A Holocaust survivor has cried as he experiences the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp for the first time through virtual reality.
Menachem Haberman, 95, was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 on a cattle train and recently took part in a group viewing of “The Triumph of the Spirit”, a virtual reality film offering an immersive experience of the death camp. dead.
“I felt like I was going back to that same period from the start,” Menachem said. “I saw all those things and remembered some things that I can’t forget to this day.”
The film’s co-creator, Miriam Cohen, 30, said she made “Triumph of the Spirit” to “bring this experience, which can be so powerful and so profound, to all those who cannot go there and to as many people as possible”.
Holocaust survivor Menachem Haberman, 95, takes a virtual guided tour of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was deported in 1944
Miriam Cohen, creative director and co-founder of Triumph of the Spirit, waves to an attendee during a virtual guided tour of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp
More than 1,100,000 people were killed at Auschwitz, a concentration camp and later an extermination camp in Poland used by the Nazis during World War II.
Auschwitz is today a memorial and a museum, open to the public.
Today, two million people visit each year to learn about the systematic murder of Jews, Poles, Roma and other groups.
When the Hungarians annexed his hometown of Munkács on November 10, 1938, the town’s Jews were said to have “blessed the return of Hungarian rule.”
However, Jewish communities were persecuted, beaten and robbed, and forced to work. Menachem Haberman’s father was sent to the Eastern Front.
In 1944, Menachem and 20 members of his family were sent to live in a two-bedroom apartment in the Munkács ghetto.
They were deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp months later, where he was separated from his family.
Menachem’s mother and five siblings were sent to gas chambers, while his sister died of illness, leaving him as the last member of his family.
He was sent on a death march in January 1945 where several of his friends died. The survivors were sent to Buchenwald concentration camp in Weimar, Germany.
Insufficient food, poor conditions and executions claimed the lives of 56,545 of the 280,000 prisoners it housed.
During the virtual reality experience, Menachem said he recalled an area where medical experiments were being carried out on prisoners and a wall in front of which people were shot.
He cried as he took off the virtual reality goggles.
A group takes a virtual guided tour of the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Polish Jewish community before the Holocaust using virtual reality headsets
A man takes a virtual guided tour of the former German Nazi concentration camp
David Bitton, a 16-year-old Jewish seminary student, watched the film in Jerusalem.
He said, “When you look at it, it’s like a nightmare you don’t want to be in.”
A 2019 poll found that 5% of British adults do not believe the Holocaust happened.
45% did not know how many had been killed and one in 12 thought the true figure of six million had been exaggerated.
Much has been written to discredit misinformation surrounding the Holocaust.
A World Zionist Organization report ahead of Friday’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day describes a surge in global anti-Semitism after the COVID-19 pandemic created a ‘new reality’ as activity escalates. is diverted to social networks.
The three filmmakers behind the project hope technologies like virtual reality will have a positive impact. They offer the experience to groups who can book a screening and individual users can watch the film at a mall in Jerusalem.
Viewers are given a guided tour of Jewish life in Poland before the Holocaust, visit the Nazi extermination camp, and then a tour of Israel while hearing stories of survivors.
The VR Tour will premiere in the UK next week at an event attended by members of the House of Lords.