“Every Survivor has a Story to Tell.” Introducing IWitness & its 1000 Stories

Jan. 21, 2012

Source: School Library Journal Blog


Joyce Valenza reviews the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation's recently launched BETA version of a searchable, interactive archive of more than 1000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. IWitness allows secondary teachers to host these moving, personal voices as guests in their classrooms, to assign them for study, to use them as creative inspiration.

Visitors to the archive may simply click on thumbnails, search with suggested match support, or browse by 56 selected topics, which include: liberation, bystanders, ethics, faith, family, education, camps, ghetto life and resistance. The site offers a downloadable thesaurus of keywords to promote effective searching. Videos display in thumbnail with brief mouse-over descriptions and are accompanied with biographical information about the speakers and links to related articles from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia. Teachers and students may register to join the IWitness community to view the full-length video testimonies. The site comes packed with images, glossaries, timelines, bibliographies, and other resources to support understanding of the videos.

IWitness provides access to an online tool that enables visitors to learn firsthand from survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, giving them the opportunity to enrich their understanding of how this historical event had an impact on individual lives.

From the IWitness "About" page:

  • You can watch testimony and learn about the full life stories of men and women who survived and witnessed the Holocaust.
  • Build your own video projects using IWitness’s built-in online video editor.
  • You can search for video testimony and photos that can add to your classroom projects and presentations in IWitness.
  • The built-in encyclopedia and glossary are great sources for better understanding the testimonies and the history reflected in IWitness.
  • Along the way, you will learn important digital media skills, including searching and ethical remixing, that will prepare you for becoming a digital citizen in the 21st century.

Read the entire review at The School Library Journal Blog

Updated: Jan. 25, 2012