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Published on Thursday, October 19, 2017


Founded by the film director Steven Spielberg in 1994, the Visual History Archive is a collection of testimonies recorded in order to preserve the words, faces, gestures and histories of genocide survivors. Digitized and indexed to the minute (with more than 62 000 keywords), the Visual History Archive is now reachable in full access in 66 universities and libraries in 14 countries. In France, it is fully accessible at the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention of the American University of Paris and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon. Now more than ever, scholars can search the Visual History Archive for research on the Second World War or on the other crimes of mass violence which have been more recently appended to the collection. The aim of this journée d’étude is to gather scholars from different disciplines who have carried out research on or with the Visual History Archive. Participants will have the opportunity to share their research results and experiences.


Program of the conference

Thursday October 26, 2017

14 :15 Arrival at the Maison de la Chimie, 28 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, room 269


  • Welcome Address: Brian Schiff, Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights, and Conflict Prevention, American University of Paris
  • Introduction by Stephen Smith, Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation: “The Future of Our Past: The Challenges and Opportunities of Video Testimony in an Evolving Digital Landscape”

15:30 break

  • 15:45 Keynote by Noah Shenker (Monash University): “Reframing Holocaust Testimony:  The Spaces within and beyond the Camera’s Frame”

16:35 break

17.00 Panel 1: Testimonies, Languages and Local Contexts

Chair: Judith Lindenberg (CRH-EHESS)

  • Robin Buller (University of North Carolina): “Communicating Survival: Language and Multilingualism in the Survivor Testimony of Salonican Jews”
  • Natalia Aleksiun (Touro College, New York): ”Intimate Histories of the Holocaust in Oral Testimonies from Eastern Galicia”
  • Evgeny Finkel (George Washington University): “Testimonies across Project, Language, and Space: The Visual History Archive in Comparative Perspective”

18:30 break

  • 18:45 Keynote by Christopher Browning (University of North Carolina): "Holocaust History and Survivor Testimony: The Case of the Starachowice Factory Slave Labor Camps"

Friday October 27, 2017

9:00 Arrival

  • 9:30 Keynote by Annette Wieviorka (SIRICE-CNRS-Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne): “Qu'est-ce qu'un témoin?”

10:20: break

10:30 Panel 2: The Visual History Archive, a Source for History and Memorial Projects

Chair: Laura Hobson Faure (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle -Paris 3)

  • Sonia Combe (CNRS /Centre Marc Bloch): “Le recours à la Visual History Archive pour explorer la pratique de l'échange de victimes dans le camp de Buchenwald”
  • Patrice Bensimon (Yahad – In Unum) : "La VHA comme source d'information dans le cadre des enquêtes menées sur la Shoah par balles par Yahad - In Unum"
  • Audrey Mallet (Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne/Concordia University): “La Visual History Archive, outil de recherche et plateforme de préservation”

12:00 lunch

13:45 Panel 3: Testifying in Time

Chair: Brian Schiff (American University of Paris)

  • Sharon Kangisser Cohen (Yad Vashem): “Early and Later Holocaust Survivor Testimony”
  • Bieke Van Camp (Université Paul-Valéry) : “Vers une homogénéisation des récits / expériences de la Shoah ?”

14:45 break

15:00 Panel 4: The Visual History Archive, Gender and Women Perspectives

Chair: Lissa Lincoln (American University of Paris)

  • Alina Bothe (Freie Universität Berlin): “Gender and the Visual History Archive”
  • Helene Sinnreich (University of Tennessee): “Mengele Selected Me and Other Stories We Are Taught to Doubt”

16:00 break

16:30 Final keynote by Jeffrey Shandler (Rutger’s University): “ ’And now I have to read in Jewish something’:  Yiddish Performances by Holocaust Survivors”

The entire conference will be translated into English and French


  • Maison de la Chimie, Room 269 - 28 rue Saint-Dominique
    Paris, France (75007)


  • Thursday, October 26, 2017
  • Friday, October 27, 2017


  • témoignage, vidéo, génocide, Shoah, sources primaires


  • Constance Paris de Bollardière
    courriel : cparisdebollardiere [at] aup [dot] edu

Information source

  • Constance Paris de Bollardière
    courriel : cparisdebollardiere [at] aup [dot] edu


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The Visual History Archive, Research Experience », Study days, Calenda, Published on Thursday, October 19, 2017, https://doi.org/10.58079/yl2

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