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About this Project

What is Experiencing History?

A digital teaching and learning tool for the college classroom and beyond. Using Experiencing History, instructors and students engage directly with primary sources related to the Holocaust. Instructors can set up customized courses to create customized learning experiences featuring original diaries, letters, oral histories, art, and other materials. These sources were carefully selected, translated, and contextualized by Holocaust scholars.

“We can’t speak about a single Holocaust experience. That was brought up by the sources, and was something that students came up with on their own.”
—Adriana Brodsky, Jewish Studies, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Experiencing History is a project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It builds on scholarship published in the book series Jewish Responses to Persecution, created by the Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. The sources first featured on the site drew from these underused, underrecognized victim perspectives. Today, the site is regularly updated with new collections highlighting a variety of perspectives on the Holocaust.

“I frequently encountered something new while browsing the website. The array of sources in multiple languages was the first aspect that caught my attention.”
—First-year student, freshman seminar course

What can I do here?

Explore primary sources. Experiencing History features a diverse set of translated, contextualized, interconnected primary sources. Explore the diary of a Jewish teenager hidden in a children’s home in France, or hear his reflections in a testimony 50 years later. Read a newspaper editorial debating American participation in the 1936 Nazi Olympics. Read a letter thrown from a deportation train. Listen to an oral history from an American soldier who helped liberate a concentration camp. See a witness give his testimony at the postwar Nuremberg Trials in 1946.

Primary sources provide a critical means to interpret history and our contemporary world. Organized by theme, Experiencing History’s sources are accompanied by introductory texts that raise key questions about the nature of the documents as well as the challenges that they pose for students and scholars. Instructors can create their own primary source collections for a specific class to use, and individual users can save items to their own dashboards.

How do I get started?

Browse the items and collections. Create an account in order to save items to your personal dashboard. Teaching a class? Create an account and save materials for your students to view.

Thank You for Supporting Our Work

We would like to thank The Alexander Grass Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for Experiencing History. View the list of all donors and contributors.


Learn more about sources for your classroom