The Museum is mentioned as one of the institutions where Dimensions in Testimony is on view.
By JAMIE STENGLE
DALLAS (AP) — Max Glauben was 17 and had already lost his mother, father and brother at the hands of the Nazis when U.S. troops rescued him while he was on a death march from one German concentration camp to another.
The recollections of the Dallas resident who as a Jew in Poland survived the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps are now being preserved in a way that will allow generations to come to ask his image questions. Glauben, who turns 91 on Monday, is the latest Holocaust survivor recorded in such a way by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation . The Los Angeles-based foundation has recorded 18 interactive testimonies with Holocaust survivors over the last several years, and executive director Stephen Smith says they’re in a “race against time” as they work to add more, seeking both a diversity in experiences and testimonies in a variety of languages.
“I thought that my knowledge could cure the hatred and the bigotry and the killings in this world if somebody can listen to my story, my testimony, and be educated even after I’m gone,” Glauben said.
Smith says that while the foundation founded in 1994 by film director Steven Spielberg has about 55,000 audiovisual testimonies about genocides in dozens of languages — the majority from the Holocaust — the interactive technology stands out for allowing museumgoers to have a dialogue with survivors.
“It’s your questions that are being answered,” Smith said, adding that the replies, especially on weighty issues like forgiveness can be especially poignant. He says, “You actually see sometimes them struggling to know what to answer.”
So far, the foundation has Holocaust survivors speaking in English, Hebrew and Spanish, and the group hopes to get people speaking in even more languages.
“It’s so powerful when it’s in your mother tongue and you’re looking the person in the eye and you are hearing nuanced language coming back that’s your own language,” Smith said.
For more than a year now, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center has featured the survivors’ images in a special theater . Museum CEO Susan Abrams says that when visitors interact with the images , the impact is often obvious: “People get teary; people laugh.”
“Our audience comes to feel that they know these survivors somewhat intimately because they’re having small group conversation, and in that moment, pretty much everything else fades away,” Abrams said.
The Illinois museum is one of four currently featuring the images. Other museums are in Houston, Indiana and New York. The Holocaust museum in Dallas will start showing them starting in September, after it opens in a new location and with a new name — the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.