(May 8, 2020 / JNS) To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany on May 8—International March of the Living—a book about the era just got an upgrade, or rather, an upload.
With help from the USC Shoah Foundation founded by film director and producer Steven Spielberg, the latest edition of the book Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations, is embedded with invisible barcodes to literally make a living history of the Holocaust.
In the updated edition, each photograph of a survivor, rescuer or World War II liberator is embedded with a barcode. Pointing a smartphone at the image, enabled with the free Digimarc app, connects the reader to the vivid and full video testimony of the individual pictured.
Overall, 75 videos housed on the March of the Living or USC Shoah Foundation websites can be accessed with just a mobile device.
“The lessons of the Holocaust are timeless. Now more than ever, we need to hear and internalize the stories of survivors, in order to truly understand what can happen when anti-Semitism, hatred and discrimination are allowed to go unchecked,” said Witness author and March of the Living director of education Eli Rubenstein.
“This latest edition brings to life for anyone with a smartphone the incredible personal stories of survivors, rescuers and liberators,” he continued. “As the generation that witnessed, survived and defeated the greatest evil in human history dwindles, this book could not be more timely.”
Originally published in 2015 and translated into Spanish, Hebrew and Polish, Witness in its 2020 iteration is being launched to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. It has been enriched with an entire section of new liberation stories in print and video, along with content honoring those who rescued Jews during the Second World War.
The featured survivors, rescuers and liberators come from around the globe, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Israel.
There is also an afterword by Spielberg, while the preface features Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II.
Spielberg directed the award-winning 1993 war drama “Schindler’s List,” which brought the Holocaust to general audiences the world over.
In the afterword, Spielberg addresses the survivors, saying, “Your stories are safe with us. They remind not only of your unwavering courage, but also that the days ahead are going to be filled with light and hope.”
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