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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 11:59 GMT
Spielberg opens Holocaust archive
Steven Spielberg
Spielberg's film Schindler's List chronicled the horrors of Nazi persecution
Film director Steven Spielberg has granted a German university access to a vast archive of interviews from survivors of the Holocaust.

In the first agreement of its kind, Berlin's Free University will be allowed to use 52,000 video testimonies collected by the Shoah Foundation.

The organisation began gathering material after the making of Oscar-winning film Schlindler's List.

Honorary president Spielberg has put $65m (32.8m) into the project.

Important goals

The interviews are mainly with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, but also gay, Roma and political prisoners who were persecuted by the Nazi regime.

Witnesses, liberators of the concentration camps and people who testified in trials conducted after World War II also feature in the archive, which is the largest of its kind in the world.

In 2004, Berlin's Jewish Museum was granted access to 1,000 interviews, but this is the first time a non-US organisation has been given use of the entire catalogue.

Douglas Greenberg, director of the Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education at the University of Southern California, said one of the organization's most important goals was to provide access to the archive to as broad an audience as possible.

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