The National Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire has been given a highly prestigious award for its ground-breaking project bringing showing 3D holograms of Holocaust survivors telling their stories and answering questions.
The ‘Forever Project’ won this year’s Museums and Heritage Innovation Award late last week, coinciding with anNHC announcement that Berlin-born survivor Rudi Oppenheimer would also be taking part.
Oppenheimer and his family were in Holland when they were sent to Westerbork transit camp, then to Bergen-Belsen. Because his sister was born in Britain, Rudi and his siblings were held in the ‘star camp’ as possible exchange prisoners, and survived, but both his parents both died in Belsen.
He will now become the latest survivor to tell his story to future generations of schoolchildren with the use of advanced digital technology, displaying the survivors as 3D laser projections able to give testimony and answer questions.
The software matches the question with the closest recorded answer and the film is played of the survivor replying. The process is designed to feel like a real conversation with an audience.
“Dozens of survivors could eventually take part in this project should sufficient funds be raised,” said an NHC spokeswoman.
“Answering questions involves cutting-edge software able to identify – from up to 1,000 pre-recorded answers – which one is most relevant to the question asked. For the audience, receiving the answers will be a seamless experience.”
NHC chief executive Phil Lyons said: “A key part, if not the most important part of a visit to the Centre is to listen and talk to a survivor; with this project that will never change.”
Chairman Henry Grunwald paid tribute to Oppenheimer, saying his story was “remarkable and profoundly moving… His testimony provides children with an insight into events that few of us can comprehend – but all of us need to hear”.