Aspen, Colorado, Event Introduces USC Shoah Foundation to New Audience

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 5:00pm

From left, Stephen Smith, Melinda Goldrich and Soljane MartinezUSC Shoah Foundation hosted a special event titled The Digital Future of Holocaust Memory and Education in Aspen, Colorado, yesterday, to introduce new supporters to the work of the Institute.

The event was hosted by Melinda Goldrich, a second-generation Holocaust survivor whose father, Jona Goldrich, gave testimony to the Visual History Archive. Attendees included USC Shoah Foundation Board of Councilors members and survivors as well as locals who have not yet been introduced to USC Shoah Foundation.

Executive Director Stephen Smith began the program by discussing New Dimensions in Testimony, USC Shoah Foundation’s project with USC Institute for Creative Technologies and Conscience Display. New Dimensions in Testimony is a collection of testimonies designed as an interactive educational tool to permit students far into the future to “talk” with Holocaust survivors about their life experiences. The value is to provide an intimate experience with eyewitnesses to history who are uniquely qualified to reflect on life.

At the event, Smith gave a demonstration of New Dimensions. So far, survivor Pinchas Gutter has recorded the first testimony for the project and the technology now allows audiences to ask his 3D virtual image questions and hear his answers in real time.

Following the New Dimensions demonstration, teacher Soljane Martinez spoke to the group about her experiences with IWitness and teaching with testimony. Martinez was one of 25 teachers from around the world who traveled to Poland with USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education on the Auschwitz: The Past is Present program in January. She was also an IWitness Teaching Fellow this summer. Martinez spoke about her experiences in Poland, the blog she wrote during the trip and how The Past is Present affected her teaching. She also shared how she has incorporated IWitness into her curriculum and showed some examples of her students’ work.

Following the event, the organizers hope attendees are inspired to support USC Shoah Foundation and become involved its work.