Visual History Archive: Videos of Holocaust Survivors Testimonies

After dedicating myself to discovering and disclosing facts about the Jewish Holocaust and other acts of genocide around the globe, I thought I had seen it all. Well, Shoah Visual History Archive had a sobering surprise in store for me, which I thought I would share with you. The archive refers to itself as an invaluable resource for humanity, and I agree. But why?

First of all, let me start by telling you that Shoah is currently handling the demanding task of digitizing testimonies from a genocide that took place in Armenia over a century ago. Already, 60 of the 400 testimonies recorded with the help of Shoah, Armenian Film Foundation, and Dr. J. Michael Hagopian and his wife are already part of the archive.

A year earlier, the collection had added a dozen testimonies with regard to 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China to its ever-growing collection. Further back, in April 2013, Shoah had made 60 testimonies about the 1994 Rwandan genocide part of its archive. In fact, it was at around this time that Shoah began making other genocides, besides the Jewish Holocaust, part of its collection.

Basically, the organization's broad collection of materials are intimate personal accounts of people before, during, and after undergoing these devastating atrocities. The archive has well over 50,000 videos made with the help of holocaust survivors.

Initially, Shoah meant to help the world remember and learn from Jewish holocaust, something which obviously interests me given my Jewish ancestry. However, I am also happy to know that the collection now recognizes other cases of genocide.

This, I believe, adds lots of contextual depth to the archive, and helps us see that holocaust and genocides are detestable in all their forms. It does not matter where it where it happens, when it happens, whatever the reasons it happened, or the cultural or the social status of those it affected - genocide is to be condemned for the extensive damage it causes to its victims. 

As a matter of fact, the testimonies are now available in 39 languages after being collected from 63 countries – and that's remarkable! Scientists, survivors, and institutions around the world are working with Shoah to make an all-inclusive Shoah Visual History Archive a reality, which is laudable.