Testimony : The Legacy of Schindler's List and the Shoah Foundation

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Few films have resonated through the years as Schindler's List has. Released in December 1993, it not only won seven Oscars - including Best Film and Best Director, and is now ranked numbered 8 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Best American Films of All Time - it inspired Steven Spielberg to create one of the world's most important visual history resources. This book commemorates that legacy, presenting in one volume both stories: the making of the movie, and the birth and enduring work of the foundation. Exclusively for this milestone anniversary, Spielberg and Universal Pictures opened their archives, providing access to production stills, interviews, call sheets, and other artifacts that bring the filmmaking story to life for the first time. In Part One of this authorized book Spielberg explains why he waited to make the film ten years after the Thomas Keneally novel was first published in the U.S. along with details of pre-production planning, the difficult location shoot in Poland, and the experiences of the cast and crew.
Featured throughout Testimony are excerpts from Steven Zaillian's Oscar-winning screenplay and the dramatic black-and-white photographs of David James - which echo the film's acclaimed cinematography. Here too are accounts of startling events on the set, when actual Holocaust survivors would show up unannounced and ask to speak only to Spielberg. These encounters were what inspired him to establish a way to video-record and preserve testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses while they were still alive. Part Two of the book focuses on the story of the Shoah Foundation, and its urgent mission to collect and preserve the Holocaust testimonies, so that these eyewitnesses could become teachers of humanity for generations to come. Here's how they raced against time and were able, during the first five years, to gather more than 50,000 testimonies in 56 countries and 32 languages; how they developed pioneering interviewing methodology, state-of-the art technologies for indexing, cataloging, and preservation, and groundbreaking means and educational programs to share the testimonies with the world - especially with young people.
In 2006, the Foundation became part of the University of Southern California, and has broadened their mission to collect and preserve testimonies from other genocides, including those in Armenia, Cambodia and the Rwandan Tutsi genocide.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 238 x 280 x 34mm | 1,639.97g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Newmarket Press,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 20th anniversary commemorative ed
  • 150-200 Full-Color Photos Throughout
  • 0062285181
  • 9780062285188
  • 1,736,167

Review quote

An informative coffee table book for film buffs and those interested in Jewish history. -- Kirkus
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Back cover copy

Schindler's List was a success by any Hollywood measure and far surpassed all expectations for a black-and-white film about the Holocaust. Released in 1993, it won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and is ranked ninth in the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest American Movies. But its legacy is a far more enduring one. As director Steven Spielberg says, "The film was to be the prelude to the most important work of my life." Spielberg's encounters with Holocaust survivors who came to the filmmakers' location in Poland and told him their stories set him on a mission to collect and preserve survivor testimonies so that these eyewitnesses could become teachers of humanity for generations to come. This twentieth-anniversary commemorative book presents, for the first time, the behind-the-scenes stories of the making of Schindler's List and the creation of the Shoah Foundation, the remarkable organization that Spielberg established twenty years ago.

Drawing from the Universal Pictures archives and exclusive interviews, Part One portrays the filmmaking in dramatic black-and-white photographs that echo the film's acclaimed cinematography; in excerpts from the script and the Thomas Keneally novel; and in the words of the cast and crew, including Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, and Spielberg.

Part Two relates how the Shoah Foundation, in its first four years, raced against time to videotape nearly 52,000 testimonies in 56 countries and 32 languages, while Holocaust survivors and witnesses were still alive to be interviewed. The book also describes in fascinating detail how this worldwide network of dedicated people used pioneering methods and state-of-the-art technologies to collect, index, and preserve the video recordings. With its Visual History Archive digitized, fully searchable, and hyperlinked to the minute, the foundation then developed countless ways to share the testimonies with the world, especially young people. Since joining the University of Southern California in 2006 and renamed the USC Shoah Foundation--The Institute for Visual History and Education, it expanded its educational initiatives as well as its mission, which is now collecting and preserving testimonies from the Armenian, Cambodian, and Rwandan genocides, as well as the Nanjing Massacre.

The ultimate lesson of Schindler's List, and of the USC Shoah Foundation story, is rooted in the deeds of Oskar Schindler, who never planned on becoming a household name for heroism but acted out of his humanity to protect his Jewish workers. As Spielberg writes in his introduction, "One person can change the world, and that person is you."
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About Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg (Introduction) The renowned director and producer of Schindler's List has also directed, among other acclaimed films, Lincoln, War Horse, Saving Private Ryan, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Amistad, and Jaws. He established the Shoah Foundation in 1994, inspired by his experience while filming Schindler's List. Stephen D. Smith (Preface) The executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, Smith is one of the world's foremost experts on genocide prevention and the inaugural holder of the UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education at USC. His books include Forgotten Places: The Holocaust and the Remnants of Destruction and The Holocaust and the Christian World. The USC Shoah Foundation-The Institute for Visual History and Education In its first decade, the Shoah Foundation accomplished its worldwide project of interviewing nearly 52,000 survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust, and making their tes-timonies widely available for scholarship and education. Now part of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the USC Shoah Foundation's Visual History Archive (VHA) currently encompasses 107,000 hours of video testimonies, and is an invaluable resource for education, research, and scholarship. Through innovative online tools, resources, and programs, the institute is teaching the world through testimony.
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