To mark the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht — the ‘Night of Broken Glass’ or November Pogrom — the New York-based Claims Conference is releasing a new virtual reality experience based on the memory of German Holocaust survivor Charlotte Knobloch.
Dr Knobloch, born in 1932 and raised in Munich, will walk the viewer through the streets of her childhood neighbourhood, in the same way that she did with her father on 9 November 1938. Born in 1932, she remembers these pogroms against the Jews, the moment when hatred climaxed and became acts of violence, when average citizens turned on their long-time neighbours, roaming the streets in mobs, breaking the glass of Jewish homes and shops.
Using cutting-edge technology in partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation, Meta (Facebook’s parent company), UNESCO and the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the mixed-reality project reflects a very personal view of Kristallnacht, when 30,000 Jews were rounded up and first sent to concentration camps.
Dr Knobloch said: “It is imperative at this moment in history that we do everything in our power to elevate Holocaust education and to get it into the hands and minds of future generations. Antisemitism is on the rise throughout the world – it exists today as it always has. If we do not continue to keep the memory of the past alive and push the lessons of the Holocaust, they will soon be forgotten, and we will be doomed to repeat our history. As those of us who survived pass on, these tools, this technology will continue to be our voice and our testimony.”
The completed project will include real-life footage and photos of Kristallnacht combined with Dr Knobloch sharing the moments her family experienced before, during and after Kristallnacht in an immersive, interactive and virtual setting, allowing the user to experience her memories. Users will be able to engage in a Q&A, asking questions about Kristallnacht, Dr Knobloch’s family and the Holocaust in general.
The full immersive VR experience and accompanying education materials will be released in 2024. But a teaser video is available from November 9 at www.claimscon.org/brokenglass
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