Visual History Archive (VHA)

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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

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The USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive contains 53,000 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-collections 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.

VHA includes over 100 video testimonies on the Rwanda Tutsi Genocide, the Nanjing Massacre, and the Armenian Genocide. 

Searchable transcripts in German are being added for the German language testimonies.

The ProQuest Search in Bio Profile and ProQuest Search in Segment options display results related to the current testimony from ProQuest databases to which Rutgers subscribes.

The freely available Visual History Archive Online provides the same search capabilities. Metadata is available for all testimonies, but the full video is displayed for only 1600 testimonies.  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.


The database contains its own Help pages with FAQs.

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 largely complete, with occasional additions and enhancements.


53,000 original testimonies conducted by 2,300 trained interviewers in more than 50 countries, plus additional testimonies from other projects .

Type of coverage


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 in partnership with ProQuest

Core Subject(s)