The footsteps of Holocaust survivors come to life in IWalks, USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive testimony-based educational program.
IWalk is an interactive educational program that connects concrete physical locations with memories of historical events that took place on these locations in several European countries. Holocaust survivor and witness testimonies from USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive sources provide the personal aspect of historical events during visits to authentic locations. The designed onsite educational activities support the development of personal connection of students and members of the public to the past – enabling an impact of their actions in the present and the future.
USC Shoah Foundation first launched IWalks in Budapest in 2013 in cooperation with the Zachor Foundation, a local NGO. The program includes peer-to-peer guided walks led by volunteers through the Jewish quarter of Pest – what used to be the Budapest ghetto area – and along the killing sites by the Danube.
Film segments, which participants view on tablet devices during the walk, contain clips of testimony from the Visual History Archive in which survivors discuss their experiences at these very locations.
A new self-guided IWalk has been launched in Czech Republic in cooperation with OpenEye. The IWalk is dedicated to the places connected with the deportations of Prague residents who were labeled as Jews by then-valid racist laws: Radiotrh – the Exhibition Grounds that served as a collection camp for Jews to be transported to the Terezin ghetto – and Veletržní street, where transports were marched to the Bubny train station.
Similar projects focusing on providing Visual History Archive testimony connected to often little-known regional sites of memory are being also prepared in other locations including other countries, in cooperation with local NGOs and partner organizations, such as OpenEye in the Czech Republic and the Museum of History of Polish Jews in Poland.
IWalks are part of USC Shoah Foundation's Pathways to Testimony initiative, in which the Insitute collaborates with existing educational programs to develop customized learning modules incorporating testimony.