USC Shoah Foundation adds large collection of Armenian Genocide testimony to its archive
USC Shoah Foundation has received one of the largest collections of testimonies from survivors of the Armenian Genocide that were recorded over decades by Dr. Richard Hovannisian, a leading scholar on the World War I-era genocide.
The Richard G. Hovannisian Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection will officially be announced as a part of the Visual History Archive at a ceremony on Friday.
Initially, a pilot of 10 testimonies – seven in English and three in Armenian – will be available to the public on March 9 in the Institute's Visual History Archive. The rest will be added as they are digitized and indexed to the high standards used by the Institute.
In addition to the audiotapes recorded in a variety of formats, the new collection includes documents and photographs corresponding to each interview, transcripts and translations that Hovannisian and his students put together over the years.
The vast majority of the collection was recorded in Armenian, but up to 20 percent of the testimonies are in English; there is a smaller portion of Turkish and Spanish language interviews.
The son of a genocide survivor, Hovannisian believes deeply in the power of testimony as a tool to educate, combat denial, and communicate the magnitude of a criminal scheme that claimed an estimated 1.5 million Armenian lives. But numbers alone don't begin to tell the story.