Steven Sato – @stevensato | +stevensato

As part of the Middle School curriculum, Country Day students annually visit the Museum of Tolerance.  Students in Seventh Grade see the Anne Frank exhibit while the Eighth Grade students experience the Holocaust exhibit.  This year, RHCDS was privileged to host USC’s Shoah Foundation on our campus as they offered our Middle School Students a deep understanding of the Holocaust through interactive survivor testimony.  Entitled “New Dimensions in Testimony” this is a project that was brought to life through collaboration between USC’s Shoah Foundation and USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies.  

The project filmed Holocaust survivors in a 360 degree light stage while they answered thousands of questions about their life experiences.  The team then created an algorithm that takes plain English questions and matches those questions to answers provided by the survivors.  In simple terms, it’s similar to a search engine where the best result is returned back to the audience from the survivors’ own words; however, it is so much more.  The visual relationship between the survivors’ testimony and the audience learning about them is strong – so strong that many came away feeling as if they knew the survivors personally.

Thank you to Karen Kim for connecting us with Kia Hays, the New Dimensions in Testimony Project Manager.  We are honored to have had this opportunity and our students had an experience that imparted knowledge, compassion and empathy.

USC Shoah Foundation

USC Institute for Creative Technologies