By Rex Rubin
Heartbreaking, empowering, memorable: all words that describe the amazing virtual reality testimony of Pinchas Gutter, a Holocaust survivor who was detained at Majdanek concentration camp.
In a virtual reality experience titled The Last Goodbye, Pinchas returns to the place where his mother, father, and twin sister were murdered in order to create a final testimony and historical record of his experience. The viewer is with Pinchas as he recalls his father’s protective embrace when Pinchas’s family of four huddled together in a train car packed with other Jews, heading to a destination unknown to the forced travelers: Majdanek. We then walk through Majdanek with Pinchas while he explains various places at the camp, ending with him reciting prayers in front of the Majdanek Memorial site, a mausoleum containing the ashes of 18,000 Jews murdered on that spot in 1943.
Walking through Majdanek with Pinchas is both heartbreaking and terrifying, and you are left with one of the most moving experiences you will ever have. Having lived a life in the shadow of his past, Pinchas visits Majdanek for the last time, to say his last goodbye.
Calling Pinchas Gutter’s testimony for The Last Goodbye moving, articulate, and sob-inducing is an understatement. The Last Goodbye is the most amazing film/virtual reality experience I have ever seen. There is something extraordinary about witnessing the eloquent deposition of Pinchas Gutter that you have to experience first-hand to understand.
Rex Rubin is a high school intern working in the Museum’s education department. He is a tenth grade student at Manhattan’s NYC iSchool.