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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

September 7, 2018  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Film reveals a new reality for Holocaust remembrance


From the Virtual Reality film, “The Last Good Bye,” Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter takes viewers inside a barracks at the Majdanek death camp in Poland. From the Virtual Reality film, “The Last Good Bye,” Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter takes viewers inside a barracks at the Majdanek death camp in Poland. The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg has been selected as one of only four in the nation to premiere a virtual reality film, The Last Goodbye, which enables viewers to virtually walk in the shoes of a Holocaust survivor as he retraces his steps from a railroad boxcar into a Nazi death camp.

The USC Shoah Foundation -The Institute for Visual History and Education, one of the co-producers of the film, selected Jewish museums in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, as well at here to show the 17-minute film in its first museum exhibitions.

All four museums will simultaneously premiere the precedent-setting film on Sunday, Sept. 16. The limited engagement exhibit is expected to remain at the Florida Holocaust Museum through mid- January.


Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter’s visit to the Majdanek death camp in Poland is the subject of the Virtual Reality film, “The Last Goodbye.” Gutter was 10 when he was taken to the camp. Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter’s visit to the Majdanek death camp in Poland is the subject of the Virtual Reality film, “The Last Goodbye.” Gutter was 10 when he was taken to the camp. The Last Goodbye features survivor Pinchas Gutter’s visit to the site of the Nazi death camp Majdanek in Poland. Gutter, 86, is the only member of his family of four to have survived the Holocaust.

Viewers, wearing VR headsets, will get a fully immersive experience, visiting the site with Gutter as he travels in life-sized projections through the railway car, gas chamber, shower room and barracks of Majdanek seven decades later.

“We believe this new technology will enhance Holocaust learning in a world where fewer and fewer survivors still live to share their authentic experiences,” said Elizabeth Gelman, executive director of the Florida Holocaust Museum.

Calling the immersive experience of The Last Goodbye “a game changer for Holocaust education,” Gelman said, “Our goal is to connect one person to one person, bringing the focus away from incomprehensible numbers and to the actual people who were affected.”

First screened at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, the movie is exhibited within an installation created by David Korins, the renowned designer of Broadway hits Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. The Last Goodbye has achieved critical acclaim and received numerous prestigious awards, including two Webby Awards and the Creative Arts Award, VR - Documentary Jury Prize at the 2018 Lumiere Awards.

“Every generation needs to bear witness to these atrocities, but our tools for learning and preservation change. We felt that producing the first Holocaust survivor testimony in room-scale VR would engage audiences in understanding the nature of the Nazi concentration camp system where the SS authorities could murder targeted groups,” said USC Shoah Foundation Finci- Viterbi Executive Director Stephen Smith, who is also one of the film’s producers.

Through the use of VR technology, “We can give viewers the opportunity to explore the space side by side with Pinchas in order to truly understand what this experience was like. It is a powerful way of understanding and emotionally connecting to history,” added Moving Picture Company (MPC) official Tim Dillon, another of the film’s producers.

Capturing Gutter’s testimony on-site and ensuring it was incorporated into the film was itself a feat of innovation. Thousands of photos were stitched together by an expert at MPC to create three-dimensional images of the interiors to scale. Gutter’s video testimony, taken in the same spaces, was then incorporated into the film, providing a vivid environment in which he recounts his heartbreaking story of suffering, loss and survival. It stands as a testament to the strength of the human heart and the enduring power of hope and perseverance.

The Last Goodbye virtual reality film experience is included with the cost of admission to the Florida Holocaust Museum. It is available to one person at a time, with only two time slots offered every hour. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, firstserved basis. The public may contact the museum after Thursday, Sept. 13 at (727) 820-0100, ext. 226, to schedule a viewing.

The museum is located at 55 Fifth St. S., St. Petersburg.


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