Archive of Spielberg’s Schindler’s List consisting of 52,000 interviews about Holocaust transferred from U.S. to Poland

Archive of Spielberg's Schindler's List consisting of 52,000 interviews about Holocaust transferred from U.S. to Poland

Photo story (From left to right): (1) Influential filmmaker Steven Spielberg photographed on 3rd October, 2013 (2) In Spielberg’s epic historical film ‘Schindler’s List’ based on the true events of Holocaust, Schindler sees the little girl in red coat and later found her dead with other dead bodies on a wagon. In the black & white film, the red coat of the girl was seen in color, according to Spielberg the scene had the symbolic meaning that the US Government did nothing to stop the Germans despite knowing that holocaust was happening.

American film maker, producer, screenwriter, director and business magnet Steven Spielberg is considered one of the most influential and popular film makers in the history of film industry. His 1993 film Schindler’s List that won seven academy awards is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. Shindler’s list was based on the true story of a German Nazi party member who saved the lives of 1,100 Jews from Holocaust putting his own life at risk. The movie was also a huge commercial success and in 1994, with its profit Spielberg set up the non-profit Shoah or Holocaust Foundation that archives filmed testimony of the survivors of Holocaust. Online edition of Israel’s oldest news paper, Haaretz reported that the Spielberg’s Schindler’s list archives in Dozens of boxes filled with 52,000 filmed testimonies of holocaust survivors in 57 countries were transferred from California, U.S. to the History Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland on 20th October, 2013.

Most of the testimonies were collected from the United States. The testimonies tell about the life and death situation of the holocaust and also the lives of the Jews, ethnic Roma or Romani people, the homosexuals and Hitler’s political opponents during the WWII.

During the communist rule in Poland the communist leader and de facto leader of the country from 1945-1948 and 1956-1970, Wladyslaw Gomulka, incited anti Semitic campaigns, called the Jews a ‘fifth column’ and forced an exodus of Jews in 1968 which is also another part of the Jewish history in Poland. Most of the Polish Jews had to go to Israel then.

It was estimated that 120,000 hours would be required to digitalize and sort the archives. So the sorting team at the museum would select and convert only the significant historical testimonies. For teachers and students, the museums educational coordinator will be preparing instruction plans in the first stage. Tad Taube, American businessman and founder of Taube Foundation for the Jewish Life and Culture, donated the sophisticated servers to store the digitized testimony.

Spielberg’s Shoah Visual History foundation was transferred to University of Southern California on 20th September, 2005 and the archive is officially known now as USC Shoah Visual History & Education Foundation Institute.


Video story: Speilberg speaks about Shoah or Holocaust Foundations

Most part of the movie Schindler’s List was filmed in Krakow, Poland where Spielberg met numerous Holocaust survivors and their testimonies inspired him to establish the Shoah foundation. The ending scenes from the movie Schindler’s List showed that the Jewish workers whom Oskar Schindler had saved gave him a ring which was engraved with the Talmudic quote, ‘He who saves one life saves the entire world’.

Mohammad Rafi Saad

Mohammad Rafi Saad is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE