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Visual History Archive from the Shoah Foundation Institute

Guide to using the Visual History Archive from the Shoah Foundation Institute at the Northwestern University Library.

Introduction to the Visual History Archive

The University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute was started by Stephen Spielberg in 1994 to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The Visual History Archive includes 52,000 interviews with Holocaust survivors from 56 countries in 32 languages. In addition the archive has expanded to include testimonies from the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide, testimonies of the Armenian Genocide that coincided with World War I, and the Guatamalan Genocide of 1978-1996.  Also being added are collections of Holocaust testimonies recorded and owned by other organizations, such as  Jewish Family and Children's Services (JFCS) Holocaust Center, and a consortium of 9 Canadian archives which represent the Canadian Jewish experience across Canada.

Please see Basic Search Tips for tips on getting started searching this database.

The interviews can be viewed via streamed video inside of the Northwestern University Library. Members of the Northwestern community can access other resources and links on this website from off campus. To access these resources from off campus Northwestern users must log into the VPN and exproxy. Members of the public are welcome to use this resource but will need to visit the Northwestern library in person to gain access. Please see access details for more information.


Go to the database


Headphones will be necessary to listen to the audio component of the resources in the Visual History Archive. Headphones are available from the Research and Learning Services work group. To request headphones please contact Please feel free to bring your own headphones if you prefer.