Illinois Holocaust Museum debuts VR exhibit

Now a brand new pair of quick digital actuality movies telling the tales of two survivors will allow guests to listen to these tales whereas experiencing immersive visuals that assist clarify their experiences. One movie, entitled A Promise Kept, tells the story of the late Frieda “Fritzie” Fritzshall, who was imprisoned and enslaved at Auschwitz as a young person, and went on to function president of the museum till her demise final 12 months at age 91. Different imprisoned ladies would give Fritzshall, the youngest of a gaggle of 600, crumbs of meals. The title comes from Fritzshall’s promise to them that if she survived, she would inform their tales. Her grandson Scott Fritzshall says that she was in a position to wrap up filming for the challenge earlier than she died.

Fritzie Fritzshall at Auschwitz-Birkenau’s arrival ramp [Photo: courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum]“I feel she was very comfortable that she was in a position to full this,” he says. “This actually represented for her, form of, the final that she needed to give and actually the end result of her life’s work.”

The opposite movie, Don’t Forget Me, commemorates the expertise of survivor George Brent on the Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Ebensee focus camps. It takes its title from Brent’s father’s phrases to him at Auschwitz, earlier than they had been separated. Brent was later despatched on to do brutal pressured labor on the different two camps.

“I all the time felt that it’s essential that you just shouldn’t neglect—that it’s best to bear in mind,” says Brent, who’s now 92 and retired from his dental apply. “Additionally, should you run into individuals who deny it [you] ought to be capable to reply them and produce up details that may present that this actually occurred—that 6 million Jews had been killed.”


Slave labor tunnels on the Ebensee focus camp in Austria are proven within the movie Don’t Neglect Me. [Image: courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum]Each movies, that are designed to be considered by HTC Vive Professional VR headsets in scheduled screenings starting January 27 on the Skokie museum, take viewers to coach stations, focus camps, and different websites concerned within the horrors skilled by the 2 survivors and others imprisoned by the Nazi regime. The films enable viewers to show their heads to discover the varied areas because the survivors narrate, getting a way of the form and scope of the websites in a manner that might be troublesome to convey with conventional video.

“Just about throughout the board, viewing audiences have been moved by this in ways in which they couldn’t have anticipated,” says museum CEO Susan Abrams. “They really feel like they’re standing there having this intimate one-on-one expertise with this unbelievable human being.”

[Photo: Scott Edwards]The workforce creating the video experiences needed to verify they’d stand the take a look at of time, says Chris Healer, founding father of Eyelash, a design and manufacturing firm that labored on the movies.

“Our aim is to create a bit that folks will proceed to reply to for the following 10 years at the least,” he says. The manufacturing course of took greater than two years and required complicated methods to sew collectively footage of the survivors with drone and different digital camera footage of the Holocaust websites, in addition to illustrations and historic photographs. The movies, which may also be viewable on Google Cardboard and different easy VR headsets for off-site exhibitions at colleges and different areas, have to this point elicited feedback solely in regards to the tales they’re telling, not any technical points, which Healer sees as an indication of success.

“As we present it to individuals, they’re merely into the story, and that’s enormous,” he says.

[Photo: Emily Mohney]For the museum, the VR expertise allows the survivors’ tales to be shared with right this moment’s guests and generations but to be born. As Abrams notes, “I really feel like it is a present from Fritzie and George to humanity.”