(New York, NY) – Known as the global home of Jewish Genealogy, JewishGen.org, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and housed on site at the Museum, has launched a new partnership to integrate an index of data from nearly 50,000 Jewish Holocaust survivor testimonies found in USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive.
“JewishGen seeks to connect researchers with family information, while educating them about the history, culture and values that defined the lives of our ancestors,” says JewishGen’s Executive Director Avraham Groll. “As a result of this new partnership, invaluable genealogical information will be made accessible to the Jewish genealogical community, and a critical sense of communal memory will be preserved and transmitted to future generations.”
The biographical data is discoverable via more than 250,000 possible names and aliases — which in turn contain information on more than 600,000 additional relatives identified in survivor questionnaires. Data provided in the interviews contains potentially valuable sources of genealogical and family information, with details that can include: Name, Place of Birth, Date of Birth, Relationship to Interviewee, If individual survived the Holocaust, Place of Death, and Date of Death.
“We tend to forget that the Holocaust was not only the murder of Jewish people, but the attempt at total erasure of their names, their places of birth and death,” said Stephen Smith, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director at USC Shoah Foundation. “We have partnered with JewishGen to help families researching their histories to fill the void, reclaim their names and their pasts. Just to see a document with their name on a list, can help restore them back to humanity.”
All individuals listed in the database link back to USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive portal. More than 4,000 of these interviews are viewable in video format via the internet, while the remaining links lead to biographical pages that may contain slideshows of photos, maps, or additional information essential to those searching for relatives, tracing their lineage, or studying the Holocaust.
“JewishGen is one of the ways we continue to remember and to educate,” says the Museum’s President & CEO Jack Kliger. “It is how we reaffirm Jewish life and its value, by committing to uncover each name and committing to return each name to its proper context: the years, the place, and the family to which it belonged.”
JewishGen offers archival collections, resources, and historical information at no charge to the community. The index to the Visual History Archive records can be freely accessed via the JewishGen Holocaust database (https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/).
About the Visual History Archive
USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive® (VHA) is the largest digital collection of its kind in the world. Currently encompassing 115,000 hours of video testimony, the archive is an invaluable resource for humanity, with nearly every testimony containing a complete personal history of life before, during, and after the interviewee’s firsthand experience with genocide. The Visual History Archive is digitized, fully searchable, and hyperlinked to the minute. This indexing allows students, professors, researchers, and others around the world to retrieve entire testimonies or search for specific sections within testimonies through a set of 65,600 keywords and key phrases, 1.95 million names, and 719,000 images.
Initially a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Visual History Archive has expanded to include testimonies from the Armenian Genocide that coincided with World War I, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979, the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-1983, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, and the ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, and anti-Rohingya mass violence. It also includes testimonies about contemporary acts of violence against Jews.
About USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education develops empathy, understanding and respect through testimony, using its Visual History Archive of more than 55,000 video testimonies, award-winning IWitness education program, and the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive programming, research and materials are accessed in museums and universities, cited by government leaders and NGOs, and taught in classrooms around the world. Now in its third decade, USC Shoah Foundation reaches millions of people on six continents from its home at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California.
JewishGen.org, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust family, serves as the global home for Jewish genealogy. Featuring an online archival collection containing millions of historical records, a community of hundreds of thousands of people, and an extensive knowledge center of unparalleled scope, JewishGen continues to focus on its core mission of preserving Jewish family history and heritage for future generations.
About the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of more than 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.
Currently on view is the acclaimed exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. This is the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America, bringing together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world.
Also on view are Ordinary Treasures: Highlights from the Museum of Jewish Heritage Collection and Rendering Witness: Holocaust-Era Art as Testimony.
The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.
For more information, visit mjhnyc.org.