows users to search and browse the entire collection of audiovisual testimonies collected by the USC Shoah Foundation and other partnering organizations. It is based here at USC. See About the VHA.
How does the VHA work?
Please consult the VHA Help Page.
Is the VHA on the internet?
On the public internet, desktop computers and mobile devices can search the entire Visual History Archive and view around 4,000 video testimonies. The full VHA, containing 55,000 testimonies, is accessible only at subscribing educational and research institutions: locations worldwide.
I am a USC student (staff/faculty member). How can I watch a testimony?
See Search the VHA.
I am not a USC student (staff/faculty member). How can I watch a testimony?
See Search the VHA.
How can I get a copy of a testimony?
How many interviews are there in the VHA?
Almost 55,000. In total, the VHA contains over 13 years of continuous video.
When were the interviews in the VHA recorded?
Anti-Rohingya Mass Violence (August-October 2017): 2018
Armenian Genocide: 1970-2017
Cambodian Genocide: 2009-2015
Central African Republic Conflict: 2016
Contemporary Antisemitism: 2015-2019
1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda: 2004-2021
Guatemalan Genocide: 2015-2019
Nanjing Massacres: 2012-2017
South Sudan Civil War: 2015
Where were they recorded?
In 62 different countries. See Collecting Testimonies.
Did you only interview in English?
No, we have recorded interviews in 41 different languages. English is the largest language, with over 27,700 interviews. All Kinyarwanda and Mandarin-language testimonies have English subtitles, although other languages do not. See Collecting Testimonies.
Did you only interview Jewish Holocaust survivors?
While the experiences of Jewish survivors make up 95% of the total, the Holocaust/World War II interviews also include 10 other interviewee experience groups (homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witnesses, liberators and liberation witnesses, miscellaneous, non-Jewish forced laborers, political prisoners, rescue and aid providers, Roma survivors, survivor of eugenics policies, war crimes trials participants).
The Armenian Genocide interviews contain the experiences of Armenian Survivors, descendants, scholars, foreign Witness, Yezidi survivors, and miscellaneous. The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda testimonies are made up of Tutsi survivors, rescuers, elders, Hutu Power opponents, and victims' spouses. The Guatemalan Genocide and Nanjing Massacres testimonies are all with survivors. The Central African Republic conflict witnesses were interviewed as delegates to a peace conference in Kigali in 2016. The interviewees in the Contemporary Antisemitism testimonies discuss how the 2015 Copenhagen shootings, especially the attack on the Great Synagogue, has affected their own lives, those of the Danish Jewish community, and Danish society at large.
How does the USC Shoah Foundation define the term “survivor”?
In terms of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation refers to survivors as anyone who suffered and survived persecution for racial, religious, sexual, physical, or political reasons while under Nazi or Axis control between 1933 and May 8, 1945; or who was forced to live clandestinely; or to flee Nazi or Axis onslaught during the war in order to avoid imminent persecution. A person is a survivor if he/she was alive at the point of liberation and/or on May 8, 1945. A person is a survivor if he/she died before May 8, 1945, but successfully fled from German or Axis countries.
In terms of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the USC Shoah Foundation refers to Tutsi survivors as anyone who suffered and survived persecution as Tutsis in Rwanda between April 7 and July 19, 1994. This includes individuals who were of Tutsi descent or were perceived to be of Tutsi descent.
How were the interviews conducted?
How is the archive preserved?
Do you have transcripts for the testimonies?
Currently, transcripts are available in the VHA for over 3,700 English-language and for 896 German-language testimonies (NB: German-language transcripts, not translations). The transcripts can only be viewed in the subscription version of the VHA. Indexing is available for all testimonies.
How did you index the testimonies?
The USC Shoah Foundation created proprietary software for indexing. We devised indexing terms to meet the needs of the collection’s content and organized them into a Thesaurus conforming to standard practice. The Thesaurus evolved over time and grew in volume as the testimonies were indexed. It currently contains more than 60,000 terms, around 90% of which are geographic.
Each testimony is indexed in two ways. Biographical profile indexing refers to the data-entry of the pre-interview questionnaires (PIQs) and/or other paperwork accompanying the audiovisual testimony. Video indexing refers to the minute-by-minute indexing of the video interviews. To do this, each interview was divided into one-minute segments Then, indexers assigned terms for times, places, people, and experiences directly to digital time codes within testimonies where those topics were discussed - in a similar way to book index entries that specify the page numbers where topics are covered.
For more details, see Indexing.
Are there other places that have interviewed Holocaust survivors?
Yes, many of them. Please see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's International Database of Oral History Testimonies.
Is the USC Shoah Foundation still collecting interviews?
Yes, the USC Shoah Foundation continues to conduct a small number of interviews with Holocaust witnesses. See the Last Chance Testimony Initiative.
Other organizations that may still be recording Holocaust survivors and witnesses include:
Association of Holocaust Organizations
P.O. Box 230317
Hollis, NY 11423
Florida Holocaust Museum
55 5th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies
Yale University - Sterling Memorial Library
New Haven, CT 06520-8240
Holocaust Documentation & Education Center, Inc.
2031 Harrison St.
Hollywood, FL 33020
Holocaust Museum Houston
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004
Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
2245 Post Street
P.O. Box 159004
San Francisco, CA 94115
Jewish Heritage Project
150 Franklin Street, #1W
New York, NY 10013
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126
Virginia Holocaust Museum
2000 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Yad Vashem - Jerusalem