A Holocaust survivor cried as he relived the horrors of the Auschwitz death camp through virtual reality for the first time.
Menachem Haberman, 95, was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 by cattle train and recently participated in a group screening of ‘Triumph of the Spirit’, a virtual reality film that provides an immersive experience of the death camp.
“I felt like I went back to that same period from the beginning,” Menachem said. “I saw all these things, and I remembered some things that to this day I can’t forget.”
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 profound, to all those who can’t go and to as many people as possible.” .
Holocaust survivor Menachem Haberman, 95, takes part in a virtual tour of the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was deported in 1944
Miriam Cohen, creative director and co-founder of Triumph of the Spirit, gestures to a participant during a virtual guided tour of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
More than 1,100,000 people were murdered at Auschwitz, a concentration camp and later extermination camp in Poland used by the Nazis in World War II.
Auschwitz today is a monument and museum, open to the public.
Today, two million 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 supposedly ‘blessed the return of Hungarian rule‘.
However, the 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 flat 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 the gas chambers, while his sister died of illness, leaving him the last member of his family.
He was sent on a death march in January 1945, where many of his friends were killed. The survivors were sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp in Weimar, Germany.
Insufficient food, poor conditions and executions killed 56,545 of the 280,000 prisoners it housed.
During the virtual reality experience, Menachem said he remembered an area where medical experiments were conducted on prisoners and a wall in front of which people were shot.
She cried as she took off her virtual reality goggles.
A group takes part in a virtual guided tour of the former Nazi German Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and pre-Holocaust Polish Jewry using virtual reality headsets
A man takes part in a virtual guided tour of the former Nazi German concentration camp
David Bitton, a 16-year-old Jewish seminary student, saw the film in Jerusalem.
He said, ‘When you see it, it’s like a nightmare you don’t want to be in.’
A poll in 2019 found that 5% of UK adults do not believe the Holocaust happened.
45% did not know how many had died and one in 12 believed that the true number of six million had been exaggerated.
much has been written to debunk the misinformation surrounding the Holocaust.
A World Zionist Organization report ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday describes a rise in global anti-Semitism after the COVID-19 pandemic created a “new reality” as activity diverted to social media.
The three filmmakers behind the project hope that technologies like virtual reality will have a positive impact. They are offering the experience to groups who can book a screening and individual users can watch the film in a mall in Jerusalem.
Viewers get a guided tour of Jewish life in Poland before the Holocaust, visit the Nazi death camp, and then a tour of Israel while hearing stories from survivors.
The virtual reality tour will debut in the UK next week at an event attended by members of the House of Lords.