UPenn to Host Access to Shoah Archive of Testimonies

In partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) will host access to the Institute’s entire Visual History Archive – nearly 52,000 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust in 32 languages and from 56 countries.

Penn’s partnership with the Shoah Foundation Institute is supported by the joint efforts of the Annenberg School for Communication, Penn Libraries and Penn’s Division of Information Systems and Computing.

“This partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and USC’s Shoah Foundation Institute provides an unparalleled resource for scholarly exploration across many disciplines, and I am proud we are able to offer the Philadelphia community access to the entire collection,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “I have seen and experienced first-hand the impact that these personal testimonies can have. They are a poignant reminder that we must stand together against hatred and intolerance of any kind.”

“Survivors’ memories are the authoritative source for information on the Holocaust, and the value of audiovisual testimony to other areas of research has been demonstrated at universities around the world where the Institute’s Visual History Archive has enhanced 275 academic courses in a wide range of disciplines,” Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, said. “By partnering with the Institute to bring the Visual History Archive to Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania has demonstrated its commitment to scholarship guided by the highest humanitarian principles.”

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute was established in 1994 by film producer/director Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve these testimonies, and the Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world. It has a long history in Philadelphia where its regional office was based and where the training of local residents as interviewers and videographers was coordinated. More than 600 testimonies were taken in Pennsylvania.