Man, where to even start with this one.  So earlier in the year a guy from The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center contacted me about using one of my photos in association with a new, permanent exhibit that it would be launching at the end of the year.  The image he was interested in was my “Inside the Fences” picture, taken at Auschwitz.  While I had no idea in what capacity the museum would be using it, other than it “would be prominently displayed in the museum”, I was understandably excited and humbled that someone would want to use my work for the museum.  Well, this evening was the official launch of the exhibit, and wow, is all I can say.  Not at my photo, but of the exhibit!

The exhibit is the first of its kind, and uses holographic video to tell the stories of seven different holocaust survivors, two of which Holly and I got to hear from and speak to.  Incredibly moving stories in their own right, but at the end of the video, you can ask the survivors questions.  Not the survivors themselves (though we did that too, as they were there in person as I mentioned), but holographic videos of them!  Each survivor spent 8 hours a day, for 5 days sitting in a special video set, with cameras all around them, answering thousands of questions… questions that anyone might ask after hearing their story.  Using a combination of voice recognition software and artificial intelligence, when you ask a question, the holograph responds with the answer.  Crazy, crazy, technology (you can see a still image of the holograph below, it’s one of the survivors sitting in a chair), and absolutely fascinating.  The museum has managed to create and save, in a very life-like manner, the stories of these survivors, which can now be told for generations to come.  That my image is associated with such an amazing thing is absolutely humbling and brings me a lot of pride, even for a contribution as small as it is.  Good stuff!!

–Dan Thompson

Holocaust Museum

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