Virtual Cinema of the Holocaust at the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive


by Chuck Chriss
President, JIA

Jack de Lowe of Raanana, Israel pointed me to the website of the Virtual Cinema at the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive. The Archive was founded at Hebrew University in the late 1960s and is the world’s prime location of documentary and artistic film about Israel and Jewish life. Since 1987 the Archive has been named in honor of Steven Spielberg.

The Archive website is a remarkable Internet resource that has emerged from the desire to make the film holdings available to as large an audience as possible. Even though film viewing across the Internet is somewhat limited, this is still a tremendous advance in the availability of priceless treasures of film such as those made by Zionist groups in Palestine before the founding of the State of Israel and film records of Jewish communities in Europe, communities that were destroyed during World War II.

The Spielberg Archive is the official depository for films made by Zionist organizations in Palestine as they developed the country before 1948. Amateur and professional films from Jewish communities around the world dating back to the 19th century are now preserved there. The collection includes many films from the Holocaust period and the post-war experiences of survivors as well as official and unofficial films about Israel since statehood in 1948.

Over 100 films from this remarkable collection have been released for Internet access via this starting page:


Currently access is set up for users of Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Microsoft Media player. There is a troubleshooting guide on the website if you have problems or questions about software for viewing the films.

More information about the work of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive can be found by starting with their home page:


In addition to the Virtual Cinema, the site has a very interesting collection of film posters. They also offer videos for sale.