Memoria [EN] Nr 35 (08/2020) - Page 26

In the discussion of 3-D technology, once again, the importance of the little but essential word “how” crystallises: of how the technology is contextualised and applied. The panellists are mindful of what such digital methods can and cannot achieve. At the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München, the project LediZ of Hüttl and his colleagues captures the testimonies of Holocaust survivors in 3-D as they reply to roughly 1,000 questions each. When the resulting 3-D testimony is exhibited, visitors themselves can address it with questions. It is able to recognise thousands of alternatives to those on which the recording was based. The digital appearance of the survivor will respond with matching answers. Hüttl highlights that his team refrains from referring to this experience as “a conversation” since the 3-D testimony is not able to pose any questions in return. Naor travelled to the recording studio in England to participate in the project. He stresses the need for survivors to pass on their stories in person as long they can but wishes that his digital testimony will also help people learn and authentically engage with his story and the Holocaust. He underlines that hearing about history from a historian is a far cry from listening to a survivor. Sawicki and Fuchs recommend that school classes and museum visitors should receive guidance in order to have respectful and meaningful encounters with 3-D and VR representations of survivors. Fuchs believes that such technologies could then have an emotional effect on young people and make them relate as these methods ensure that “they perceive [survivors] as persons and not as mere stories.”

In the course of the conversation, Naor worried whether the Holocaust would vanish from people’s consciousness in the future. All four panellists have been committed to preventing this from happening. Long after the designated time of our discussion had passed, we kept talking. We asked questions, we listened, we paused for thought, and, a few times, we were left speechless before we resumed talking. Because we must. Because we cannot be silent on the Holocaust. Ever. Keep talking.

This article is based on a round-table discussion and the corresponding multimedia article by Elisa Jochum for the Goethe-Institut. For the original article including further discussion points such as image manipulation and research guidance for teenagers, go to: Shift Society: Retweet and Remember – Digital Approaches to the Holocaust.