Visual History Archive (VHA)

Rutgers Restricted

Off-campus users will be prompted to log in

Connection note

A one-time registration, separate from any Rutgers accounts, is required, and it allows users to save searches and projects. The e-mail address registered need not be on the Rutgers domain.

Alternate title

USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive

Browser required

Windows users who use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later can access the system without having to install any other software. However, Firefox users will need to install the Windows Media Player plug-in on their system in order to view the videos and slide shows.

Macintosh users must be running OS X version 10.4 or higher and have Quicktime 7 or newer installed as well as the Flip4Mac WMV Components for Quicktime. They must also have Safari 3 or higher.

Plugins required

Flip4Mac, QuickTime, Windows Media Player


The USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive contains nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages (without subtitles) from 56 countries. The Institute interviewed Jewish survivors (49,400 out of the total) and other persons with experience of the Holocaust. Each interview consists of a single witness speaking about his or her life before, during, and after World War II, guided by questions from a trained interviewer. The interviews average two and a half hours in length, including a display of materials, such as photos, supplied by the interviewee that are explained by him or her. All names (1.5 million total) and place names mentioned in the testimonies (cross-listed with variant name forms) are linked in the search engine to segments (a minute in length) in individual testimonies that can then be viewed. Users can also select from a pick-list of subject headings (keywords) to select testimony segments for retrieval, filter their searches by language, gender, and experience group, and create their own sub-collection of testimonies called projects. Biographical searches can be limited by the name, gender, and the date, city, and country of birth of the interviewee as well as by the state and country in which the interview was held and the language and length of the interview.

The freely available Visual History Archive Online provides the same search capabilities. Users who don't have access from off campus can use this search tool to save viewing time while they're on campus by going directly to the interviews that interest them.

Click here to reserve testimonies needed for your project so that they cannot be removed from the cache. Roughly 5% of all testimonies are available immediately, and any of the others can be requested through the database for viewing within 48 hours.


The database contains its own Help pages with FAQs at

Dates covered

The period 1939-45 is the chief focus, but interviews typically begin and end ten or more years before and after the war.

Updating frequency

Database is complete.


52,000 original testimonies conducted by 2300 trained interviewers in more than 50 countries.

Type of coverage

Video, locally cached by the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences.

Print counterpart or
related resources


Producer/content provider

USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

Vendor/electronic presentation provider

USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education

Core Subject(s)