Holocaust narrative collection now accessible at Reed Library

Roger Coda
box of videotapes, Reed Library Archives and Special Collections, Holocaust

Interviews originally recorded on assorted formats are now accessible, in digital form, to researchers at Reed Library.

The Browder-Wallenberg Collection, a set of video-recorded and audio-recorded interviews of individuals who survived the Holocaust, is now available to researchers and community members at SUNY Fredonia’s Reed Library.

Recorded narratives of other people who witnessed the Holocaust as liberators or other helpers are also included.

Interviews were conducted throughout Western New York by two separate committees from the 1970s through the 1990s, but the entire set of VHS, cassette tape and DVD recordings has only within the last year been digitized, rendering the interviews more accessible to the public. Coordinator of Special Collections and Archives in Reed Library Amanda Shepp announced during the spring semester that the collection would become available to researchers and community members.

The oral histories were recorded by the Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the Jamestown area and the Goldbloom Memorial Fund Committee, from SUNY Fredonia, led by Department of History Emeritus Professor George Browder.

“There really is a wealth of information within the interviews, and we hope that others on campus will also take advantage of this incredible resource,” - SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Andrea Zevenbergen

SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Andrea Zevenbergen, of the Department of Psychology, and Andrea Colon, a senior majoring in Psychology, have begun to delve into the collection, through the assistance of Mx. Shepp and Dawn Payne, a senior majoring in Animation and Illustration.

Ongoing work on the collection includes transcription of videotaped interviews, checking of existing transcripts and preparation of the materials for uploading to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum video archive and DSpace, for greater public access online.

“It’s been both intriguing and sobering to hear the stories of these survivors. Importantly, there are narratives in this collection that have never been available to the public, because they were recorded by residents of Chautauqua County and remained only analogue recordings for many decades,” Dr. Zevenbergen said.

This semester, Ms. Colon is completing a research project related to the Browder-Wallenberg Collection, within the course PSY 481: Mentored Research in Social Development. She is analyzing the transcribed interviews with reference to interactions with other people (e.g., fellow prisoners, community members, family members) who assisted survivors physically and/or emotionally during the Holocaust.

“There really is a wealth of information within the interviews, and we hope that others on campus will also take advantage of this incredible resource,” Zevenbergen said.


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