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USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive: Description of the Archive

Content description

Interviews were conducted in the following countries, among others:  Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belerus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People's Republic of China, Peru, Poland, Portuagal , Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe
Among the main subjects discussed in the interviews are geographical locations, prominent figures, names of family members and other people, prewar Jewish life, religious practice, cultural life, acts of persecution and prejudice, camps and ghettos, deportations, massacres, means of adaptation or survival, resistance, rescue and aid efforts, and postwar emigration and immigration.
Thousands of geographic locations are referred to in the testimonies, primarily relating to the European countries that were part of the Axis powers or under Nazi occupation during World War II – Germany, Poland, USSR (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan), Latvia, Lithuania, Czecholslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia – as well as unoccupied Allied and neutral nations including British Mandate Palestine and Israel, United States, United Kindom, Australia, and countries of South America, Asia and Africa.
As more testimonies from genocides other than the Holocaust are added, the range of subject will increase.
Supporting materials: In most interviews, photographs, documents, and artifacts pertaining to the interviewee’s family and wartime experiences are displayed at the end of the interview. Literary and musical works performed and often composed by the interviewees themselves are included in some interviews; original works of art are also displayed on camera. Walking tours, in which a portion of the interview is conducted in the open air at sites such as former concentration camps, ghettos, mass graves, or prewar family homes, are a feature of some interviews.

Interviewees grouped by experience

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive comprises interviews with individuals with a wide range of experiences, and as the number and variety of testimonies grow so to will the experience represented.  The best compilation of current experience groups held in the VHA is available here.
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