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USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive: About the Visual History Archive

Introduction to and description of USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive

USC Shoah Foundation--The Institute for Visual History and Education

For over twenty years, USC Shoah Foundation has given voice to the witnesses of genocide for education and action. The Visual History Archive was established to house testimonies of genocide survivors who have given a complete personal history of life before, during and after their first-hand experience with genocide. It is one of the largest digital collections of its kind in the world, fully searchable via indexed keywords, and hyperlinked to the minute.

The Visual History Archive initially made accessible audiovisual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust against the Jews (1939-1945), in which nearly six million individuals perished, and of parallel exterminations and massacres carried out by the German Nazi régime and its collaborators. The Visual History Archive continues compiling these eyewitness accounts while engaging in preserving narratives from other genocidal events before and after the European Holocaust.

The USC Shoah Foundation website offers detailed information and updates on the Visual History Archive.

More about the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive

Facts and statistics for the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive at a glance:

  • 53,000 testimonies
  • 111,000 hours of video testimony
  • 628,000 accessible images
  • 1.3 million searchable names
  • 62,000 keywords and phrases
  • 900 German-language transcripts for video testimonies in German
  • Complete life histories (before, during, after) in most narratives
  • Fully searchable; hyperlinks updated continually in real time


More about the background image and KL Natzweiler-Struthof

Alsace, France : " Le Struthof - KL Natzweiler " camp de concentration by Vincent Desjardins. Used in accordance with Creative Commons license 2.0 guidelines.  Image was set to greyscale.  Original is color.

Konzentrationslager Natzweiler-Struthof was a relatively small concentration camp established in Alsace by the Nazis in April 1941. Along with a network of satellite camps in Germany and France, it served primarily the Nazi slave labor régime in various German industries. Many of the prisoners were members of the French Resistance.

Some 22,000 of a total 52,000 prisoners under KL-Natzweiler control--in the main and satellite camps--perished.

A small gas chamber near the main camp conducted lethal experiments on selected inmates. In August 1943 86 Jewish prisoners from Auschwitz were killed there so their skeletons could be furnished to the anatomy institute in the Nazi-controlled University of Strasbourg.

A web site describing the camp in detail is at and is available in multiple languages.

The background photograph as modified underscores the sinister environment of the camp, which was constructed on a hillside in the Vosges that is frequently exposed to fog and chill and contributed to the illness of many inmates.

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