Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preserving History

Today I showed Through the Red Gate to my Aspects of World History Class 1914-1945 at City Campus in Accra. Despite a lot of technical difficulties regarding the sound, it took three room changes before we got this problem fixed, I think the students liked the documentary. My TA borrowed the disk to watch again. One thing that they noted was that the main interview subject died just four months after the interview. In Kyrgyzstan I had two Russian-Germans I planned to interview die before I could talk to them. My TA had one of his interview subjects for his M. Phil. die as well just a few days before the scheduled interview. The death of sources before they can be interviewed is a serious hazard for any type of oral history dealing with events over fifty years old. It also results in the irretrievable loss of information. As I noted earlier some stories are lost forever. Fortunately, the stories told in Through the Red Gate have been recorded for posterity.

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