Dimensions in Testimony Interview with Max Eisen Added to IWitness

Thu, 07/14/2022 - 4:29pm

Holocaust survivor and USC Shoah Foundation friend Max Eisen passed away earlier this month, leaving a unique legacy forged by harrowing wartime experiences, 20 return trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau as an educator, and the testimony he gave against two SS guards in Germany beginning in 2015.

The distinguished Canadian’s legacy also includes something else that will last long into the future: a state-of-the-art Dimensions in Testimony (DiT) interview that enables people to ask him questions about his remarkable life and receive real-time responses from pre-recorded video.

Published today on IWitness, USC Shoah Foundation’s globally accessible educational website, Eisen’s DiT is now available at no-cost to educators and students anywhere in the world. His testimony, filmed in Los Angeles over a five-day period in 2019, joins the DiT interviews of Holocaust survivors Pinchas Gutter and Eva Kor on IWitness.

Dimensions in Testimony was developed in 2014 in association with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, with technology by USC Institute for Creative Technologies and concept by Conscience Display. Integration in IWitness is made possible through the generous support of the Snider Foundation.

To date, more than 50 Holocaust survivors and witnesses have been interviewed for Dimensions in Testimony. Debuting with a permanent installation featuring Pinchas Gutter at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in 2015, DiT installations are now featured at 11 museums around the world.

Audience evaluations of the DiT experience have been positive, with feedback demonstrating that interaction with DiT helps users develop empathy and gain understanding and skills that motivate and inspire them to be more responsible citizens in society.

“Max Eisen left a lasting gift to us in his story,” said Dr. Kori Street, Interim Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation. “His legacy will live on through conversations with students and teachers in classrooms around the world on IWitness, and in the hearts of those lucky enough to know him.”

Eisen’s DiT interview is just one of his many important collaborations with USC Shoah Foundation. In 2019, in association with International March of the Living, the Institute

filmed an interview with Eisen at Auschwitz using 360-degree video technology. Watch a video of Eisen’s emotional journey https://bit.ly/3DcEJtU

Eisen first told his story to USC Shoah Foundation in 1995, at age 66. In his testimony, now housed in the Visual History Archive, he talked about his motivation for sharing his experiences with others.

“I've been in touch with many kids, telling them the story… [and] I get so many letters from these kids after I've spoken to them,” Eisen said. “I feel that if I can leave something with a few kids, that it may help future generations to not fall into the same trap.”

Read Max Eisen’s obituary: https://sfi.usc.edu/news/2022/07/33726-we-mourn-max-eisen

Dimensions in Testimony was developed in association with Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, with technology by USC Institute for Creative Technologies, and concept by Conscience Display. Funding for Dimensions in Testimony was provided in part by Pears Foundation, Louis. F. Smith, Melinda Goldrich and Andrea Cayton/Goldrich Family Foundation in honor of Jona Goldrich, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Genesis Philanthropy Group (R.A.). Other partners include CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center

USC Shoah Foundation