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Worlds Largest Collection of Holocaust Survivor Video Testimonies Now at Yad Vashem

52,000 survivor testimonies videotaped by USC Shoah Foundation Institute integrated into Yad Vashems film and testimony collection

25 September 2008

A full copy of nearly 52,000 testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses, from 56 different countries and in 32 languages, have been transferred from the archive of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, and are now accessible for searching and viewing at Yad Vashem’s Visual Center. The Shoah Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg and the predecessor of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, videotaped the testimonies between 1994 and 2000. These testimonies will supplement Yad Vashem’s existing Archive collection of 10,000 survivor testimonies, filmed beginning in 1989, as well as 5,000 Holocaust-related films of all genres, produced from 1945 until today.

These collections are now easily accessible to the public at large at Yad Vashem’s Visual Center. A simple computer search accesses and cross-references the entire collections. With over 200,000 hours of video available via VOD (Video on Demand), the Visual Center’s collection of films digitally available for immediate viewing is now the largest one in Israel.

Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem Chairman, said: “The testimony of the survivors who personally experienced that horrors of the Shoah, are the legacy that they impart to us. Their testimony has crucial educational and moral importance. It allows us to have meaningful Holocaust remembrance for generations to come, and represents an essential vehicle for imparting the memory of the Shoah. Now, this easy access to personal testimonies will allow the public, and especially the younger generations, to be exposed to these materials and deepen their knowledge of the Holocaust. This is essential in an era where the generation of Holocaust survivors is dwindling and the demand for knowledge in these areas is growing.”

“The Institute’s Visual History Archive contains full life stories of women and men--information about their lives before, during, and after the Holocaust--and these testimonies irrevocably affirm the humanity of these individuals,” said Kim Simon, USC Shoah Foundation Institute Interim Executive Director. “Yad Vashem is a longtime partner of the Institute, and the delivery of the testimonies to them will create untold opportunities for education, scholarship, and research.”

The transfer of the copy of the testimonies from USC Shoah Foundation Institute to Yad Vashem was made possible with the assistance of the Adelson Charitable Foundation and EMC Corporation.

Yad Vashem continues to film video testimonies of Holocaust survivors in their homes. These testimonies will be added to Yad Vashem’s Archives collections and available for viewing at the Visual Center at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

Contact: Estee Yaari / Foreign Media Liaison / Yad Vashem