First Countrywide Access to Visual History Archives of Holocaust, Oct. 7 Survivor Testimonies

First Countrywide Access to Visual History Archives of Holocaust, Oct. 7 Survivor Testimonies

The USC Shoah Foundation has partnered with the National Library of Israel to provide Israelis with the first countrywide access to the Institute’s entire Visual History Archive, including testimonies from more than 52,000 Holocaust survivors and hundreds of survivors of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

USC Shoah Foundation Finci-Viterbi Executive Director Chair Dr. Robert J. Williams and National Library of Israel Chairman Sallai Meridor announced the exclusive partnership during a March 4 signing event at the new National Library of Israel building in Jerusalem. As part of the agreement, the USC Shoah Foundation created a customized page on the NLI website allowing anyone with an Israeli IP address to search, stream and download testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust and other antisemitic attacks here.

While the entire Visual History Archive is accessible at 180 universities and museums around the world, the partnership with NLI makes Israel the only country where full access is available nationwide.

“The work of the USC Shoah Foundation with the National Library of Israel is a strong sign of what is possible when major institutions work in partnership in ways that elevate each other’s missions. Together, we are creating a resource that not only helps inform the global struggle against antisemitism, but one that also builds awareness and understanding of the Jewish people,” said Dr. Williams, who serves as UNESCO Chair on Antisemitism and Holocaust Research and Advisor to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. “It is vitally important that all our testimonies are available in Israel, where nearly half of the world’s remaining Holocaust survivors and the vast majority of Oct. 7 survivors live. The USC Shoah Foundation’s archive contains uniquely powerful sources that inform education, research and awareness-raising initiatives that bring people and societies face-to-face with the human beings who survived the world’s oldest hatred. By giving scholars, educators and the wider public additional access to these testimonies through the National Library of Israel, we are helping connect the past with the present in ways that can secure a better future for Israel and the wider international community.”

"The National Library of Israel is the keeper of national memory for the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” NLI Chairman Meridor said. “This outstanding agreement will deepen the understanding of Israelis of all backgrounds and faiths as to the horrors of the Shoah and its lessons, to humanity's nadirs and zeniths, from the lowest levels of cruelty, brutality and malice to the highest points of resilience, faith and courage. We invite all users of the National Library website to watch and witness these testimonies, and hope fervently that our resolute pledge of 'Never Again' will continue to guide generations to come."

The March 4 National Library of Israel event kicked off the USC Shoah Foundation’s four-day Israel Solidarity Mission designed to foster collaboration in the fight against antisemitism. The mission also includes meetings with Israel President Isaac Herzog, a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and conversations with Oct. 7 survivors and hostage families, as well as visits to sites of Oct. 7 mass atrocities in southern Israel.

Over the past five months, the USC Shoah Foundation has gathered more than 400 testimonies of Oct. 7 survivors and eyewitnesses. The National Library of Israel, which opened its new building in the shadow of the war on Oct. 29, will serve as a central repository cataloging October 7 testimonies collected by the USC Shoah Foundation and other organizations.

“Our collective work will represent the most comprehensive archival effort to chronicle antisemitic violence,” Dr. Williams said. “Researchers and storytellers – now and in the future – can turn to these archives as an irrefutable, publicly available resource to rely on in the ongoing fight against antisemitism.”