New: Virtual History Archive (USC Shoah Foundation)

I am very pleased to announce that thanks to a generous donation of Ms Cecilia Chan to the University China Centre, Oxford researchers now have access to the Virtual History Archive (USC Shoah Foundation) until 30 September 2019.

The resource can be accessed from Databases A-Z and soon also via SOLO.

Visual History Archive® is USC Shoah Foundation’s online portal that allows users to search through and view more than 55,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. Initially, and still overwhelmingly, a repository of Holocaust testimony, the Archive has expanded significantly to include survivor and witness testimony from four other genocidal events the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923), the Nanjing Massacre (1937), the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda (1994), the Guatemalan Genocide (1978-1996), as well as more recent testimonies relating to the Anti-Rohingya Mass Violence (August-October 2017).

This very rich resource can be searched and browsed in various ways. There are indexes for themes and names. Places can be found, using a zoomable map, for geographical locations as well as types of locations (e.g. concentration camps, refugee camps). The interviews have been indexed to quite a deep level. Even if you don’t have any names of individuals you can locate testimonies by browsing by experience:

As this resource provides access to a huge amount of oral history material, you will need to make sure that you can listen to sound, and, if you are using it in a library, please use head- or earphones.

Also useful:

  • Jewish survivors of the Holocaust A freely available collection of 186 life story interviews and oral testimonies from Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and their children in the British Library. Includes audio files and transcripts collected between 1987 and 2000. This resource documents the moving testimonies of Jewish immigrants to Britain, many of whom survived Nazi concentration camps. Over 440 hours of life story recordings explore personal experiences of persecution across war-torn Europe and the impact of the Holocaust, covering anti-semitism before the Second World War; ghettos and concentration camps; resistance and liberation; searching for family in the aftermath; building a new life in Britain and the legacy of the Holocaust.
  • Post War Europe (Archives Unbound) [Oxford researchers only]: An online archive of primary sources for the study and understanding of the challenges facing the European peoples in the aftermath of World War II, it covers the politics and administration of the refugee crisis in Europe after World War II as well as the day-to-day survival of the refugees themselves. The selection of materials is based on holdings in the National Archives and the Wiener Library, London, and includes documents and letters in the original language. The archive includes the working papers of Rose Henriques from 1945-1950, which comprises perhaps the most complete record of the effort to improve the lives of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and Displaced Persons in the British Zone of Occupation. It also includes papers of the Jewish Committee for Relief Abroad (JCRA), the Jewish Relief Units (JRUs) and copious documentation on other aspects of the Jewish refugee situation in the period 1945 to 1950.This resource is relevant to those studying World War II, Holocaust and Jewish studies, post-war history of Germany, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy.
  • To find secondary readings on the Holocaust, use the following subject searches in SOLO: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945).

New online guide to oral history resources

Interested in oral history? Visit our new online guide to oral history resources at http://ox.libguides.com/oralhistory

This newly launched LibGuide provides an introduction to the subject and acts as a portal to oral history resources available online.

Browse by topic, location or date

Browse by topic, location or date

The introductory pages provide links to advice on the use and conduct of oral history.  They also highlight some key resources for beginning your research in the field and for staying up-to-date with new developments.

At the centrepiece of the guide is an extensive set of links to over 150 British and Irish oral history resources available online, both through dedicated oral history project websites and digitised archival holdings.  The resources are each accompanied by a summary description of their subject and content, and can be browsed by title, decade, location or topic.

The resources featured are extremely wide-ranging, from a collection of interviews with British diplomats (BDOHP), to a record of  post-war British theatre, a study of migration in Ulster during the 1970s (VMR), and an exploration of the former jobbing system of the London Stock Exchange.

All the websites featured in the LibGuide have also been added to the Bodleian History Faculty Library’s Delicious page and are fully searchable by keyword.

Related Links

New database: Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation

Oxford users now have access to Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation. The collection of oral history is relevant to those studying post-1945 history, military and diplomatic history, international relations, and conflict & conciliation.

Cold War: Voices of Confrontation and Conciliation (via Archives Unbound)

Source Library: Private Collection of Jim Thebaut (6,000 pages)
For almost fifty years, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in the Cold War. This global stalemate emerged after both nations had been allies against Hitler during World War II. This collection of oral histories from the “behind-the-scenes” decision and policy makers helps research a wide range of questions surrounding this long period of political and military tension.

Covers c 1950s-1990s

List of interviewees include: Georgy Arbatov, Valentin Berezhkov, Robert Gates, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, and many others.

Related sources:

Declassified Documents Reference System

Provides online access to over 500,000 pages of previously classified government documents. Covering major international events from the Cold War to the Vietnam War and beyond, this single source enables users to locate key information underpinning studies in international relations, American studies, United States foreign and domestic policy studies, journalism and more.

Digital National Security Archive

A comprehensive collection of significant primary documents central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945. Over 60,000 of the most important, declassified documents – totaling more than 450,000 pages – are included in the database. Many are published now for the first time. Includes Henry Kissinger telephone recordings.