Visitors to the Victoria and Albert Museum were this week saw a new interactive project showing survivors in 3D hologram recalling the Shoah.
The Forever Project, developed by the National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Nottinghamshire, is running at the V&A until Friday this week, and lets visitors ask survivors questions.
Using state-of-the-art language processing and voice recognition software, the survivors are able to answer visitors’ questions, by working out what is being asked and immediately retrieving one of thousands of pre-recorded answers.
Among the survivors interacting with visitors is Steven Frank, a survivor of Nazi persecution, answering questions about what he lived through and why everyone should learn about the Holocaust today.
Organisers say this technique lets the audience engage with survivors’ testimony more deeply than would be possible with a normal film, preserving the experience of meeting a survivor of the Holocaust, as numbers dwindle with time.
“It is a sad reality that there will come a time when survivors will no longer be able to be with us to tell us their stories,” said Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.
“Yet we need to hear these stories now more than ever – to understand what it is that can break society apart and how we can play our part in standing up to hatred, whatever form it may appear in.”
He added: “One of the first acts of the Foundation was to recommend that government fund this project, which goes to the heart of our mission to support educational partners across the country in their work to preserve and share the stories of the Holocaust.”
The exhibition in the Raphael Gallery came about through the V&A’s partnership with the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, and is positioned alongside models of shortlisted designs for the new national Holocaust Memorial in Westminster.
Visitors can see the designs from ten shortlisted teams for the new Memorial and Learning Centre, to be built next to the Houses of Parliament, and give their feedback on which designs they like and why.