Artificial Intelligence

Pupils to ‘talk’ to 3D Holocaust survivors with artificial intelligence technology | UK News

“Never during those dark days of the Holocaust did I ever imagine that one day I would see myself, and my story, immortalised in this way,” Manfred Goldberg, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor, said.

By Claire Gilbody Dickerson, news reporter

School students are to get the chance to understand the horrors of the Holocaust by “talking” to survivors, thanks to Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality.

Amid rising antisemitism in the UK and as the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles, it is hoped the technology will allow for pupils to have a memorable experience of learning about what happened under Nazi Germany for generations to come.

As part of a programme developed by the Holocaust Educational Trust, survivors are being filmed answering 1,000 questions a child could potentially ask when conversing with a 3D version of them.

AI understands the question and then plays the survivor’s recorded answer to give pupils the feeling of a natural conversation with the Holocaust survivor.

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Students at Sacred Heart Catholic School taking part in the programme Pic: Holocaust Educational Trust/PA

Using virtual reality (VR) headsets, students will also be able to explore key sites linked to the survivor testimonies, including their pre-war home towns and the concentration camps where they were imprisoned.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said it is vital young people learn about the Holocaust as conspiracy theories and misinformation continue to be spread on social media.

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That while “we’re just facing the reality that Holocaust survivors are getting older and frailer and fewer”.

Mr Goldberg said AI may mean he will now talk to millions. Pic: Holocaust Educational Trust/PA

Speaking to the Press Association, she said the programme therefore aims to “hold up” the memory of Holocaust and tell pupils “this is the experience of a real person and you can hear about it and see the site that they are talking about”.

Manfred Goldberg, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor from north London, is the first to feature in the programme.

He spent five days being filmed within a green screen rig using special volumetric capture cameras and he answered more than 1,000 questions to ensure his virtual self could respond to almost any question a student may pose.

Manfred Goldberg, a Holocaust survivor, using Testimony 360. Pic: Holocaust Educational Trust/PA

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Mr Goldberg said: “Never during those dark days of the Holocaust did I ever imagine that one day I would see myself, and my story, immortalised in this way.

“I have spoken to thousands of pupils over the years – perhaps now I will make it millions. If this is my legacy, it will be a truly remarkable one.”

The Testimony 360 programme was officially launched on Wednesday at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Camberwell, London.

Virtual testimonies from three other Holocaust survivors are set to be rolled out in schools from 2025.


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