With testimonials from nineteen countries, the collection reflects a broad range of Nazi-occupied Europe. Testimonies include survivors that are Jewish, Roma and Sinti, Jehovah Witnesses and political prisoners; resistors and rescuers; and liberators who served in the armed forces. You do not need to be part of the Yale community or affiliated with an academic institution to access the collection, which is now a significant resource to researchers around the world. The archive marks its 40th anniversary this year with yearlong events through November of 2019. In 1979, a grassroots organization, the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, began videotaping Holocaust survivors and witnesses in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1981, the original collection of testimonies was donated to Yale University. The Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, part of the Yale University Library, opened its doors to the public the following year. Since then, the Fortunoff Archive has worked to record, collect, and preserve Holocaust witness testimonies, and to make its collection available to researchers, educators, and the general public.
“The thing that has been clear to me, that the ideas that fed Nazi Germany and their allies to commit genocide, these ideas didn’t go away entirely. At most they hibernated. They went under the surface. We need to remain vigilant. We have to fight these battles again and again. It’s never over,” said the Archive’s Director Stephen Naron to the New Haven Register.
For more information about the event series, visit fortunoff.library.yale.edu/events.