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Drexel Collaborates with USC Shoah Foundation for Access to Visual History Archives

September 12, 2013

USC student accessing the Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive
A USC student listens to a testimony in the Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive. The archive contains 52,000 testimonies from survivors of the holocaust and other genocides.

Drexel University is now the second collegiate site in Pennsylvania with access to the USC Shoah Foundation's entire Visual History Archive of nearly 52,000 testimonies of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides.

The announcement was made by Executive Director Stephen D. Smith and the Board of Councilors of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary Benefit Screening of Steven Spielberg’s epic film Schindler’s List, commemorating both the film’s release and the establishment of the USC Shoah Foundation. The event was held Thursday, Sept. 12 at the newly-reopened Prince Music Theater and featured special guest Liam Neeson, who starred as German industrialist Oskar Schindler in the film.

“We are delighted to welcome Drexel University as the 45th site worldwide to have full access to the Visual History Archive,” said Smith. “The testimonies will support scholarship and research for Drexel students and faculty across their wide range of academic disciplines. The USC Shoah Foundation is looking forward to Drexel’s contributions to our shared mission of educating the next generation ”

Stephen A. Cozen, longstanding member of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Board of Councilors and Founder and chairman of noted international law firm Cozen O’Connor, who, with Smith made the announcement at the event, said, “As one of the finest academic institutions in the country, Drexel brings honor to the group of archive sites across the globe. On behalf of the USC Shoah Foundation we look forward to a successful collaborative relationship that will help us continue to grow and increase our impact on future generations through education and such educational initiatives as IWitness.”

Established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation's Institute for Visual History and Education maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world with nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 33 languages and from 57 countries, and is now expanding its collection to include testimonies from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide, and fundraising to add collections from the Armenian and Cambodian genocides.

“I am delighted that the USC Shoah Foundation has chosen Drexel to share the Visual History Archive, and excited that our mission of advancing knowledge and society will include connecting our community and all of Greater Philadelphia to this unique resource,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “Eyewitness testimonies like these, and the scholarship they inspire, can be powerful tools in the quest to overcome intolerance.”

The Shoah Foundation has a long history in Philadelphia where its regional office was based and helped coordinate the training of local residents as interviewers and videographers.  More than 600 testimonies were taken in Pennsylvania. Additionally, more than 900 teachers across Pennsylvania – and over 12,000 nationally – have been trained on Echoes and Reflections, a multimedia curriculum developed by the Institute and partners the Anti-Defamation League and Yad Vashem.

About the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audiovisual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of nearly 52,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to disseminate the testimonies for educational purposes. For more information, visit the Institute’s website,

Media inquiries about the Shoah Foundation should be directed to Anne Marie Stein at 213-740-6036 or

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