New tech brings testimonies to Life 75 years after end of World War II

Specially updated edition of acclaimed book ‘Witness’ uses embedded barcodes connecting to video testimony of 75 Holocaust survivors, rescuers or WWII liberators.

Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations (photo credit: Courtesy)
Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations
(photo credit: Courtesy)
To commemorate today’s 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the brutal rule of Nazi Germany, the International March of the Living, with help from the USC Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, has added a unique technology to the latest edition of the book Witness: Passing the Torch of Holocaust Memory to New Generations, providing a living history of the Holocaust. 

In the updated edition of Witness, each photograph of a survivor, rescuer, or WWII liberator is embedded with an invisible barcode. Pointing a smartphone at the image connects the reader to the vivid and full video testimony of the individual pictured. In total, 75 videos housed on the March of the Living or USC Shoah Foundation websites can be accessed with a mobile device. 

Witness author and March of the Living Director of Education Eli Rubenstein said, “The lessons of the Holocaust are timeless. Now more than ever, we need to hear and internalize the stories of survivors, in order to truly understand what can happen when antisemitism, hatred and discrimination are allowed to go unchecked. 

“This latest edition of Witness brings to life the incredible personal stories of survivors, rescuers and liberators, for anyone with a smartphone. As this generation dwindles, which witnessed, survived and defeated the greatest evil in human history, this book could not be more timely.”

Originally published in 2015 and translated into Spanish, Hebrew, and Polish, the 2020 edition of Witness is being launched to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. It has been enriched with an entire section of compelling new liberation stories in print and video, along with additional content honoring those who rescued Jews during World War II. The survivors, rescuers and liberators featured in the book come from across the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Israel. 

In the book’s afterword, Steven Spielberg addresses the survivors, writing, “Your stories are safe with us. They remind not only of your unwavering courage, but also that the days ahead are going to be filled with light and hope.”

The videos linked to survivors’ liberation stories may be viewed at this link.