New technology allows Holocaust survivors to tell their stories for all time

by | Jan 26, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — David Schaecter is 93 and he is running out of time.He has dedicated the past 60 years to recounting his struggle for survival in Auschwitz, his escape and how he pieced his life together in the United States after losing his entire family in the Holocaust.
As he marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday (Jan. 27), Schaecter knows his days of travel and in-person testimony-giving will soon end.
So this week he agreed to a weeklong recording of his life story using a new technology that will allow future generations to interact with a hologram-style likeness of him.
That story will form the base of an exhibit at Boston’s future Holocaust museum, which is scheduled to open in 2025.
“All children, but especially Jewish children, need to know who they are, what they are and what happened,” said Schaecter on a lunch break during the filming in a Miami studio. “I’m the guy who would like to tell them what happened.”
The technology, produced by the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimonies project, records Holocaust survivors’ answers to about 1,000 questions on individual video clips. Later, using natural-language technology, programmers transform each answer into a search term. In a museum or classroom setting, people can pose a question to a two-dimensional life-size image …

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