Narratives and Testimonies
We, along with the University of Minnesota libraries, are repositories for Holocaust survivor testimonies as well as testimonies from other conflicts. The collection includes oral testimonies of Minnesota survivors both on audio and video, as well as access to the 52,000 testimonies through the USC Shoah Foundation Video History Archive.
Oral History Collection: Minnesota Survivors
After the Holocaust, Minnesota became home to many Holocaust survivors. Many of these survivors graciously shared their time and testimony in hopes of preventing future atrocities and to help future generations understand the Holocaust. Several of these survivors spoke on the behalf of us and gave permission for both educators and scholars to use their personal stories, photos, artifacts, and recordings of various speaking engagements to teach and research the Holocaust.
The Voice to Vision collaborative project captures the extraordinary experiences of genocide survivors from different parts of the world. The stories of the survivors are first shared through dialogue, and then transformed into works of visual art that display painting, drawing, collage, and mixed media.
At the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 13 Minnesotan Holocaust survivors were interviewed in June, 1982. The interviews were in conjunction with a summer teacher's workshop taught by the founding director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stephen Feinstein. The complete video collection is available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).
As a part of a Holocaust oral history project sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Anti-Defamation League of Minnesota and the Dakotas, Rhoda Lewin interviewed Holocaust survivors, liberators, and witnesses living in Minnesota. The project was later published as Witnesses to the Holocaust: an oral history by Twayne Publishers in 1990. All 60 audio interviews are available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).
The University of Minnesota Libraries subscribe to the Visual History Archive (VHA) which was developed by the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education. The VHA is the largest visual history archive in the world as it includes a collection of nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries. The institute interviewed Jewish survivors, homosexual survivors, Jehovah's Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti survivors (Gypsy), survivors of Eugenics policies, as well as war crimes trial participants.
All students, faculty, and staff at the University of Minnesota have web-based access to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s VHA. The general public can also access the archive using computer workstations on the University of Minnesota campus. For more information regarding the University’s licensing agreement with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute contact Susan Gangl, the Library Liaison for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.