Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project

Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project

Filled with stories of community, betrayal, trauma, and survival, the Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project interviews include more than 150 firsthand accounts of Orange County residents who experienced the Holocaust.

Support for this project ensures that these stories are preserved and made available to the public for generations to come.


Featuring interviews gathered in the 1990s by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of Orange County, the collection includes a wide range of experiences, from Jewish ghettos and death camps to underground resistance efforts and refugee children.

These interviews are currently on VHS tapes, and due to their fragility, cannot be played on modern equipment. As a result, these stories are inaccessible and may be lost to history. To preserve these stories for the future, UCI Libraries have prioritized the digitization of this remarkable collection of oral histories unique to the Orange County region. 

Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project

Between 1992 and 1995, the Orange County Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith recorded the oral histories of 145 Holocaust survivors, 5 liberators, and 3 rescuers living in Orange County. 

Led by Holocaust educator and survivor Jack Pariser and donated to UCI Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives in 1995, the collection consists of 166 VHS tapes and related materials. Most of the interviewees are Jewish survivors whose experiences included forced and voluntary emigration, death camps, forced labor, hiding, and resistance. Survivor stories extend from Germany, Poland, and Holland to Shanghai and Cuba. The interviews also include five “liberators” (American military who witnessed the concentration camps following liberation) and three “rescuers” (who risked their lives to protect Jews during the war). 

A complete list of interviews is available in the project's Collection Guide.

Digitizing the Collection

Due to the fragility of the 30-year-old VHS video tapes and the increasing obsolescence of VHS equipment, the Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project interviews are inaccessible, so many important stories remain hidden.

Digitizing this remarkable collection will make it available online to scholars and the broader community. Once completed, this digitization project will achieve five key goals:

  • Preserve the VHS cassettes and convert the interviews into digital videos.
  • Create and publish full-text transcripts of the oral histories.
  • Catalog the electronic records with keywords and descriptions to make them easily discoverable.
  • Develop a finding aid with detailed information about the collection.
  • Provide free online access to the digitized collection.

Support the Digitization Project

The work of digitizing the videos and transcribing the interviews cannot begin until we reach our $50,000 fundraising goal. 

Special thanks to the donors who have already made gifts to support this important project: 

Dalia and Noah Taft, in memory of Ethel Taft
Cathy Palmer, in memory of Miriam Gelfand
Theodore Capuano
Steve and Lauri Barwick
Julia Lupton and Kenneth Reinhard
M. Roberta Dornan, in honor of Eve Kopecky
Phyllis Gilmore
Celeste Signorino, in memory of Irving Gelman (interview #49)

Your gift of any size will help preserve these Holocaust survivor experiences for future generations.

A gift of $500 or more will support the digitization and transcription of an entire interview. To honor your gift of $500 or more, a commemorative digital bookplate and recognition note will be added to the electronic record of the interview. Once the project has been completed, you will be mailed a commemorative printed copy of the bookplate along with a link to the digitized interview. Your bookplate will provide an enduring testament to your support and the incredible history being preserved.


Make a gift to support the Orange County Holocaust Oral History Project Digitization