Between 1994 and 1999, the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation -- now the USC Shoah Foundation -- The Institute for Visual History and Education -- interviewed nearly 52,000 survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The Institute interviewed Jewish survivors, homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, survivors of Eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants. In 2013, the Visual History Archive expanded to include testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide.
The complete archive of these testimonies, which were videotaped in 57 countries and in 33 languages, is now available to Brown students, faculty, and staff for on campus use. Enter » Visual History Archive.
Using the Visual History Archive
The VHA database offers testimonies for streaming through a local cache server at Brown. Because the testimonies need to be downloaded to the local cache server, they are available to view on campus only. If a testimony you need is not readily viewable on our cache server, it can be requested and uploaded within 48 hours.
VHA testimonies are also searchable through the VHA Online website. VHA Online is a freely available resource that can be used from anywhere in the world as a means of identifying testimonies found within the VHA database. While VHA Online also provides streaming access to a few English language testimonies, it contains only the metadata for the majority of the 52,000 testimonies encompassed within the VHA database and functions as a searchable index to the VHA database. Users seeking access to non-English language testimonies and others not streamed through VHA Online will need to download testimonies to the Brown cache server for viewing.
The Archive is accessed using Windows Vista, 7, and 8 with Google Chrome or Internet Explorer 9 or above. (There is a known issue with Firefox that has yet to be resolved).
Mac OSX 10.6 or above and iOS with Safari 5.1.1 or above, or Google Chrome (Firefox is not currently compatible on Macs with the new files).
The Shoah Foundation Institute has prepared several guides to aid users in finding what they are looking for in the collection. The VHA User Manual provides basic information on how the archive is organized, how to search and navigate, how to request download of selected interviews, and similar practical advice. Answers to many typical user questions about the VHA are addressed in the FAQ, and you may wish to consult this page before opening the User Manual (a 62 page pdf document). The VHA Thesaurus is designed to assist users by providing information on subject keywords and index terms used in describing the interviews, and is useful both for finding appropriate terms to use in searching and for identifying interviews that address particular research topics.
» VHA User Manual (pdf - opens in new window)
» VHA FAQ (opens in new window)
» VHA Online (opens in new window)
» VHA Thesaurus (pdf - opens in new window)