Bild: Set eines Zeitzeugengesprächs

The Road from the Recording to the Testimony

After establishing contact to our interviewees, we discuss the most important points of their biography as well as geographical and personal details over the phone. This allows us to prepare for each life story individually. On the day prior to the interview, the two interviewers, the cameraman and the interviewee meet for a preliminary talk to discuss the course of the interview.

The interview itself begins with a short introduction. The interviewees then freely recount their life stories – there are no guidelines in terms of content or length of the testimony, and the interviewers pose accompanying questions. The testimony is recorded digitally and added to the Video Archive database upon completion. The interviewees receive a copy of the recording.

The analysis of the interview begins with a complete transcription, including a subsequent translation if the original language of the interview is not German. Next, the footage is time coded, which later allows a swift navigation within the full length of the interview. The material is then analysed on a textual and content level, making it easier for visitors to engage with the extensive footage (many interviews are several hours long): For each interview, a table of contents and thematic index are created, and there is biographical information on each interviewee as well as summaries of the interview with contextualising information. The database also contains information about the recording conditions as well as key words for searching. When the process of analysis has been completed, the results are sent to the interviewees and made accessible to the public at computer terminals in the Video Archive.