Future proofing our survivor stories

It’s important for people to learn about history from those who experienced it. There will come a day when there are no longer Holocaust survivors alive to tell their stories. History will always be available to read in text books, but the memory of witnesses is more exact than the history written by those who were not there” Olga Horak OAM (93)

Thanks to current technology, future generations will have the opportunity to experience the stories of history, hope, survival and resilience from six Australian Holocaust survivors. Dimensions in Testimonyis a joint initiative of Sydney Jewish Museum and the USC (University of Southern California) Shoah Foundation which revolutionises the concept of oral history by integrating advanced filmmaking techniques, specialised display technologies, and next-generation natural language processing to provide an intimate and unique experience. Each specially recorded interview enables visitors to ask questions of the survivor about their life experiences, and hear responses in real-time, lifelike conversation. The survivors answered almost one thousand questions over 5 days of filming. This footage will now be post-produced into a range of clips taking almost a year to create each DIT. This extensive and unique project is estimated to cost the Sydney Jewish Museum close to $3m. Norman Seligman, CEO of Sydney Jewish Museum says, “In 2019 our Museum welcomed close to 60,000 visitors, 50% of whom were school students. The highlight and most memorable part of a Museum visit is to meet and hear in person from a Holocaust survivor. For many years we have been planning and preparing for a future when, sadly, we will no longer have survivors with us. The Dimensions in Testimony initiative is the most exciting and definitely the most expensive single project ever undertaken by the Museum in this regard…..Our belief is that it will continue to inspire future generations to learn from the Holocaust and to take a stand against intolerance of any form, in the hope that history will never repeat itself.”
Olga Horak is one of six Holocaust survivors chosen to share their incredible and diverse stories. The remaining participants are Eddie Jaku OAM (101), Kuba Enoch (93), Yvonne Engelman OAM (92), Paul Drexler (82) and Francine Lazarus (82).
Sydney Jewish Museum is one of JCA’s 23 member organisations. Your donation ensures that programs like this exist to educate students and people in the local Jewish and wider Australian community now and for future generations. Thank you for your continued support.