The USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive contains 50,000 digitized interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. Interviews are approximately two and a half hours long and some are supplemented with photographs, documents, and artifacts pertaining to the interviewee’s family and wartime experiences.
Interviewees speak on the following topics:
- Jewish Survivors
- Rescuers and Aid Providers
- Sinti and Roma Survivors
- Liberators and Liberation Witnesses
- Political Prisoners
- Jehovah’s Witness Survivors
- War Crimes Trials Participants
- Survivors of Eugenics Policies
- Homosexual Survivors
In April 2013, the Visual History Archive expanded to include a collection of 65 audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide. Conducted in two countries (U.S.A. and Rwanda), and two languages (English and Kinyarwanda), this initial collection of 65 Rwandan testimonies was accomplished in collaboration with Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial.
In February 2014, 12 audiovisual testimonies of survivors of the 1937-38 Nanjing Massacre were integrated into the VHA. These testimonies are in Mandarin and were conducted in Nanjing, China through a partnership with the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.
It’s a unique resource, and Royal Holloway Library is the only place in the UK with access to the collection – which means that researchers often come from far and wide to view the videos.
How do I use it?
There is a link on the Databases A-Z, under U, and once you’re on the site, you will need to create an account in order to log in, search, and view videos.
- Follow the link to the website
- If on-campus, no login is needed to access the website
- If off-campus, you will need to sign in with your Royal Holloway computer username and password
- Once on the website, you must register to create a personal username and password
- Due to high bandwidth, videos to be viewed must be downloaded to Royal Holloway’s servers rather than viewed directly from USC website.
- Some videos already downloaded and available for immediate viewing; just click on the videos marked “Viewable now” to watch
- Others must be requested for download. Because our server space is limited, students must get tutor’s permission before requesting a download.
- Once requested, the video will be added to Royal Holloway’s servers and will be available to view after 12-48 hours. Videos can only be viewed on campus, but you are able to log in and make a request for a video to be downloaded from any off-campus PC.
Searching the archive
Searching is easy, you can search on a topic, for a name, and use links in the videos to skip to particular sections relevant to your interests. The USC Shoah Foundation has a YouTube Channel with lots of information, but we’ve collected searching tips in this playlist.
Have you used the archive? Do you think it would be useful in your research? Contact email@example.com for more information, or leave a comment below.