“The Future Memory Foundation seeks to conserve and present the history of Nazi crimes and the Holocaust in the service of education and reflection on the past, present, and future of the human condition. We believe that now that we are entering the post witness era we have to resort to advanced technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality to make the sites themselves become the portal to the historical sources. This approach is based in a scientifically grounded view of human memory and experience” Manifesto Saving the Past Shaping the Future
Saving the Past – Shaping the Future
An initiative to preserve, present and project the history of Nazi crimes and the Holocaust through the sites of the European landscape of terror.
The Problem: Europe’s memory crisis in the absence of witnesses
We are facing the end of the “age of the witness”. Over the last seventy years, witness and survivor testimonies were fundamental for the commemoration of Holocaust crimes. They have connected subsequent generations with this horrifying past and were pivotal in anchoring it in the collective memory. However, we are now facing the end of the age of the witness given their mortality. Existing memorial sites or museums offer a traditional historiographical approach. In particular, they have not included the multiplicity of campsites all-over Europe as grounded in the physical landscape of terror integrated with pertinent historical sources (e.g. images, maps, construction plans) and personal descriptions (e.g. from testimonies and diaries). As a result, the systemic, global characteristics of the process of Nazi crimes has been lost.
The Task: Reconstructing the spatial structure of Nazi terror
We propose to use virtual and augmented reality techniques to reconstruct sites of Nazi crimes and their interrelated structure. These reconstructions will be tied to a vast amount of historical material such as eyewitness accounts, official documents, photos and artifacts that will all be digitized and suitably contextualized. This network of the sites of the landscape of terror will be accessible through both physical and virtual visits and describe the system, process, and impact of Nazi crimes. Hence, by using advanced digital humanities technologies, we will conserve, develop and present the memory of the Holocaust for future generations. A starting-point has been set and implemented at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial beginning in 2010.
Installations description available @ Memory in the Digital Age
For the first time ever, a three-dimensional, virtual model of the former camp that was fully destroyed after its liberation, has been constructed and presented within a three-wall-projection space. This immersive interactive presentation has been linked with a mobile tablet-based application that allows visitors to physically visit the former campsite and perceive and experience the historical spatial structures and details of fences, buildings and camp sections as part of the landscape. Most importantly, multiple geo-localized sources are accessible opening an in-depth perspective into the use and experience of this node in the landscape of terror. Hence, space as a portal to information, providing a context for reflection and meaning generation.
2019. The Falstad Center – geolocated digital reconstruction
The Falstad center is one of the seven national human rights centers in Norway and it is a museum, a memorial and educational center where activities on human rights and democracy based upon its history as prison camp from World War II are offered every year to thousands of students ranging from 15-18 years.
“The SS Strafgefangenenlager Falstad was established in 1941, and until liberation on seven May 1945, more than 4300 political prisoners, Jews, Soviet and Yugoslavian slave laborers were imprisoned at what was the only SS operated camp in Norway. More than 200 prisoners were executed in the Falstad forest, located 1 km from the campsite. Before the establishment of the Strafgefangenenlager in 1941, the main building was a reformative school for boys, including a special facility for convicted youth. Immediately after the liberation, the Innherrad collaborator camp was established at Falstad, with over 3000 convicted collaborators serving their sentence in the same buildings that once housed the prisoners of the Nazi regime.” read more here
As members of the EU-funded HERA research project IC_ACCESS: Inclusive strategies for European conflicted pasts, the Falstad center, and the SPECS research group, at the Institute of Science and Technology IBEC) agreed to jointly develop the Future Memory App of SS Strafgefangenenlager Falstad 1945, targeted towards students, visitors and educational programs as well as museum visitors to the memorial. In addition, Eodyne Systems s.l. took charge of the technical realization of the FMA which was launched in the summer 2018 and used daily ever since.
2019. Hollandsche Schouwburg, Amsterdam
In January 2019 the immersive future memory installation presenting the history of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp was opened in the Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam the Netherlands. The content of the exhibition was co-developed with the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam and the Bergen Belsen Memorial. It is part of three installations that serve as an initial test for the Dutch National Holocaust Museum to be opened in 2020. The Hollandsche Schouwburg was used in 1942 and 1943 by the German occupiers of the Netherlands as a deportation center for about 70000 Jews of which only a few thousand have returned in 1945.
2019. Jasenovac Memorial
The virtual reconstruction is interpreted from historical data provided by several research institutional sources and historians in Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and others.”
2018. Falstad (Norway)
The Future Memory app for the Falstad memorial was launched in June 2018. It presents the visitor with a virtual reconstruction of the former concentration camp together with a multi-modal presentation of its history and the experiences of its prisoners. The app provides high levels of graphical details and also the ability to enter the virtual buildings and comprises phase one of a longer collaboration.
Falstad Digital Reconstruction and V/AR guide, 2018.
Visitors can experience
The video shows in detail how the app can be used and what the visitors can experience. Falstad was the only SS concentration camp in Norway and is located northeast of Trondheim.
2016. The Bergen Belsen Educational app
2015. The Virtual Reality Reconstruction of the Bergen Belsen camp:
The installation is opened to the public at the Wiener Library, London. April – October 2015
2014. The Bergen Belsen app on-site with augmented reality