The interview and research project “ArchivedMemory. Interviews with Survivors of the Shoah” was carried out from 1995 to 1997 as an international cooperation between the Moses Mendelssohn Center for European-Jewish Studies and the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies (Yale University). It was funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.
The interviews were conducted by an interdisciplinary team based on the different focuses of the two institutions. The interviewers came primarily from the university sector, including history and literature research as well as Jewish studies and the field of therapeutic work. The project was led by the then directors of both institutions, Prof. Dr. Julius H. Schoeps and Prof. Dr. Geoffrey H. Hartman. Mainly in 1995 and 1996, 78 Jewish witnesses living in the Berlin-Brandenburg region were interviewed on camera for the “ArchivedMemory” project. Thematically, the project covers a period from the 19th century through the Nazi era, but the witnesses also talk about their life in the GDR. The project was coordinated by Dr. Cathy Gelbin and Eva Lezzi.
The complete and uncut collection of “ArchivedMemory” can be researched through Yale University's platform which also provides access to the full interviews after registration: https://fortunoff.aviaryplatform.com/collections/1468.
It is also possible to view the videos at the library of the Moses Mendelssohn Center and at the Berlin memorial Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz.
In many cases, “ArchivedMemory” can provide insights into the history of the Shoah. In addition, it can also serve to analyze Jewish-German history in the Berlin-Brandenburg region in general.
From the beginning, the pedagogical use of the interviews in schools, adult education and universities was an integral part of the conception of “ArchivedMemory.” For this purpose, six exemplary interviews were edited to a length of half an hour each. We would like to thank all the interview partners and especially those who made their interviews available for the present teaching materials.
Dr. Irene Diekmann, Dr. Cathy Gelbin and Eva Lezzi (all Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum) and Dr. Michael Kaden (Medienpädagogisches Zentrum des Landes Brandenburgs) were responsible for the overall conception of the video edition. Ulrike Hemberger and Rainer Hällfritzsch were responsible for the editing and artistic realization of the edition.
Together with the video edition for educational use, a scholarly volume was published. This volume contains analyses of some of the interviews selected for the teaching materials, as well as an annotated catalog with biographical information on the interview partners and an index of keywords and locations.