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Visual History Archive: About

Visual History Archive Overview

The Visual History Archive (VHA) is a fully streaming video collection of primary source testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide, including: the Holocaust; Armenian Genocide; Nanjing Massacre; and Rwandan Tutsi Genocide. The largest digital collection of its kind in the world, with interviews conducted throughout 63 countries and ~40 languages, the VHA is unedited, personal narrative of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s experience with genocide.

A standard methodological approach was applied to each interview, the result of which is 112,000 hours of total film, fully indexed—with over 62,000 keywords at the one-minute segment level—and Boolean-searchable. The majority of the video testimonies expound on the Holocaust, including such experience groups such as: Jewish survivors; rescuers and aid providers; Sinti and Roma survivors; liberators; political prisoners; Jehovah’s Witness survivors; war crimes trial participants; eugenic policies survivors; non-Jewish forced laborers; and homosexual survivors.

The video archive also contains over 700,000 images, 1.8 million names, 2500 recitations of literary works, and 2100 musical recitals. To date, 54 academic research institutions and museums throughout the world provide full access to the entire archive, with nearly 500 total university courses using the Visual History Archive; 211 institutions in 34 countries provide a smaller set of the content.

 USC Shoah Foundation Collection Partners providing additional testimonies:

  • Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda – Aegis Trust
  • Armenian Genocide – Armenian Film Foundation
  • Nanjing Massacre – Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
  • Guatemalan Genocide – FAFG
  • Cambodian Genocide – Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam)
  • Preserving the Legacy:
    • Jewish Family and Children Services (JFCS) of San Francisco
    • Canadian Collection
    • Florida Holocaust Museum
    • Holocaust Museum Houston

About the Collection

The Visual History Archive contains interviews with witnesses of mass violence including:

  • 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda
  • Armenian Genocide
  • European Holocaust
  • Guatemalan Genocide
  • Nanjing Massacre

Within each one are the following interviewee experience groups:

  • 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda:  elder, Hutu power opponent, rescuer, Tutsi survivor, victim's spouse.
  • Armenian Genocide: Armenian survivor, descendant, foreign witness, rescuer and aid provider, scholar, Yezidi survivor, and miscellaneous.  
  • European Holocaust:  Eugenic policies survivor, homosexual survivor, Jehovah's Witness survivor, Jewish survivor, liberator, Non-Jewish forced laborer, political prisoner, rescuer and aid provider, Sinti and Roma survivor, War Crimes Trial participant, and miscellaneous.
  • Guatemala Genocide:  Guatemalan Genocide survivor.
  • Nanjing Massacre:  Nanjing Massacre survivor.

The archive includes:

- 54,000+ recorded testimonies, resulting in 112,000 hours of video
- 63 countries and 40+ languages
- 62,000+  keywords (indexed at the minute level)
- 1.8 million names
- 700,000+ images