Visual History Archive.
Extent and Medium
51,696 interviews (over 105,000 hours of video) at the time of writing.
Scope and Content
This important collection contains testimonies of Jewish survivors, rescuers, political prisoners, war crimes trial participants, Roma survivors, … etc. about their life before, during and after the Shoah. It is a crucial source for the history of the Holocaust. On average, the interviews are about 2 hours in length. At the time of writing, the geographical keyword “Belgium” was attributed to 2136 testimonies. 433 Belgian towns, cities and places are mentioned. The interviews provide information on all aspects of Jewish life in Belgium – political, religious, social and cultural life, youth movements, immigration, the living conditions of refugees, pre-war anti-Semitism, integration and assimilation in Belgian society, the outbreak of the Second World War, the first anti-Jewish laws, the Association des Juifs en Belgique, internment in and deportation from the Dossin-barracks in Malines, life in the concentration and death camps, the return to Belgium and reconstruction of the Jewish communities, emigration and aliyah, … Furthermore, there are biographical profiles for every interviewee, available via the online database.
The database Visual History Archive Online serves as the main finding aid – see http://vhaonline.usc.edu . Several searching methods are available (free text, index terms, names, geographical keywords, …). All the biographical profiles and ca. 95% of the interviews have been indexed.
The EHRI project, in cooperation with the National Archives of Belgium, selected Holocaust-relevant archival descriptions from the finding aid G. DESMET & P. FALEK-ALHADEFF, P.-A. TALLIER (dir.), Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België (19de-20ste eeuw) - Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique (19e-20e siècles), Brussel, Algemeen Rijksarchief, 2015. Please note that this guide focuses on Belgium-related archival materials in the respective descriptions.