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June 2, 2011 2:18 pm

New ‘Youtube’ for Holocaust Survivors To Launch

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Most Survivors are in their late 80s and 90s, it's only a matter of time before we will no longer be able to hear their stories from their mouths. Photo: Steve Meyer.

Their voices were quelled 70 years ago as they fought for survival. Now, a new innovative project is putting the mike in their hands and making the world their audience.

Survivorstories.org will host hundreds of Holocaust survivor’s tales, in their own words through interviews conducted by professional documentarians and family members. Individuals can also upload their own stories or link homemade videos to the website. The initiative is unique less for its content, (there is an abundance of Holocaust materials,) than for its presentation. The creators intend the site to be a living testament to survival as well as an interactive experience for visitors.

“In New York City there are 4,500 Holocaust survivors alive today,” explains Sheva Tauby, co-director of Ivolunteer, a Holocaust-survivor visitation program, and the designer of this site. “Most of them are in their late 80s and 90s, it’s only a matter of time before we will no longer be able to hear their stories from their mouths. Today’s technology will enable survivors to share their stories, representing endless opportunities for inspiration for a global audience.”

While the interviews will cover the War years, the site aims to share a broader view of the Holocaust’s ramifications. Survivors will be encouraged to speak about their lives, communities, and families before 1939 and their rebuilding following 1945. The creators will incorporate full indexation and search tools, so that visitors can view all the survivors from Hungary for instance, or all the women who spent the War in Ravensbruck.

“When people hear about the Holocaust, they think it’s something terrible, but they can’t really do anything about it,” says Tauby. “But they can. They can be a part of this program and give survivors their voice.”

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