The exhibit offers two such conversations with Holocaust survivors Pinchas Gutter and Eva Schloss, facilitated by language-recognition technology and high-definition video and audio techniques.
“Anne was really a very sophisticated little girl,” Schloss says when asked about her step-sister Anne Frank, whose famous journal recounts the story of her life in hiding with her family and was published posthumously by her father Otto Frank, who married Schloss’s mother in 1953. “
Schloss herself is 88 years old and lives in London. She went into hiding with her family during the war in Amsterdam, but they were captured and sent to Auschwitz. In 1945, she was liberated from the death camp by the Russian Army. Schloss has told her story to schoolchildren in talks she has held as well as in books, including one called “Eva’s Story: A Survivor’s Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank.”
According to concept designer Smith, Schloss’s testimony could be experienced in a variety of formats, including holographic technologies that are still in development.
The other account is by Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter. Sitting on a red chair, Gutter can be seen in the exhibit facing the camera and talking about his story as well as his present living situation. The 85-year-old survivor lives in Toronto, Canada, and the technology used by the museum can now allow visitors to hear from him answers to a whopping 20,000 questions.
A question about the Nazi death march, for instance, prompts Gutter to recall: “We marched for two and a half weeks. And only half of us arrived at Theresienstadt. The rest were either killed or died on the road.”
Smith explains that the new technology is also expected to impact how the history of the Holocaust will be taught in future classrooms. “The vision was to ultimately have a classroom of kids or one child or one adult actually in a room and sitting across from a Holocaust survivor and I wanted them to feel as if it was as real as possible,” she said.