“This workshop is a special opportunity for students and teachers alike,” May says. “Each collection in the VHA adds context for the others, providing multiple pathways to learn from the eyewitnesses of history across time, locations, cultures and social-political circumstances.”
The VHA is based in USC’s Shoah Foundation and its Institute for Visual History and Education, the latter of which grew out of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, started by Steven Spielberg. “He was inspired by his encounters with Holocaust survivors during his on-location filming of ‘Schindler’s List,’” Wasylenko says.
Initially, the VHA database featured survivors of the Holocaust-era persecution of Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma/Sinti (Gypsies) and homosexuals, survivors of Nazi eugenics policies, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, concentration camp liberators and participants of war crimes trials.
Much of the interviewing was done in consultation with historians, psychologists, and experts in the field of oral history. VHA staff has since trained thousands of interviewers, and has recruited more than a hundred regional coordinators.
“I want to increase our visibility … and get more researchers from more disciplines to show all the things that can be done [with testimony],” says the French-born Garrigou-Kempton, who also has worked for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Additional support for the workshop comes from the Holocaust and Genocide Education program in the School of Education; the Department of History in the Maxwell School, in conjunction with the Documentary Film and History Program in the Newhouse School; and the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics in A&S.
Organized and presented by the Humanities Center, Syracuse Symposium is a public humanities series that revolves around an annual theme. Programs include lectures, workshops, performances, exhibits, films and readings. Located in the Tolley Humanities Building, the Humanities Center serves the campus community by cultivating diverse forms of scholarship, sponsoring a broad range of programming and partnerships, and addressing enduring questions and pressing social issues.