Cincinnati's Holocaust & Humanity Center (HHC) is honoring International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27 by unveiling a new story as part of its Dimensions in Testimony exhibit.
Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and posthumous stepsister of Anne Frank, has shared her experience with the museum and recorded it for the exhibit. Schloss' mother Elfriede Geiringer was Otto Frank's second wife (both of their spouses died in concentration camps).
Dimensions in Testimony invites attendees to have virtual “conversations” with Holocaust survivors via artificial intelligence.
Visitors can pose questions to two-dimensional displays of survivors and receive appropriate responses in real-time. Utilizing natural language processing, Dimensions in Testimony selects keywords in the visitor’s question and the searches through hours of testimonial footage for an appropriate response. A section is then played so that the survivor answers the visitor’s question and cultivates a “conversation-like experience.”
Schloss, who was originally slated to appear at the museum in conversation with its CEO Sarah L. Weiss for the HHC's third anniversary at its new location (the HHC relocated from its former headquarters in Kenwood to Union Terminal in 2019), made a virtual appearance instead on Jan. 26 due to the rise in COVID cases. She is now slated to make her way to Cincinnati later in 2022.
Schloss was born Eva Geiringer in Vienna in 1929. In 1938, she and her family fled Austria after Germany annexed the country. They sought refuge in the Netherlands and were former neighbors of Anne Frank and her family in Amsterdam. According to the HHC, Schloss and her family went into hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, like the Franks, and were "later betrayed and sent to Westerbork Concentration Camp and then to Auschwitz II-Birkenau." Schloss's father and brother died in the camp.
The HHC says, "The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27— the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau — as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides."