Steven Spielberg has won almost every honor Hollywood can bestow for his movies, including “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Saving Private Ryan.” It was 1993’s “Schindler’s List,” however, that gave the director the opportunity to create a very different legacy — “something I was put on this earth to do,” Mr. Spielberg said.
“Schindler’s List” is based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved more than 1,000 Jews from the Nazi death camps during World War II. It won seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. While filming “Schindler’s List” in Poland, Mr. Spielberg was visited by Holocaust survivors eager to have their stories told, and some survivors appeared at the end of the film. Mr. Spielberg fulfilled a promise to give them a voice by establishing the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994 to film and preserve first-person survivor testimonies and encourage their use in education.
Steven Spielberg established the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation to gather video testimonies from survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. While most of those who gave testimony were Jewish survivors, the Foundation also interviewed homosexual survivors, Jehovah’s Witness survivors, liberators and liberation witnesses, political prisoners, rescuers and aid providers, Roma and Sinti (Gypsy) survivors, survivors of Eugenics policies, and war crimes trials participants. The archive was later expanded to include testimonies by survivors of the 1937-38 Nanjing, China, Massacre and of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide.