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HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TALKING TO SPIELBERG; INTERVIEW PROJECT NEARING COMPLETION.

Byline: Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press

Steven Spielberg's project to film 50,000 interviews with World War II Holocaust survivors and witnesses is nearing its goal, the project leader said Thursday.

Since Spielberg launched the endeavor four years ago, it has amassed 46,600 interviews, totaling almost 100,000 hours of material.

``We have amassed enough tape to circumnavigate the globe,'' Michael Berenbaum, president of Spielberg's Shoah Visual History Foundation, said at a news conference. ``To see that material would take you until 2010 if you worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without stop.''

The project, spawned by Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie ``Schindler's List,'' has no commercial aim. When completed, it will be made available to schools, libraries and other users around the world.

``By testifying, they have remembered,'' Berenbaum said of the survivors. ``And by making this material public, we will not let the world forget.''

An estimated 6 million Jews died in the Nazi Holocaust.

Filming the survivors has been especially difficult in the former Soviet Union, where a long history of anti-Semitism makes many survivors reluctant to speak of their past.

``We're in a race against time because if we don't do it now, we would never be able to do it'' as aging Holocaust survivors die, Berenbaum said.

About 4,600 interviews have been filmed in 360 cities throughout the former Soviet Union, making Russian the second-leading language after English in a project that involves 53 countries and 31 languages.

``We now have a new atmosphere in Russia where this material can be used freely and creatively, where the word `Jew' is no longer a forbidden word or a dirty word . . . and the experience of the Jews can be shown truthfully, fully and completely,'' Berenbaum said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 26, 1998
Words:291
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