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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 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (1994), Armenian Genocide (1915-23), European Holocaust (1939-45), Guatemalan Genocide (1978-96), and the Nanjing Massacre (1937).   The largest digital collection of its kind in the world,  the VHA is an unedited, personal narrative of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s experience with genocide.

Images from the Visual History Archive .

USC Shoah Foundation Collection Partners

European Holocaust, 1939-1945

  • USC Shoah Foundation--51,438
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) Holocaust Center--912
  • Florida Holocaust Museum--25
  • Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus--25
  • Holocaust Museum Houston--272
  • Canadian Collections--1,232

                Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives--64
                Calgary Jewish Federation--10
                Concordia University Centre for Oral History--30
                Freeman Family Foundation--52
                Jewish Archives of Edmonton & Northern Alberta--15
                Living Testimonies, McGill University--103
                Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre--549
                Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre--406
                Ottawa Jewish Archives--3

Armenian Genocide, 1915-1923

  • Armenian Film Foundation--333
  • USC Shoah Foundation--1

Nanjing Massacre, 1937

  • USC Shoah Foundation--30

Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, 1994

  • Kigali Genocide Memorial--70
  • USC Shoah Foundation--15
  • Holocaust Museum Houston--1

Guatemalan Genocide, 1978-1996

  • Fundación de Antropologia Forense de Guatemala (FAFG)--9
  • USC Shoah Foundation--1

Cambodian Genocide, 1975-1979

  • USC Shoah Foundation--5

updated 25 January 2017

About the Collection

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

  • 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (1994) with the following experience groups: elder, Hutu power opponent, rescuer, Tutsi survivor, victim's spouse;
  • Armenian Genocide (1915-23) with the following experience groups:  Armenian survivor, descendant, foreign witness, rescuer and aid provider, scholar, Yezidi survivor, and miscellaneous; 
  • European Holocaust (1939-45) with the following experience groups:  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;
  • Guatemalan Genocide (1978-96) with the following experience groups: Guatemalan Genocide survivor; and
  • Nanjing Massacre (1937) with the following experience groups: Nanjing Massacre survivor.

The Visual History Archive is a fully streaming primary source that includes:

  • Almost 54,000 video testimonies at an average of two hours each
  • Roughly 115,000 hours of film (equal to 13 years’ continuous streaming content)
  • Over 900 German transcripts
  • Almost 64,000 index terms in English, applied at the one-minute segment
  • Over 712,000 images (photographs, documents, works of art, artifacts from war, etc.)
  • Filmed in 63 countries
  • Testimonies given in over 40 languages
  • 1.85 Million names of family members and prominent figures
  • Roughly 49,000 locations referenced
  • 2,500 recitations of literary works (poems, letters, diaries)
  • Over 2,100 musical recitals
  • 2,300 interviewers
  • 1,000 videographers