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Historic Agreement Signed Between Yad Vashem and Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

August 24, 2004

Douglas Greenberg, (left) president and CEO of the Shoah Foundation, and Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, after signing the agreement at Yad Vashem Douglas Greenberg, (left) president and CEO of the Shoah Foundation, and Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, after signing the agreement at Yad Vashem

August 24, 2004; Los Angeles, CA/Jerusalem - Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate, and Douglas Greenberg, president and CEO of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, have signed a comprehensive agreement that reflects a landmark partnership between the two organizations. The agreement was signed at Yad Vashem during Mr. Greenberg's recent trip to Israel. The goal is for the Shoah Foundation to provide Yad Vashem access to all 52,000 testimonies in the Shoah Foundation archive and all associated metadata. This includes the collection of 8,500 testimonies recorded in Israel or in Hebrew outside of Israel. The partnership will create worldwide cooperative educational activities, place Shoah Foundation testimonies in the exhibits of the landmark new museum and visual center opening at Yad Vashem next year, and generate other cooperative activities over the long term.

Yad Vashem is in the final stage of a campus-wide redevelopment program, which includes a new Visual Center adjacent to the new Holocaust History Museum, scheduled to open in March 2005. The Center, housing Holocaust-related feature and documentary films from around the world as well as visual survivor testimonies taken by Yad Vashem and other organizations, will be accessible to private visitors and groups. Yad Vashem sees access to the Shoah Foundation archive as an important component of the Visual Center. Yad Vashem intends to provide access to the Shoah Foundation Visual History Collection using a digitized version of the Shoah Foundation archive.

The Shoah Foundation interviewed more than 8,500 Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in Israel from August 1995 until November 2001. These testimonies of men and women from Israel are life histories, including information about the pre-war years, the turmoil of the Holocaust, and the efforts to re-establish families and lives in the post-war years. They are the stories of Jewish survivors, rescuers who risked their lives to save others, as well as the experiences of liberators and liberation witnesses.

Avner Shalev said:

"This partnership between Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation will bring the story of the Holocaust and its impact on individuals to people around the world for generations to come. In addition to documentary evidence and historical research, the personal testimonies of survivors add the personal and human aspect to the legacy of the Shoah"

Greenberg agreed:

"Yad Vashem and the Shoah Foundation share a fundamental commitment to ensuring that the faces and voices of survivors and victims of history's greatest crime are seen and heard not only collectively, but individually. This partnership joins the Shoah Foundation's unrivalled collection of video testimonies to the incomparable work of Yad Vashem-the leading institution in the world focused on Holocaust documentation and education. In so doing, the agreement reaffirms and strengthens our shared commitment to understanding the Holocaust in fundamentally human and moral terms"

About Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994. Since then, the Foundation has videotaped testimonies in 56 countries and in 32 languages. Today, the Shoah Foundation endeavors to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry-and the suffering they cause-through the educational use of the Foundation's visual history testimonies. To this end, the Foundation partners with organizations around the world to incorporate testimonies into classroom lessons and museum exhibits, to create educational products, and to preserve, and provide access to, the entire archive.

Individuals interested in supporting the Shoah Foundation are encouraged to call 818/777-4673 or write to PO Box 3168, Los Angeles, California, 90078-3168. For more information, visit the Foundation's homepage at www.vhf.org.