Press Coverage

China Daily, May 10, 2017

To ensure the world that each of us won't forget the dark chapters of history, such as the Holocaust and World War II-related atrocities, a group of technology-savvy scholars and researchers is creating audio-visual accounts with survivors and witnesses.

The Observer, May 5, 2017

Where “Blackout” thrives in the present, “The Last Goodbye” takes a look into the past. A co-production between Gabo Arora and Ari Palitz of Here Be Dragons, the USC Shoah Foundation, MPC VR and OTOY, the experience follows Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter as he toured the Majdanek Concentration Camp in July 2016 to cope with the loss of his family. The documentary-style piece entails the viewer visiting the camp with Gutter and exploring it in ways never seen before, all while listening to his heart-wrenching story of perseverance and loss.

Filmmaker Magazine, May 1, 2017

Perhaps the most powerful piece at this year’s Storyscapes, the Tribeca Film Festival’s annual survey of the biggest and best in new virtual reality work, was The Last Goodbye. The pieces’s concept is both simple and ambitious: to have a Holocaust survivor guide the viewer in a tour of the concentration camp where he was interned over seven decades ago.

ABC 7 IWitness News Chicago, April 30, 2017

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is using new technology to tell the stories of 13 Holocaust survivors, including 7 from Chicago. The technology takes first-hand survivor accounts to create interactive holograms, which allow for visitors to ask questions and get answers - long after the survivors have passed on.

IEEE Spectrum, April 28, 2017

Studios invested heavily in magnetic-tape storage for film archiving but now struggle to keep up with the technology

Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2017

One of the great questions — in life, not just in VR — is how we’ll memorialize victims of mass tragedy. Technology offers myriad tools, but how to use them so that they’re effective and not exploitative? Specifically, this has been a question involving the Shoah — how will the murder of 6 million people be marked when the day comes that anyone old enough to have lived through it will have died? As the youngest survivors approach 80, it’s more than a hypothetical.

Techzone 360, April 28, 2017

As the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This warning has quickly become a staple of history classes around the world, and is why it’s so important to acknowledge the wrongful actions of our past. However, reading about genocide and war in a history book isn’t quite as powerful as hearing it talked about by veterans and survivors. That’s why assemblies and speeches tend to be so powerful—there’s something about listening to someone who lived through a particular piece of history that makes it much more personal and real.

Metro, April 27, 2017

During the election, teachers around the US struggled with issues arising in their classrooms — new kinds of bullying, confusion between fact and fiction, fear. And in the 100 days since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, those topics only continued to generate challenges for teachers. The organization USC Shoah Foundation heard those concerns and developed an initiative called “100 Days to Inspire Respect” to support learning through Trump’s first 100 days in office.

The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, April 27, 2017

All of the University of Southern California (USC) Shoah Foundation’s educational resources about the Armenian Genocide can now be found on the IWitness website that launched on April 17, one week before the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Washington Post, April 27, 2017

There are several parallel stories told in the documentary “Finding Oscar.” The main one lays out, with traditional means, the horrific circumstances of a 1982 atrocity perpetrated by Guatemalan army commandos against the residents of a small Guatemalan village. Taking its name from the location of the raid, the so-called Dos Erres massacre left 250 civilians dead — many of them unceremoniously dumped down a well, with some thrown in while still alive — by a squad of elite military operatives, known as Kaibiles. The Kaibiles had gone in search of guerrillas they suspected of having recently ambushed government soldiers during the country’s long-running civil war with rural leftist rebels.

The Verge, April 26, 2017
Virtual reality is far from what anyone would call an established medium, but at events like this week’s Tribeca Film Festival, it’s a mainstay. Since awarding early VR journalism pioneer Nonny de la Peña a grant in 2013, the Tribeca Film Institute has developed a full-fledged interactive art section known as Tribeca Immersive, where all but one of this year’s 30 experiences involve virtual reality.
Gizmodo, April 26, 2017

It’s really easy to mess up a film project about the Holocaust. The wrong tone, the wrong direction, and it can all go horribly awry. Add cutting-edge technology operated by unskilled hands to a topic as devastating as survivor testimony, and you could have a disaster. Fortunately, the VR film The Last Goodbye, which debuted at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, gets it right.

Motherboard, April 25, 2017
The last living Holocaust survivors are dying. Can technology keep their testimonies alive?
Haaretz, April 24, 2017
In 'The Last Goodbye' at the Tribeca Virtual Arcade this month, the viewer wears a virtual-reality headset as a survivor recounts his ordeal at Majdanek. It’s an experience more authentic than 'Shoah,' its producer says.
CNN, April 24, 2017
I've done a lot of interviews as a reporter, but none like the conversation I had with Pinchas Gutter. Gutter is an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives in Toronto -- and I spoke with a digital version of him. Gutter was the first to participate in a new format being pioneered by the USC Shoah Foundation. He sat in 2014 for more than 20 hours of interviews, recorded by 116 cameras, and answered about 1,500 questions.
Forbes, April 24, 2017

I finally had a chance to sample the VR and MR experiences offered by  New York's prescient Tribeca Film Festival, which added the immersive Arcade last year, and has guided it skillfully into the one of the world's greatest showcases of VR art, installations and storytelling. Like their film festival, some featured experiences will have a long and prosperous life, some may end up in museums, and some will be once-in-lifetime experiences, site specific experiments without a business model. If you're in New York and at all interested in the transformative potential of Virtual Reality, Tribeca has assembled a extremely well curated sampling of the state consumer VR experiences coming to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung VR.

Canadian Jewish News, April 24, 2017
Pinchas Gutter sits comfortably in a chair, his hands resting in his lap, and answers questions about his Holocaust experience with ease. His young interlocutors nod, cradle their chins and think of more queries. But this is no ordinary Q&A session between a survivor and young people. Gutter is not actually there, though the 85-year-old may as well be.
Engadget, April 22, 2017

You've read about the Holocaust in books and seen it portrayed in films. But it's another experience entirely to walk through the site of a concentration camp in virtual reality, led by a survivor who lost his entire family there. The Last Goodbye, which debuts at the Tribeca Film Festival this week, follows Pinchas Gutter as he makes his final pilgrimage to Majdanek, a former Nazi Germany extermination camp in occupied Poland. It's a trip he's made many times, but this one has a specific purpose: to capture his account of the Holocaust so we never forget that it actually happened.

Wired, April 20, 2017

Pinchas Gutter has returned to Majdanek at least a dozen times, but this trip is his final one to the onetime Nazi concentration camp. His first was one he was 11, when he was taken to Majdanek; now he’s 85 years old, and this is the last time he’ll come here to tell people what the Nazis did to his family. As he rides up to the shuttered camp in the backseat of a chauffeured sedan, he talks about why he’s told his story so many times. Without that living, breathing reminder, the Holocaust becomes easy to forget—or even deny. Without personal accounts, Gutter says, it’s hard for people to accept its atrocities as “the gospel truth.”

Jewish Journal, April 20, 2017

In the spring of 2011, David Benson, found himself walking with his grandmother, Holocaust survivor Sidonia Lax, down the “black path” that once led to the crematorium at the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland. It was Lax’s fifth trip with the annual International March of the Living as a survivor, with the Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) teen delegation, his first as part of a large family contingent with the BJE Los Angeles adult group.

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