Interview Subject Confirmation Letter
Dear [Interview Subject],
We want to again thank you for your willingness to participate in our oral history project documenting the stories of those witnessing the tragic events of the Holocaust. Your involvement will not only provide for a meaningful life experience for our students, but your testimony will also enrich students from around the world who will have access to your unique story via the Internet. We are continuing to work with our students preparing them with both background history as well as practice with interview techniques to help prepare them for your interview.
This letter contains information you will need including contacts, dates, a sample release form, and additional information about Urban's Oral History Archives Project.
The Pre-Interview - [Date, Time, Location]
We would like you to join us for a light lunch hosted by our class. This will give you a chance to informally meet with all the students as well as meet other interview subjects. Please let one of us know if you have dietary restrictions. Lunch will be followed by a "fact-finding" interview with the team of students assigned to conduct your taped interview (see below). Three students will be directly responsible for conducting the historical research that surrounds your particular story. This pre-interview will give them a chance to collect basic factual information about your background to help guide their research preparing for the taped interview. This will also be a chance for you to provide the students some direct guidance by mentioning key historical events that you feel they need to learn more about prior to the taped interview.
Please note that you should not begin telling your personal story during the pre-interview. It is important that your story be told only during live taped interview. We want the students to walk away from the pre-interview with many questions that they will then research. Your role is not to be the historian - the project challenges the students to take on this job. We want you to tell your story as you witnessed events. The pre-interview is simply a guide for students to make sure they ask the right questions later.
We have included directions to the Urban School, however, we can arrange transportation for you if we know in advance. One of us will call you within the next few days to go over these arrangements.
The Taped Interview - [Date, Time, Location]
The team of 3 students as well as [Teacher] will be present for the interview. We will locate a comfortable, quiet and private place at your home to conduct the interview. During equipment set-up (which will take approximately 30 minutes), the student directly responsible for interviewing you will go over the release form, help you with a microphone check, and go over any last-minute details. With your permission, we will also silence your telephones to assure that the taping in not disturbed.
Note that only ONE student will be conducting the interview. Although others will be in the room (see below) - it is very important that you stay focused on this single individual. This will result in a final tape that will feel to future viewers as if you are talking directly to them. This is also why we request that NO other family members be present during the interview. The second student will be operating the camera and sound, the third will be silently taking notes, as will either Howard or Deborah. We will conduct "tape breaks" approximately every 30 minutes. During these short tape changes you will have a chance to help re-direct the interviewer with any critically missing follow-up questions.
Although there will be time for snacks, please make sure that you have consumed your lunch prior to our arrival. Also, there is no need for you to provide any hospitality to the student team - we will have already eaten.
Photos and Documents
At the end of the taped interview we would like to photograph a selection of photos or documents that help to tell your story. Of particular interest are materials dated prior to the end of the war or directly related to post-war relocation. The interview team will talk to you about this during the pre-interview, but you may want to begin setting aside important artifacts. We will need to limit these to fewer than 10 items.
The Release Form
We have attached a copy of the release form for you to preview prior to your taped interview. You do not need to sign this - we will do this together on [Date]. If you have any exceptions to the agreement please contact [Teacher] in advance.
In conclusion, on behalf of all our students, we are incredibly thankful for your willingness to participate in this unique project and we look forward to working with you in the days ahead.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.