Expert on Rwandan Genocide Testimony Scheduled to Speak in St. Pete
A director at the Shoah Foundation, Karen Jungblut is an expert on Rwandan genocide testimony.
ST. PETERSBURG – The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Genocide and Human Rights Awareness Movement lecture series brings Rwandan Genocide testimony expert Karen Jungblut to St. Petersburg.
The free program is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 13 at the Museum, 55 Fifth St. S.
As the director of research and documentation at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, Jungblut oversees scholarship and research activities, as well as a global network of partner sites with access to the Institute’s nearly 52,000 testimonies. Jungblut is in charge of expanding the existing archive with video of survivors of other genocides, which will provide scholars and teachers with unprecedented research and teaching opportunities.
In 2013, the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive expanded beyond the Holocaust for the first time, taking in 64 audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. That set of atrocities claimed as many as one million lives over the course of about 100 days in 1994 when government-backed militias of ethnic Hutus went on a mass killing spree targeting the country’s next largest ethnic group, the Tutsis. The Rwandan government has since eliminated the official use of those ethnic terms in its census and on identity cards in hopes of fostering reconciliation.
“The lesson we’ve gotten from (taking testimonies) is that survivors want to come forward, and they come with the mindfulness that they are speaking on behalf of those who did not survive. They are leaving a legacy so people know what happened,” Jungblut said. “For people who were meant to be eradicated, these testimonies are an important reassurance that their lives and their stories are important to the world.”
In order to integrate testimonies recorded and owned by other organizations into the Visual History Archive, the USC Shoah Foundation has initiated the Preserving the Legacy program, in which the Florida Holocaust Museum is an active partner and a soon to be an access point for the Visual History Archive. The Visual History Archive allows users to search through and view more than 54,000 video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of genocide. In addition to Holocaust testimony, the Visual History Archive includes testimonies from the Armenian Genocide that coincided with World War I, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-1996 and the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979.
This program is one of many free programs to be offered by the FHM this year in celebration of its 25th anniversary. For additional information about this program and to learn more about the FHM’s upcoming 25th Anniversary events and exhibitions, go to TheFHM.org.
Photo of Karen Jungblut courtesy of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.
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