Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler's List and the USC Shoah Foundation

Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler's List and the USC Shoah Foundation

by Steven Spielberg, The Shoah Foundation
     
 

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Schindler's List was a success by any Hollywood measure and far surpassed all expectations for a black-and-white film about the Holocaust. Released in 1993, it won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is ranked ninth in the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest American Movies. But its legacy is a far more enduring one. As

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Overview

Schindler's List was a success by any Hollywood measure and far surpassed all expectations for a black-and-white film about the Holocaust. Released in 1993, it won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is ranked ninth in the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest American Movies. But its legacy is a far more enduring one. As director Steven Spielberg says, "The film was to be the prelude to the most important work of my life." Spielberg's encounters with Holocaust survivors who came to the filmmakers' location in Poland and told him their stories set him on a mission to collect and preserve survivor testimonies so that these eyewitnesses could become teachers of humanity for generations to come. This twentieth-anniversary commemorative book presents, for the first time, the behind-the-scenes stories of the making of Schindler's List and the creation of the Shoah Foundation, the remarkable organization that Spielberg established twenty years ago.

Drawing from the Universal Pictures archives and exclusive interviews, Part One portrays the filmmaking in dramatic black-and-white photographs that echo the film's acclaimed cinematography; in excerpts from the script and the Thomas Keneally novel; and in the words of the cast and crew, including Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Spielberg.

Part Two relates how the Shoah Foundation, in its first four years, raced against time to videotape nearly 52,000 testimonies in 56 countries and 32 languages, while Holocaust survivors and witnesses were still alive to be interviewed. The book also describes in fascinating detail how this worldwide network of dedicated people used pioneering methods and state-of-the-art technologies to collect, index, and preserve the video recordings. With its Visual History Archive digitized, fully searchable, and hyperlinked to the minute, the foundation then developed countless ways to share the testimonies with the world, especially young people. Since joining the University of Southern California in 2006 and renamed the USC Shoah Foundation—The Institute for Visual History and Education, it expanded its educational initiatives as well as its mission, which is now collecting and preserving testimonies from the Armenian, Cambodian, and Rwandan genocides, as well as the Nanjing Massacre.

The ultimate lesson of Schindler's List, and of the USC Shoah Foundation story, is rooted in the deeds of Oskar Schindler, who never planned on becoming a household name for heroism but acted out of his humanity to protect his Jewish workers. As Spielberg writes in his introduction, "One person can change the world, and that person is you."

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-06
The story behind the making of Schindler's List and the development of a foundation dedicated to sharing Holocaust testimonies. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the foundation and the film, this commemorative work is divided into two sections. After an introduction from Steven Spielberg, the first part recounts the process of making Schindler's List. The material in this section is wide-ranging and includes an account of the maturation process of Spielberg's directorial ability, the chance encounter that sparked the book behind the movie, certain cinematographic techniques utilized in the film and the experience of having Holocaust survivors visiting the movie set in Poland. The Schindlerjuden, "Schindler Jews," interacting with the cast and crew inspired Spielberg to initiate the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which works from the premise that the "last act of genocide is always denial and silence"; the foundation collects and catalogs oral histories of the Holocaust. The second part of the book discusses the process of building, developing and expanding this foundation. Initially, Spielberg aimed for narratives from 50,000 Holocaust survivors and rescue-worker witnesses. However, once that goal was reached and exceeded, the foundation used these testimonies in their production of documentaries. More recently, this foundation, which grew out of a desire to ensure that the Holocaust will never happen again, expanded into collecting accounts from the Armenian, Rwandan and Cambodian genocides. With the connection to USC, these eyewitness stories serve as educational tools that will elicit the strong emotive response necessary for the prevention of future attempts at genocide. This general history of the film and the foundation has a promotional feel as it also discusses exciting new technological directions for the foundation. An informative coffee table book for film buffs and those interested in Jewish history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062285195
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
46 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Steven Spielberg (Introduction)
The renowned director and producer of Schindler's List has also directed, among other acclaimed films, Lincoln, War Horse, Saving Private Ryan, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Amistad, and Jaws. He established the Shoah Foundation in 1994, inspired by his experience while filming Schindler's List.


Stephen D. Smith (Preface)
The executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, Smith is one of the world's foremost experts on genocide prevention and the inaugural holder of the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education at USC. His books include Forgotten Places: The Holocaust and the Remnants of Destruction and The Holocaust and the Christian World.

The USC Shoah Foundation—The Institute for Visual History and Education
In its first decade, the Shoah Foundation accomplished its worldwide project of interviewing nearly 52,000 survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, and making their tes-timonies widely available for scholarship and education. Now part of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive (VHA) currently encompasses 107,000 hours of video testimonies, and is an invaluable resource for education, research, and scholarship. Through innovative online tools, resources, and programs, the institute is teaching the world through testimony.

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