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Shoah Foundation Commemorates 10 Years of Unprecedented Achievement

Visual History Archive Combats Intolerance Worldwide

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2004 PRNewswire/ -- After a decade of remarkable accomplishment, the mission of the Shoah Foundation is as urgent as ever.

Since 1994, the Shoah Foundation has not only amassed the largest collection of visual history testimonies in the world, but has shifted its focus to using these testimonies to educate young people about the dangers of bias and intolerance.

"At a moment in history when many of us around the world feel in danger of being overwhelmed by acts of fanaticism and intolerance, Holocaust survivors and other witnesses in the archive have an important and powerful message to share," said Douglas Greenberg, Shoah Foundation president and CEO. "When young people see the faces and hear the voices of men and women who suffered what the rest of us can only imagine, they make the connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives."

Steven Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation after filming Schindler's List, with the urgent goal of videotaping the testimonies of 50,000 Holocaust survivors and witnesses before it was too late. The archive now contains nearly 52,000 videotaped interviews collected in 56 countries and
recorded in 32 languages. Having gathered the collection by 2000, the Foundation then adopted a new mission to overcome prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry -- and the suffering they cause -- through the educational use of the Foundation's visual history testimonies.

Educational Outreach:

In the last three years, the Foundation advanced its mission by expanding its international educational outreach. The Shoah Foundation:

-- Established 33 visual history collections, ranging in size from
10-2,000 testimonies in 14 countries, and 9 US states.

-- Produced 10 documentaries that have been broadcast in 38 countries,
and subtitled into 19 languages.

-- Created 15 educational tools that are available in 11,000 schools
around the world, reaching 1.5 million students.

-- Screened documentaries in 40 countries for 100,000 students,
educators, and members of the general public.

-- Supported 50 teacher training workshops and other educational programs
for more than 1,000 teachers in 3 countries.

Plans for 2004:
Around the world, the Foundation hopes that people, particularly students, in each of the 56 countries where it collected testimony, will be able to see the face and hear the voice of a survivor or other witness, thereby learning that a more tolerant society is theirs to build. The Foundation will continue to offer outstanding educational products and documentaries, and will work to make visual history a reality, internationally, in classrooms, libraries, and museums. Plans for 2004 include:

-- Shoah Foundation Honored by Italian Senate -

On the Day of Memory, January 27, 2004, the Italian Senate honors the
Shoah Foundation. President and CEO Douglas Greenberg will attend a
ceremony commemorating the occasion together with President of the
Senate, Marcello Pera, and President Ciampi. The Day of Memory is the
official memorial day in Italy for recalling the tragedy of the Shoah.
Commemorative ceremonies are held in public institutions,
municipalities, schools, and universities all over the country.
Screenings of Shoah Foundation documentaries will be previewed both in
the morning and in the afternoon for students, teachers, and the
general public.

-- Giving Voice - a reality-based program for high schoolers -

Giving Voice, a reality-based program for high schoolers geared
towards helping schools teach about the consequences of racism and
violence will be distributed to schools throughout the US in March
2004. The product weaves together the first-person interviews of
Holocaust survivors and other witnesses with the testimonies of seven,
diverse teenagers, as they document their lives and record their
observations about intolerance and bigotry and their responses to
viewing survivor testimony. Giving Voice consists of three
components: a 30-minute reality-TV style short documentary, a reel of
testimonies from the Shoah Foundation archive, and a teacher's guide
with classroom activities that will tie the two videos together.
Through the generous support of Universal Studios Home Video, this
program will be available in March through Films for the Humanities &
Sciences at: www.films.com, or by contacting the Shoah Foundation at

-- New Website Launch -

In March 2004, the Foundation will launch a new website. The site
features an innovative video delivery system that provides a
video-enhanced online experience. It uses video vignettes to
demonstrate important aspects of the Foundation's work and includes
excerpts from survivor and witness testimonies. Online exhibits,
resources for teachers and students, and an archive search tool will
all utilize and highlight the visual history testimonies contained in
the archive. The site also includes an efficient, user-based
navigational structure to support online donations and provide
information about the organization.

-- Voices of the Holocaust: Children Speak - New Web Based Exhibit
Unveiled -

Voices of the Holocaust: Children Speak - an interactive
English-language web exhibit designed for American middle school
students, aged 11-14, will be launched on the Foundation's new
website. Narrated by Peter Coyote, Elijah Wood, and Natalie Portman,
Children Speak highlights testimonies from four survivors who were
children during the Holocaust, and allows students to interact with
the testimonies, while simultaneously exploring historical overviews,
archival film footage, a glossary, maps, and survivors' personal
photos. By using the web exhibit, students can participate in a
dynamic environment where they can explore themes of identity,
responsibility, and friendship guided by stories of survival and life
before, during, and after the Holocaust. A teacher's guide with
lesson plans for educators will also be available.

-- Indexing of English Language Testimonies Completed -

In order to permit users to navigate through the more than
117,000 hours of testimony, a team of historians, technology
professionals, software engineers, and experts in information
management developed the Shoah Foundation's cataloguing and indexing
systems. The Foundation has reached a milestone with the completion
of the English-language portion of indexing, nearly 25,000
testimonies. Now, the Foundation's bilingual staff has turned its
efforts toward completing the indexing in the other 31 languages.
Plans call for the entire archive to be indexed by the end of 2005.

-- Schindler's List Released on DVD -

Schindler's List releases on DVD for the first time on March 9, 2004.
The month of March release date coincides with the 10th anniversary of
the film's winning its seven Academy Awards at the ceremonies in 1994
and is also the 10th anniversary of the Shoah Foundation. The
Schindler's List DVD features additional materials that further
illuminate the film's powerful subject matter. A moving 77-minute
documentary entitled Voices From the List offers never-before-seen
testimonies from the Shoah Foundation archive of Schindler survivors,
as they recount their real-life experiences with the man who saved
their lives. The DVD also features The Shoah Foundation Story with
Steven Spielberg, a behind-the-scenes look at the work and
accomplishments of the Shoah Foundation.

-- Broken Silence International Film Series Debuts on DVD -

Universal Home Video will release the Shoah Foundation's Broken
Silence series of five foreign-language documentary films in
approximately 19 countries. The films were directed by distinguished
international directors in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Hungary,
Poland, and Russia. The films were produced by James Moll (director
of The Last Days). Each director worked with the Shoah Foundation,
researchers, and historians to build a documentary about the Holocaust
that would resonate most effectively in his own country, language, and
culture. Each film primarily includes testimonies from the Shoah
Foundation's archive and incorporates archival and modern footage,
still photographs, original music, and narration. They have been
broadcast in 18 countries worldwide.

-- Judisches Museum Berlin Visual History Collection Opens -

With funding from the Allianz Group and Judisches Museum Berlin, a
collection of more than 1,000 testimonies which were either given in
the German language or in Germany will be made available to the public
in the spring at the Museum. A bilingual (English and German)
searchable computerized tool containing biographical information about
the interviewees will accompany the DVD collection.

-- The Visual History Archive Accessible via Internet2 -

The Shoah Foundation received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the Library Services and
Technology Act to provide digitized Holocaust testimonies to
universities connected to Internet2, allowing the Foundation's archive
to be used by professors, researchers, students and the public.
Internet2, an international consortium of almost 200 domestic, and
150 international research institutions and universities, is a secure
fiber optic network that enables scholars, educators, and students to
explore the vast research potential of the Shoah Foundation's archive
from the convenience of their own campuses. An initial collaboration
with three universities -- University of Southern California, Rice
University, and Yale University allows exploration of how personal
narrative in the format of visual history testimony works as a vehicle
to facilitate learning at the university level.

Individuals interested in supporting the Shoah Foundation are encouraged
to call 818/777-4673 or write to PO Box 3168, Los Angeles, California, 90078-3168.

CONTACT: Janet Keller of Shoah Foundation, +1-818-777-4999, [email protected]

Web site: http://www.vhf.org/givingvoice

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2004 Entertainment Magazine On Line