Spielberg and Ford announce they are teaming up to bring Holocaust education to Detroit.
Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg founded the Shoah Foundation at the University of California to create a space in which visual testimonies from survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides could be shown, increasing awareness and encouraging tolerance. He was inspired to take on the building of this foundation after directing the film Schindler’s List in 1993. The film is based on the life of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.
Today, the Shoah Foundation heads IWitness, a website that offers over 1,500 full live histories from these survivors to serve as a resource to educators and high school-aged students.
In early September, Ford Motor Co. announced they would donate $180,000 to sustain and expand IWitness to schools around Detroit. Additionally, this gift will be used to sponsor a video challenge that invites students to capture a video inspired by the stories they’ve heard and how those testimonies encouraged and empowered them to make a positive impact in their local communities.
This work will be building on Michigan’s current use of IWitness, which is reported to be at approximately 450 teachers throughout the state. Spielberg hopes this important resource’s utilization will only continue to grow and that, someday, finishing IWitness or a similar program will be required before graduating high school and entering the world.
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