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Amsterdam Provides a Home to Spielberg Holocaust Project

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Steven Spielberg’s international effort to archive tens of thousands of interviews with Holocaust survivors has made its way to the Netherlands.

The project comes in the wake of Spielberg’s last film, “Schindler’s List,” which was the most attended movie in 1994 in the Netherlands.

A representative of Spielberg is undertaking, Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, went to Holland last month to prepare for that country’s role in the endeavor.

The project, which began in June in Los Angeles, is already under way in the United States and in Toronto. Additional interviews are scheduled to take place in Israel, France and Australia.

The representative, Michael Engel, said in a phone interview from Los Angeles that he went to the Netherlands to “establish an office of presence” in Amsterdam and to meet with existing organizations that will be involved in the project.

Those organizations are the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam; the Jewish Social Welfare Foundation, also known as JMW, and the Anne Frank Foundation.

Engel said the Amsterdam office will be the base for interviews in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The process of selecting interviewers in Holland has started, Engle said. At the beginning of April, about 100 interviewers — including journalists, social workers, psychotherapists and teachers — will undergo 20 hours of training. After that selection is finished, the actual interviews will begin.

Of the 140,000 Jews in Holland in 1940, only 30,000 survived the war.

As of 1994, about 25,000 Jews lived in the Netherlands.

The recorded and videotaped interviews eventually will serve as the largest library of Holocaust survivor testimonies in the world and will be stored at five museums, Spielberg has said.

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