Sounds of survivors go online

By Simon Rocker, January 29, 2009

The British Library has put its complete collection of oral testimonies of Shoah survivors online.

Over 440 hours of interviews with 66 people recorded by the library’s sound archive can now be publicly accessed.

Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust covers refugees who escaped Nazi Germany pre-war, and those who survived in hiding or endured the camps.

Rob Perks, curator of oral history at the archive, said: “These oral testimonies personalise the enormity of the Holocaust in a very direct and human way, emphasising the variety and complexity of individual experience.

“These individuals are survivors of whole communities that were often destroyed by the Holocaust, but they have lived lives since the war. They are a cross-section of the many hundreds of survivor accounts that we hold in the library’s oral history collection.”

Extracts from some of the testimonies were released by the library six years ago as part of a web resource on the Holocaust for secondary schools.

They are drawn from a larger oral history programme, The Living Memory of the Jewish Community, consisting of 186 interviews with survivors and their children, compiled between 1987 and 2000. The library’s sound archive also holds other survivor testimony as well as oral Jewish history collections.

To access the archive:

Last updated: 3:19pm, January 29 2009