Wisconsin Historical Society archivists interviewed 22 Holocaust survivors and two American witnesses between 1974 and 1981. These oral histories are now available digitally and in their entirety for the first time, uncensored and unfiltered.
Category Archives: Holocaust testimonies
Here you can watch the full-length testimony of 12 men and women who had diverse experiences during the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda. These videotaped eyewitness accounts are part of the Institutes’ collection of nearly 52,000 testimonies.
During the 1930s and 40s, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered six million Jews. Hitler’s intention was to destroy all Jewish communities, and to build a ‘master race’ of Aryans. Many other ‘non-aryans’ were persecuted including Romanies, homosexuals, and the disabled, as well as those who were politically opposed to the Nazis. This terrible moment in history is now known as the Holocaust. It remains one of the most horrific examples in recent European history of indifference, inhumanity, prejudice and genocide.
Voices of the Holocaust consists of oral history testimonies gathered from Jewish men and women who came to live in Britain during or after WWII. These testimonies are personal, individual, true stories, that describe the hardships of life during Hitler’s reign.
Further interviews with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust can be found on the Archival Sound Recordings website.
Click here to access this site.
In 1979, a grassroots organization, the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, began videotaping Holocaust survivors and witnesses in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1981, the original collection of testimonies was deposited at Yale University, and the Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies opened its doors to the public the following year. Since then, the Archive has worked to record, collect, and preserve Holocaust witness testimonies, and to make its collection available to researchers, educators, and the general public.
The Archive currently holds more than 4,400 testimonies, which are comprised of over 10,000 recorded hours of videotape. Testimonies are produced in cooperation with 37 affiliated projects across North America, South America, Europe, and Israel, and each project maintains a duplicate collection of locally recorded videotapes.
The Archive and its affiliates continue to record the testimonies of willing individuals with first-hand experience of the Nazi persecutions, including those in hiding, survivors, bystanders, resistants, and liberators. Testimonies are recorded in whatever language the witness prefers, and range in length from one-half hour to over 40 hours (recorded over several sessions).
The Archive’s interviewing methodology stresses the leadership role of the witness in structuring and telling his or her own story. Questions are primarily used to ascertain time and place, or elicit additional information about topics already mentioned, with an emphasis on open-ended questions that give the initiative to the witness. The witnesses are the experts in their own life story, and the interviewers are there to listen, to learn, and to clarify.
This site, called Bearing Witness, tells the story of the first efforts some twenty years ago to videotape Holocaust survivors recollecting their experiences. On their own initiative and without any outside support, Laurel Vlock and Dr. Dori Laub taped the testimonies of four survivors. From this inconspicuous beginning, which revolutionized the act of witnessing by providing “demeanor evidence,” arose such projects as the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University and the Shoah Visual History Foundation. The essay presented here tells how Ms. Vlock and Dr. Laub came to their collaboration. Further, it explores the unique contributions that have been made to our understanding of this horrific episode in world history by courageous individuals who have come forward to tell their stories.
This site give access to many of David P. Boder’s recordings of interviews he conducted with Holocaust survivors.
In 1946, Dr. David P. Boder, a psychology professor from Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, traveled to Europe to record the stories of Holocaust survivors in their own words. Over a period of three months, he visited refugee camps in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, carrying a wire recorder and 200 spools of steel wire, upon which he was able to record over 90 hours of first-hand testimony. These recordings represent the earliest known oral histories of the Holocaust, which are available through this online archive. (from the site)
The site gives a wide range of useful background contextualisation to the project as well. Extremely valuable resource.