Rwandan children’s genocide testimonies

The University of South Florida Holocaust and Genocide Studies Center (HGSC) announces a “soft launch” of its collection of Youth and Children’s testimonies during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Included are handwritten testimonies by children who were living in Gitarama Prefecture in Rwanda at the time of the genocide (April-July, 1994), and written as high school students five years later.

These original, primary source accounts depict the children’s experiences in their own words from the time the genocide began until each child’s rescue. Included so far are 864 testimonies, but the HGSC continues to add more. Because all of the original testimonies are in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s official language, also known as Rwandan, spoken by 12 million people of all ethnic groups) the HGSC provides an English language abstract of each.

The HGSC is currently transcribing the testimonies themselves, so that they all can be full-text searchable, once this process is complete. So far, a handful of the complete testimonies are translated into English, but all of the brief abstracts can be browsed and searched via key words, place names, using interactive maps, and in other useful ways. A photo gallery includes views of local grave sites and memorials (including graphic images of victims’ remains).

Contact: Dr. Musa Olaka, Holocaust & Genocide Studies Librarian; email musaolaka@usf.edu

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