On Yom HaShoah, a gateway to remember and honor the lives lived
On this Yom HaShoah, we are also looking back on one year of the Covid pandemic. The global crisis has impacted all areas of life, Holocaust education being no exception. The pandemic led to a worrying rise in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that need to be addressed and challenged — but the simultaneous concentration on our immediate surroundings and the increase of digital educational tools also offers a chance to do so.
A project developed in the Weiss-Livnat Innovation Hub for Holocaust Research and Education uses these challenges and opportunities — by providing a gateway to Jewish Berlin before World War II through the Augmented Reality app “Voids”. Hub participant Eva Hasel teamed up with an AR Start-Up, making lost places of Jewish religion, life and culture visible again. “As we remember the six million women, men and children murdered in the Holocaust, we also remember and honor the lives they lived. While the sheer number can seem ungraspable, zooming in on a local level can help people re-connect to this history”, she explains.
“Voids” will take users to trailblazing fashion pioneers, the vibrant Turkish-Sephardic community or the “Yiddishland” of bustling coffee houses in the 1920s. Besides seeing historical photographs right in the places where they were once taken, users will have access to a lot of information about the communities and people, the businesses they ran, the art they created and how they shaped the city — until today. Berlin offers a great wealth of knowledge and memorial sites regarding the Holocaust. In that context, “Voids” wants to be a digital memorial dedicated to life, emphasizing the diversity of Jewish culture then and now. After all, focusing on humanity in the face of adversity — a core lesson of the Holocaust — is more relevant than ever today.