CrossEWT: Cross-Medial Analysis of WW2 Eyewitness Testimonies

Despite the prominence and mediatization of eyewitnesses, there is no systematic research about which topics have been addressed in their accounts. This project entails a diachronic content analysis and comparison of eyewitness testimonies (EWTs) about the Second World War in the Netherlands.

Hoofdonderzoeker
  • Susan Hogervorst
Disciplines
  • Geschiedenis
  • Mediastudies
Resource types
  • Data
  • Tools
Still from Leon S. edited testimony. (Fortunoff Archive, Yale University)

Since the 1960s, eyewitnesses have become ever more mediatized, and ever more prominent in popular representations of the Second World War. Many initiatives have been undertaken to preserve their accounts. One of the most large-scale examples is the Visual History Archive, containing over 52,000 video interviews about the Shoah. In the Netherlands, hundreds of WW2-related oral history interviews are filed at DANS.

Despite the prominence and mediatization of eyewitnesses, there is no systematic research about which topics have actually been addressed in their accounts. This project entails a diachronic content analysis and comparison of eyewitness testimonies (EWTs) about the Second World War in the Netherlands. The focus is on testimonies that have been published since 1945 and that have been generated in three different, but interrelated media contexts: newspaper articles, television documentaries, and oral history interviews. The data therefore consists of newspaper articles, transcriptions of documentaries generated with automatic speech recognition, and interview transcripts of the open access ‘Getuigenverhalen’ interview collection as hosted by DANS.

A USC student listens to a testimony in the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. The archive contains 52,000 testimonies from survivors of the holocaust and other genocides.
A USC student listens to a testimony in the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. The archive contains 52,000 testimonies from survivors of the holocaust and other genocides.

In the Clariah Media Suite, relevant collections that contain EWTs have been inspected. Thereafter, three subcorpora have been created and exported to text analysis tools with which their content could be analyzed and compared systematically.

Onderzoekers

Susan Hogervorst
PI
Susan Hogervorst

Universitair docent Historische cultuur en geschiedenisdidactiek, Open Universiteit