Shoah Foundation's 10 years of Unprecedented Achievements
Visual History Archive Combats Intolerance Worldwide
Los Angeles, CA - After a decade of remarkable accomplishment, the mission of the Shoah Foundation is as urgent as ever. Since 1994, the Shoah Foundation has not only amassed the largest collection of visual history testimonies in the world, but has shifted its focus to using these testimonies to educate young people about the dangers of bias and intolerance.
"At a moment in history when many of us around the world feel in danger of being overwhelmed by acts of fanaticism and intolerance, Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in the archive have an important and powerful message to share," said Douglas Greenberg, Shoah Foundation president and CEO. "When young people see the faces and hear the voices of men and women who suffered what the rest of us can only imagine, they make the connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives."
Steven Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation after filming Schindler's List, with the urgent goal of videotaping the testimonies of 50,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses before it was too late. The archive now contains nearly 52,000 videotaped interviews collected in 56 countries and recorded in 32 languages. Having gathered the collection by 2000, the Foundation then adopted a new mission to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry - and the suffering they cause - through the educational use of the Foundation's visual history testimonies.
In the last three years, the Foundation advanced its mission by expanding its international educational outreach. The Shoah Foundation:
- Established 33 visual history collections, ranging in size from 10-2,000 testimonies in 14 countries, and 9 U.S states.
- Produced 10 documentaries that have been broadcast in 38 countries, and subtitled into 19 languages.
- Created 15 educational tools that are available in 11,000 schools around the world, reaching 1.5 million students.
- Screened documentaries in 40 countries for 100,000 students, educators, and members of the general public.
- Supported 50 teacher training workshops and other educational programs for more than 1,000 teachers in 3 countries.
Plans for 2004:
Around the world, the Foundation hopes that people, particularly students, in each of the 56 countries where it collected testimony, will be able to see the face and hear the voice of a survivor or other witness, thereby learning that a more tolerant society is theirs to build. The Foundation will continue to offer outstanding educational products and documentaries, and will work to make visual history a reality, internationally, in classrooms, libraries, and museums.
Plans for 2004 include:
- Shoah Foundation Honored by Italian Senate - On the Day of Memory, January 27, 2004, the Italian Senate honors the Shoah Foundation. President and CEO Douglas Greenberg will attend a ceremony commemorating the occasion together with President of the Senate, Marcello Pera, and President Ciampi. The Day of Memory is the official memorial day in Italy for recalling the tragedy of the Shoah. Commemorative ceremonies are held in public institutions, municipalities, schools, and universities all over the country. Screenings of Shoah Foundation documentaries will be previewed both in the morning and in the afternoon for students, teachers, and the general public.
- Giving Voice - a reality-based program for high schoolers - Giving Voice, a reality-based program for high schoolers geared towards helping schools teach about the consequences of racism and violence will be distributed to schools throughout the US in March 2004. The product weaves together the first-person interviews of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses with the testimonies of seven, diverse teenagers, as they document their lives and record their observations about intolerance and bigotry and their responses to viewing survivor testimony. Giving Voice consists of three components: a 30-minute reality-TV style short documentary, a reel of testimonies from the Shoah Foundation archive, and a teacher's guide with classroom activities that will tie the two videos together. Through the generous support of Universal Studios Home Video, this program will be available in March through Films for the Humanities & Sciences at: wwwfilms.com, or by contacting the Shoah Foundation at www.vhf.org/givingvoice.
- New Website Launch - In March 2004, the Foundation will launch a new website. The site features an innovative video delivery system that provides a video-enhanced online experience. It uses video vignettes to demonstrate important aspects of the Foundation's work and includes excerpts from survivor and witness testimonies. Online exhibits, resources for teachers and students, and an archive search tool will utilize and highlight the visual history testimonies contained in the archive. The site also includes an efficient, user-�based navigational structure to support online donations and provide information about the organization.
- Voices of the Holocaust: Children Speak - New Web Based Exhibit Unveiled - Voices of the Holocaust: Children Speak - an interactive English-language web exhibit designed for American middle school students, aged 11-14, will be launched on the Foundation's new website. Narrated by Peter Coyote, Elijah Wood, and Natalie Portman, Children Speak highlights testimonies from four survivors who were children during the Holocaust, and allows students to interact with the testimonies, while simultaneously exploring historical overviews, archival film footage, a glossary, maps, and survivors' personal photos. By using the web exhibit, students can participate in a dynamic environment where they can explore themes of identity, responsibility, and friendship guided by stories of survival and life before, during, and after the Holocaust. A teacher's guide with lesson plans for educators will also be available.
- Indexing of English Language Testimonies Completed - In order to permit users to navigate through more than 117,000 hours of testimony, a team of historians, technology professionals, software engineers, and experts in information management developed the Shoah Foundation's cataloguing and indexing systems. The Foundation has reached a milestone with the completion of the English-language portion of indexing, nearly 25,000 testimonies. Now, the Foundation's bilingual staff has turned its efforts toward completing the indexing in the other 31 languages. Plans call for the entire archive to be indexed by the end of 2005.
- Schindler's List Released on DVD - Schindler's List releases on DVD for the first time on March 9, 2004. The March release date coincides with the anniversary of the film's winning its seven Academy Awards at the ceremonies in 1994 and is also the 10th anniversary of the Shoah Foundation. The Schindler's List DVD features additional materials that further illuminate the film's powerful subject matter. A moving 77-minute documentary entitled Voices From the List offers never-before-seen testimonies from the Shoah Foundation archive of Schindler survivors, as they recount their real-life experiences with the man who saved their lives. The DVD also features The Shoah Foundation Story with Steven Spielberg, a behind-the-scenes look at the work and accomplishments of the Shoah Foundation.
- Broken Silence International Film Series Debuts on DVD - Universal Home Video will release the Shoah Foundation's Broken Silence series of five foreign-language documentary films in approximately 19 countries. The films were directed by distinguished international directors in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Russia. The films were produced by James Moll (director of The Last Days). Each director worked with the Shoah Foundation, researchers, and historians to build a documentary about the Holocaust that would resonate most effectively in his own country, language, and culture. Each film primarily includes testimonies from the Shoah Foundation's archive and incorporates archival and modern footage, still photographs, original music, and narration. They have been broadcast in 18 countries worldwide.
P.O. Box 3168, Los Angeles, CA 90078-3168. Tel: (818) 777-7802, Fax: (818) 866-0312.
Return to Culture ArchivesBack to Top