Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev explains: “The Visual Center is dedicated to making its collection of films about the Holocaust as comprehensive as possible, so that it may be referred to as the Jewish People’s chief repository for films about the Holocaust. The primary objective of the Visual Center is to create the leading portal through which scholars, students, filmmakers and the general public can view and access information about Holocaust films.”
The collection comprises films acquired for viewing and research over the years by Yad Vashem. The Visual Center is engaged not only in collecting additional films and solving related copyright issues, but also in developing its database of detailed information about all films produced about the Holocaust, as well as survivor testimonies. Thousands of films have been catalogued in the Visual Center’s database, and more than half of these titles are currently available for viewing on the premises. All of the 52,000 survivor testimonies recorded by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute are also available for viewing, as well as approximately 10,000 Yad Vashem survivor testimonies.
Visual Center visitors may view films at the click of a mouse at one of 50 personal computer stations, either by selecting one of the more popular titles suggested by the Visual Center’s staff or by searching the database for films by genre, subject or more specific criteria. Group screenings of films from the Visual Center collection take place at the Center in a specially designed theater in conjunction with academic and educational conferences and symposia on Holocaust and Cinema.