Second site Spielberg's survivors

"I USED to `disappear' myself between people all the time," says Paula in her video testimony, recalling how she blended into crowds to avoid being selected. "The people in the camp didn't feel comfortable with me around, because when I used to disappear myself, they were in jeopardy." If she escaped notice, the selectors' attention would fall on somebody else. "I learned to survive," Paula concludes, with a survivor's helpless smile.

The tormented features of Paula's childhood face can be seen in a photograph which, like her, survived Auschwitz, and appears within a montage of Holocaust images telling her story, a chapter for each year of the Second World War. Three other individual histories are also presented in Survivors: Testimonies of the Holocaust (Knowledge Adventure, Windows and Mac, pounds 25).

There is flame-haired Silvia, glittering with anger, who performed at a theatre in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Enforced segregation concentrated a wealth of talent in this one venue. It became a hot ticket: non-Jews had to borrow Jewish identity cards to attend. Eventually, the theatre was converted into a gateway for deporting Jews to the "final solution".

There is also Sol, originally from Czechoslovakia. He describes how, on one of the death marches inflicted on captives as the Nazis' grip began to fail, his uncle's strength evaporated. Despite his uncle's pleas, Sol kept marching. His father also needed his help. His uncle was shot; his father survived the march, but died of typhus after liberation. Bert, from Germany, faced a similar decision. Those who could walk, including Bert, were separated from those who could not leave the camp. Among them was Bert's father, who implored him to stay. Bert left. His father perished, like all those who remained behind.

Although they add up to 80 minutes of video footage, these testimonies are only a tiny fragment of the 100,000 hours of tape gathered so far by Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Spielberg set up this body after making Schindler's List, to record the stories of people who had actually participated in the episode that he dramatised. Gypsies, homosexuals and other victims of the Nazi project are represented, as well as Jews. To date, 50,000 of these witnesses have been videotaped.

How does one make good use or sense of all this information? Claude Lanzmann, the director of Shoah, used the material he gathered to demand proper seriousness from his audience by challenging them to watch nine hours of documentary footage. Although this CD-ROM does not have the awesome power that Lanzmann's unblinking camera achieved, the presentation encourages due gravity by means of cross-referencing, which is what computer discs do best. Following each video sequence, links show photographs or give concise historical information. The texts are comprehensive, detailed, well-written, and make no attempt to dumb down. Following Paula's testimony, for example, the viewer is prompted to read about how children fared in ghettos. We are told that they were vulnerable because they lacked value as workers, and that if their relatives were deported, they had to beg for food from other residents; or steal it.

Potential purchasers shouldn't be put off by the billing on the box, which says that the disc is "hosted" by Leonardo DiCaprio and Winona Ryder. Thankfully, they are not a Holocaust Richard and Judy, but simply narrators. They do a decent job helping this CD-ROM play to the strength of the genre, which lies in the provision of context for these profoundly understated testimonies.

You can visit www.poptel.org.uk/secondsite for links to pages mentioned or contact Marek Kohn on secondsite@poptel.net

Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
The party's over: Paul Higgins and Stella Gonet in 'Hope' at the Royal Court

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special

Broadcaster unveils Christmas schedule

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tvThe two new contestants will join the 'I'm A Celebrity' camp after Gemma Collins' surprise exit
News
The late Jimmy Ruffin, pictured in 1974
people
News
Northern Uproar, pictured in 1996
people

Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the new Paddington bear review

Review: Paddingtonfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Tony stares at the 'Daddy Big Ears' drawing his abducted son Oliver drew for him in The Missing
tvReview: But we're no closer to the truth in 'The Missing'
Arts and Entertainment
Henry Marsh said he was rather 'pleased' at the nomination
booksHenry Marsh's 'Do No Harm' takes doctors off their pedestal
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in new biopic The Imitation Game

'At times I thought he was me'

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital