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Using Survivor Testimony

History truly comes to life when one hears about an event from someone who experienced it. This is especially true for the Holocaust: to hear a survivor’s testimony is an incredible cognitive and emotional moment in learning the history of the Holocaust.

Many visitors to Holocaust Museum Houston ask about hearing a survivor speak. Our survivors no longer do individual interviews and, as the survivors age, they often face difficult health issues and are less able to travel. However, Holocaust Museum Houston has rich resources that enable people to experience survivor testimony.

When Holocaust Museum Houston was in its founding stages work was undertaken to record the testimony of survivors who settled in Houston so that their experiences could be transmitted to our audience. Many survivors wanted to bear witness and were influenced by the biblical scripture from Joel 1:3, “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” Our archive of videotaped testimony is gaining in its importance each year. There are a few ways a visitor or educator can access these testimonies and learn from a person who directly faced the Holocaust.

"Voices" and "Voices II"
In the 105-seat Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, located at the end of the Museum’s main exhibit, visitors can watch one of two 30-minute videos, “Voices” or “Voices II.” These videos rotate during the week and are on continuous play during operating hours. Both videos are of Holocaust testimonies related by Houston-area survivors. Viewing "Voices" or "Voices II" is how most visitors are able to access survivor testimony.

"Where Is My Family?"
Many educators and visitors who have toured the Museum have asked to use the survivor testimony that is exhibited in the facility. To accommodate those requests, the Museum offers the film "Where is My Family?" on DVD and VHS tape so that visitors and educators can take the testimonies of survivors back into their classrooms, especially for those not able to visit the Museum.

To accompany the film, a curriculum guide has been created to offer educators the ability to integrate first-person accounts of the Holocaust into their existing units of study. For those creating a new unit of study, this piece can serve as a template to structure a unit of study of the Holocaust. Each of Holocaust Museum Houston’s curriculum trunks carry a copy of the film "Where is My Family?" and its curriculum guide.

By listening to the experiences in "Where is My Family?," viewers can better understand
all that was lost in the years of the Holocaust and learn the importance of what can be gained through bearing witness. Visit our online Store to purchase thise title online.

"Testimonies from the Holocaust"
Condensed versions of segments of more than 30 of our survivors’ videotaped testimonies are available on our Web site. Click here to access these one-minute to 45-five-minute video clips.

Longer version of the testimonials may be viewed by appointment at the Laurie and Milton R. Boniuk Resource Center and Library at Holocaust Museum Houston. Paper transcripts also are available for review by authorized researchers on request. For more information, contact the Museum archivist at library@hmh.org or call 713-942-8000, ext. 110.

The Laurie and Milton Boniuk Resource Center and Library
Within the collections of the library, there are many published diaries and memoirs of survivors and liberators. There is also a special non-circulating collection of self-published memoirs by survivors and liberators. For more information, e-mail library@hmh.org.

Speakers Bureau
The Museum also offers off-site presentations made by Holocaust survivors, members of the 2nd Generation and Museum staff members, including members of the Museum’s Education, Exhibits, Archives, Collection, Membership and Public Relations departments. Please note: Most survivors are not able to travel great distances and only accept engagements in which they speak for 30 minutes or longer. Visit our Speakers Bureau to request a speaker.

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