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University of Haifa given access to USC Shoah Foundation Institute archive

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute preserves thousands of testimonies from Holocaust survivors. (Photo/Courtesy of USC Shoah Foundation Institute)

The University of Haifa has become the first university in Israel with access to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive, a searchable repository of nearly 52,000 video interviews with Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.

“New scholarship based on eyewitness testimony is essential to a deeper record of the Holocaust and the world that existed before it and to a better understanding of its individual and social consequences,” USC Shoah Foundation Institute Executive Director Stephen Smith said. “The Visual History Archive is an unparalleled resource for such scholarship, and the audiovisual nature and broad scope of its content make it relevant to many other fields of study as well. We’re thrilled to see the University of Haifa host the archive in Israel.”

The University of Haifa plans to integrate the Visual History Archive into its new international master’s program in Holocaust studies, a multidisciplinary program of courses on the history of the Holocaust, social psychology, the anthropology of trauma, interview methodology and the methodology of testimony analysis, genocide and international law, among other topics.

“There will be substantial usage of the testimonies throughout all the classes offered by the program, and students will be encouraged to make use of the testimonies for their research and thesis papers,” said Professor Arieh Kochavi, head of The Strochlitz Institute for Holocaust Research. “The use of the archive will enrich the program in a very unique way, by attaching specific faces and concrete names to the historical knowledge the students will gain.”

Funding for Visual History Archive access at the University of Haifa is provided by Lee Liberman, the university’s vice chair of the Board of Governors. Liberman is also a member of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Board of Councilors. The institute is part of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

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