New Global Partnership Brings Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher’s Experience To Virtual Reality

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Meta, StoryFile, UNESCO, the World Jewish Congress, and the Claims Conference have partnered to create “Tell Me, Inge, an innovative and immersive Extended Reality experience, which shows how Inge Auerbacher survived the Theresienstadt ghetto.

NEW YORK CITY, September 20, 2023 – In partnership with UNESCO, the World Jewish Congress and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), Meta and Storyfile have developed a first of its kind AI-driven, interactive, and immersive experience that brings the experiences of a Holocaust survivor to life in virtual (VR) and extended reality (XR). 

“Tell Me, Inge…” tells the story of Inge Auerbacher, who survived the Terezin (Theresienstadt) Ghetto as a 7-year-old girl. The experience takes viewers on a deeply personal journey through Auerbacher’s life: By combining state-of-the-art conversational video AI technology and hand-drawn 3D-animations, viewers are able to directly engage in a conversation with Auerbacher by asking her questions about her memories featured in the experience. 

“We all want to stay alive forever. My life is a miracle, and it’s my obligation to help and tell my story. My wish is for every child to grow up in peace without hunger or prejudice. Now, I’m not great with tech, but I love new ideas and we’re living in a different age. Children learn in a different way than I did, but you need to get them young! It has to be done with technology today. Let’s make it good stuff, make it interesting. Teach them good things, in their voice and with the tech they want to learn it from”, Inge Auerbacher, Holocaust Survivor, said. 

“Tell Me, Inge…” is free and will be available for audiences to experience via headset, on a desktop, or on a mobile device. The experience is available in English and German and suitable for children of 13 years of age and above. 

US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti Semitism, Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt said: “It is a sobering reality that this current generation will be the last to hear survivors recount their experiences in the first person. Holocaust distortion and denial, pernicious manifestations of antisemitism, are sadly on the rise. This underscores the importance of cutting-edge technology like Tell Me, Inge… that will keep the stories of survivors alive, not just confined to the textbook.”

“Tell Me, Inge..” is a great example of how immersive technologies can help build empathy and encourage people to reflect on the Holocaust education and remembrance. It’s a unique opportunity for people around the world to connect with history, learn from the past, and build a more empathetic future”, explained Nick Clegg, President Global Affairs at Meta.

“Testimony comes in many forms. This is Inge’s testimony: her words, her life, her memory. Technology should always be in service of humanity, not the other way around. “Tell Me, Inge…” encourages younger learners to ask questions, to meet her face to face, and immerse themselves in a world of words and pictures. Along with our partners UNESCO and the World Jewish Congress, we hope that young people all over the world will benefit from all that Inge has to share.” – Stephen D. Smith, CEO, StoryFile  

“Every day, there are fewer Holocaust survivors who can tell us the stories of how they endured the darkest chapter in human history. This innovative educational experience allows their voices to be heard by future generations while explaining the terrible mechanisms that caused the Holocaust, so that we can better prevent genocide,”said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, the leading United Nations agency on Holocaust and genocide education.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said, “Meta’s investment towards the development of this innovative educational tool will help to ensure that people around the world have broad access to historically accurate information about the Holocaust. The World Jewish Congress looks forward to working with our partners on this project and our affiliated Jewish communities so that “Tell me Inge…” can be implemented as a core component of Shoah-related curricula in schools and universities globally.”

Claims Conference President Gideon Taylor said,“it is our moral imperative to ensure future generations have access to the lessons of the Holocaust. To accomplish this, we need to be open to and utilize new ideas and new technologies. This collaboration with world renowned Holocaust educators and global digital innovators is a critical step forward in the fight against Holocaust denial, antisemitism, intolerance and hate. We are proud to be providing the matching curriculum for this project to allow teachers to bring Inge and VR into the classroom.” 

The team behind “Tell me Inge…” worked closely with Holocaust experts and oral historians during and after the production process to ensure accuracy and sensitivity to the subject matter. The program is coming at a time when the world is seeing an increase in both Holocaust denialism and antisemitism.

At the 2021 International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism in Malmö, Meta pledged to use its resources to ensure that Holocaust remembrance, education, and work against antisemitism are reflected in its efforts to build a safer future.