November 29, 2006

Berlin university to open video archive on Holocaust survivors

Berlin's Free University is to allow access to a giant video archive containing thousands of interviews with Holocaust survivors, the university said on Saturday. Starting early December it will permit students, teachers and researchers direct online access to the information stored in the databank of the University of Southern California (USC). The archive contains 120,000 hours of interviews with 52,000 Holocaust survivors videotaped by movie director Steven Spielberg after filming Schindler's List in 1993. The film tells the story of German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who employed 1,200 Jews from wartime occupied Poland and the Czech Republicin his factories, thus saving them from the gas chambers. Spielberg launched his Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994 to preserve the testimony of the survivors for future generations. The project is now part of USC. The film material has since been digitalized and the testimony by men and women from 57 countries who are speaking 32 languages has been linked with keywords.