Phillip Maisel Testimonies Project

The JHC has over 1300 video testimonies as well as over 200 audio testimonies in its collection. These provide eyewitness accounts of the horrors of the Holocaust, as well as glimpses into the vibrancy of pre-war Jewish life in Europe. The collection is widely used by researchers and students of oral history, the Holocaust and a variety of other disciplines.

The testimonies’ project began in the 1980s as the Melbourne Oral History Project, established by Sandra Cowan and Jenny Wajsenberg and later co-ordinated by the late Anne Bernhaut. They conducted over 200 audio recordings of Holocaust survivors.

In the early 1990s, with the purchase of a video camera, the Video Testimonies’ Project was launched. Holocaust survivor, Phillip Maisel, began volunteering and immediately recognised the enormity of the challenge, given the passage of time and the ageing of survivors, so he made it his passion and goal to interview as many survivors as possible. He has dedicated himself tirelessly to the task. The 1300 testimonies collected are a testament to his energy and perseverance. Phillip was awarded an OAM in recognition of his efforts. More recently he has turned his focus to the ongoing challenge of digitising the collection and  has taught himself to work in a digital environment. Future challenges include improving the testimonies’ database, as well as indexing the collection to make it more accessible for researchers.

If you would like to give your testimony or know of someone who is interested in giving a testimony, please contact Phillip Maisel on (03) 9528 1985 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Below is an example of the video testimonies we collect from survivors of the Holocaust.


Mama, let me go - Testimony by Mrs Genia Rovi

In 1939, the Nazis occupied the city of Lodz in Poland. The Jewish population was confined in the Ghetto where many atrocities were committed. This testimony is from Mrs Genia Rovi describing such events, and was taken on the 19 September 1998 at the Jewish Holocaust Centre, by Mr Phillip Maisel as part of the Video Testimonies Project.


For more examples of the Suvrivor Testimonies taken by the Centre, please visit our "Eyewitness: Short-form Survivor Testimonies" page.