Video game being developed with Holocaust survivor to extend reach of education

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Video game being developed with Holocaust survivor to extend reach of education

Creator Luc Bernard says Sony has already 'agreed to launch' it, with the game being created with contribution from Shoah survivor Joan Salter

A video game featuring a Jewish boy fleeing persecution in Nazi-occupied France is being developed with Holocaust survivor Joan Salter writing the script.

The developer Luc Bernard said Sony had already “agreed to launch the game” for the Playstation, saying the idea of a Holocaust video game had “never been done before”.

Called ‘The Light in the Darkness,’ the game follows Samuel, a Jewish boy growing up in Paris when the city is invaded by the Nazis. Scenes include the infamous round-up of Parisian Jews at the Vel d’Hiv on 16 July 1942.

Samuel’s mother tells him to escape the city, rips off his yellow star and gives him the address of a Catholic priest who can help him escape.

The action then follows Samuel’s escape through the city to the countryside and forest, where there are Jewish orphans being passed off as Christian children.

The story is being led by Salter, who was born in 1940 in Belgium. Months later her father was arrested but escaped from a train heading to a concentration camp. He led the family to Paris where, as a baby, Salter survived the Vel d’Hiv roundup.

Joan Salter in the National Holocaust Centre and Museum’s ‘Forever Project

Today she works with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum as well as the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and is a past chair of the Child Survivors’ Association of Great Britain. In 2018, she was awarded an MBE for services to Holocaust education.

The new medium was being used to extend Holocaust education because video games are now the biggest part of the entertainment industry, said Bernard, who described it as “a very important project”, adding: “We plan to release it for free.”

A spokesperson for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said: “The historical truth of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution must be shared and kept alive. Holocaust education is crucial for everyone; and reaching people with the lessons of the Holocaust, and of the steps that lead to genocide, has never been more important.

As we see rising hate on both sides of the Atlantic, antisemitism and other identity-based persecution continuing in society – it is imperative that everyone knows where hate can lead.

We haven’t seen the game, so we can’t comment on it, although we do note that the brilliant Joan Salter MBE – whose life story has educated thousands upon thousands of people – has been involved in the creation process.”

Last year, Jewish News revealed the National Holocaust Centre had produced an first-of-its-kind app for primary school children, with users following a Jewish boy through Berlin in the 1930s.

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