BY MAGALY GRIMALDO
Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 1, 2005
The University has followed the lead of the University of Southern California, Rice University and Yale in creating a partnership with The Survivors of Shoah Foundation, providing the University access to the 52,000 interviews of Holocaust survivors and witnesses the foundation has in its archives.
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“The University decided to be part of the partnership after it found out about the project and database. Funding for the partnership came from the library’s budget, and we spent the last year working with the foundation to bring this to campus,” Director of Arts and Engineering Libraries Mike Miller said.
The archive can be accessed through the University’s libraries and can be used as a resource for research. These video recordings can be used in different disciplines, from history to psychology.
“It’s a tremendous resource for teaching because students can access this information from their computers. This site could also be used as a search engine to find specific information regarding the Holocaust, ” Director of Judaic Studies Todd Endelman said.
Endelman also said that students could use this resource in language classes since the interviews are recorded in the native language of the survivors, covering 32 languages.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg established the Survivors of Shoah Foundation after the filming of “Schindler’s List” in 1994. Holocaust survivors approached Spielberg and offered to share their stories.
After collecting funds, Spielberg began the foundation by sending interviewers to collect testimonies from 56 countries around the world. When the video recordings came together, the foundation worked on transferring the recordings onto a digital library system with a 400-terabyte-storage capacity.
“It is by far the largest Holocaust record that has ever been collected. The significance of these records is their size and the way they are indexed,” RC Lecturer Henry Greenspan said.
Shoah’s media and relations manager, Janet Keller, said that one of the foundation’s goals is to “have our testimonies used as an educational source.”
“Through grants from the National Science Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Library Services and Technology Act, the Shoah Foundation is currently providing high-speed digital access over Internet2 to the University of Southern California, Rice University and Yale University,” Keller said.