11th Hour Campaign to Record Survivor Testimonies

A survivor being interviewed for a Yad Vashem Video Testimony, Israel A survivor being interviewed for a Yad Vashem Video Testimony, Israel

The generation that witnessed the Holocaust is aging and its numbers are rapidly dwindling: In order to collect significant additional Holocaust survivor testimonies, we are in a race against time. And thus, in order to preserve the historical memory of the Holocaust, it is incumbent upon us to act quickly to record the personal accounts of those who have yet to tell their story. The Testimonies section began its work in 1946, even before Yad Vashem was established as a national institution. Over the years the department has collected some 44,000 testimonies of survivors. In the first years, the testimony (given for the most part in languages other than Hebrew) was transcribed; at a later stage testimony was recorded on reel-to-reel machines, yet later audio recordings were made and today the testimonies are videotaped.

In response to the demand among Shoah survivors in Israel to record their personal stories, Yad Vashem has promised to undertake an urgent 11th hour campaign to videotape testimonies in survivors’ homes. Thus we will be able to honor the survivors and provide an opportunity for them to leave behind their first-hand legacy.

Each recorded testimony costs US$850. A donation of $18,000 will allow us to visit more than 20 survivors in their homes and videotape their testimony. Yad Vashem is looking for partners in this most important and urgent initiative, before time runs out.