In 1994, after filming Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation with an urgent mission: to chronicle, before it is too late, the firsthand accounts of Holocaust survivors and eyewitnesses, liberators and rescuers.
Recording more than 50,000 unedited testimonies, the largest undertaking of its kind, the Shoah Foundation launched its mission to create a multimedia Archive to be used as an educational and research tool. The Archive is comprised of 200,000-plus videotapes filled with more than 100,000 hours of testimony. To watch the collection straight through in its entirety would now take about 13 years and six months.
The ongoing process of cataloguing each testimony, moment by moment, will give end-users extensive access to the Archive. Technology developed by the Shoah Foundation allows researchers, educators, students, and others to search through the tens of thousands of hours of testimony, creating access to specific information contained within the Archive, for:
- inclusion in repositories and universities worldwide
- video enhancements for museum exhibits
- creation of interactive, traveling exhibits
- development of curricula, including educational CD-ROMs and study guides
- use in documentaries
- coordination of local and regional videotape libraries, internationally
With the world’s largest collection of digitized video testimonies, the Foundation is developing new and innovative ways of disseminating this information to promote tolerance and understanding worldwide.
The dream of making this Archive a reality was made possible by the people throughout the world who dedicated themselves to this common goal. Professionals, among whom include a culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse group from a variety of backgrounds — more than 3,500 interviewers, 1,000 videographers, 4,000 volunteers, 2,000 community leaders and individuals, and 240 staff members worldwide — have brought with them their collective knowledge, expertise, and experiences.
Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation is promoting mutual understanding and respect among all races, by enabling people worldwide to see history through the accounts of tens of thousands of individuals who endured and survived the Holocaust.
The Shoah Foundation wishes to congratulate everyone who worked on the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Last Days.