Videotaped Witness Testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation Institute's Visual History Archive as Educational Resource
Jakub Mlynář, Charles University, Prague - Faculty of Mathematics and Physics - Malach Visual History Centre, Czech Republic
Martin Šmok, University of Southern California - Shoah Foundation Institute, United States
Documents to download
Witness testimonies are unsubstitutable and very important addition to the classic lessons of history and other subjects in primary and secondary education. The testimony allows a personalization of the „great history“, students can easily identify with a specific person and his/her experience, and it brings emotions into the educational process, which demonstrably improves its efficiency. However, the day will come, that there will be no more witnesses alive for certain historical events. It is thus necessary to explore and create new alternatives, that could – at least partially – substitute the presence of an eye-witness in the future classroom. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive is a unique collection of almost 52 000 testimonies of the Holocaust survivors and witnesses, conducted in 56 countries and 32 languages during the late 90's (over 1 000 interviews are in Czech and Slovak language). The Visual History Archive provides complex tools for users to identify whole testimonies of relevance, as well as specific segments within testimonies that relate to their area of interest. Prague is currently one of five European cities with full access to the on-line licensed archive content from the Malach Visual History Centre at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University. Real-time work with the archive is a valuable part of educational process as well, developing student's independence and critical thinking in context. This is a main purpose of the new educational portal IWitness, which is also going to be presented at the conference.
Author's professional CV
Postgradual sociology student at the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University in Prague. His interests in the social sciences have always been wide and not focused on one specific area of study. Since early 2010, he is working in Malach Visual History Center at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University as a coordinator. Among his other current professional interests are the specifics of audiovisual autobiographic material and its value for sociology and educational praxis. In this context, he is also exploring the broader theoretical background in the topics of time, (collective) memory and remembering in the social sciences and humanities.