The JFCS Holocaust Center’s Oral History Project has recorded and continues to preserve detailed oral histories with survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust. Interviewees include people who lived through concentration camps and forced labor, those who survived in hiding or under false papers, as well as rescuers, liberators, émigrés or refugees, and other witnesses who lived under the Nazi regime.
To date, the Tauber Holocaust Library oral history archive consists of over 2,000 audio and video testimonies with accompanying documents, transcriptions and informational materials such as photographs and letters. These interviews record for posterity a complete picture of the realities of the Holocaust as experienced by individuals living in a multitude of European countries occupied by Nazi Germany.
The JFCS video testimonies have recently been digitized by the USC Shoah Foundation and can soon be viewed at the Tauber Holocaust Library in that format. Additionally, they are now available through the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, at subscribing libraries and research institutions.
Oral history is the systematic collection of living people’s testimony about their own experiences. Historians and others have finally recognized that the personal memories of everyday people– not just those of the rich and famous– have historical importance.
Holocaust testimonials present textured and individual understanding of one person’s experience of living under Nazi rule. These interviews reveal the scope and impact of Nazism on ordinary people and the personal, social, and historical context in which these events took place.
Excerpts from interviews with camp survivors, children who survived in hiding, liberators, and individuals involved in acts of rescue and resistance are available on this site. If you are interested in accessing other interviews, our archives are available to individuals. You can contact us at HolocaustCenter@jfcs.org.
The Tauber Holocaust Library encourages educators, scholars, students and the general public to utilize the oral history archives. The collection can be used as research material for a broad range of studies, including psychology, sociology, political science, immigrant studies, genealogical studies, European history, Jewish history and Holocaust analysis. Accessing a testimony is easy. To schedule an appointment call 415-449-3748 or email YedidaK@jfcs.org. Our guidelines for use can be found here.
The Oral History Project is supported by Koret Foundation, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, as well as Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, Jerry Rosenstein, Leonie Darwin z’l, Lydia and Doug Shorenstein, Eda and Joe Pell, Susan Lowenberg and Joyce Newstat, Jo Ann and George Schapiro, the MZ Foundation, Barbara and Richard Rosenberg, and the many individuals who support the JFCS Holocaust Center.