Updated: Jan 28
Today is the 27th of January, which marks the international commemoration day dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution
The day is also used to mark subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. What is genocide?
Genocide is the crime of killing many people who are all part of one ethnic or religious group, or some sort of similar group, and trying to destroy that group. Genocide is done usually by a group, such as a government, or military group, not by one person or a small number of people. What are you doing about it?
We are working on Project Empathy to help raise awareness about Nazi Concentration Camps.
What is Project Empathy?
Project Empathy's aim is to make the world understand the horrors of racism and antisemitism. The project is made up of two aspects, a remastering of original footage of concentration camps to full-colour HD, and a Virtual Reality Experience.
We are working to remaster and colourise original footage of concentration camps that were taken by allied troops after liberation. The rise of antisemitism, racism and extremist groups that focus on dividing humanity through hate and fear is a threat to all of humanity and it's future. Education is the most powerful tool for building bridges and fighting hate and fear.
The footage was created on the orders of Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower as he knew that if they did not document the camps, people would not believe it had actually happened. Eisenhower was prescient in his concern because Holocaust denial is something that is happening in the world today and is a growing problem. In parallel with this, there is an increase in blaming others for problems and seeing an increase in disdain for people from other cultures to their own. Below is an example of footage that has undergone some basic processing to remaster it.
Why Project Empathy?
There is a growing rise in the number of racist and antisemitic incidences worldwide. The belief that one human being is worth less than someone else is detrimental to humanity as a whole. There is a worrying rise in the number of people denying the holocaust took place, or that Nazi Concentration camps weren’t as bad as people have been told. This is why we are working to remaster and colourise original footage of Nazi Concentration camps. Black and white footage can often be seen as not “real” which is why they are able to show people that have been killed in black and white war footage from WW1 and WW2 in schools as the old footage and black and white makes it seem unreal and that these weren’t real people. Having full HD colour footage creates an impact on the viewer of footage. If it is in full HD colour, people can more easily connect and empathise with the people in the footage.
The plight of the victims of concentration camps during World War 2 should never be forgotten. However, with everything else going on in the modern world, many people don't understand or know much about that horrible time in human history. Of course, people do visit the remains of the camps to this day, but not everyone is capable of doing so. Project Empathy will be intended to be an educational experience, developed in UE4, with VR as the primary platform, available for free, worldwide.
We are producing a Virtual Reality experience collaborating with a group of people who are experts in VR simulation and other media, to experience the brutal realities of a Nazi Concentration Camp. The idea is so people can understand the horror as close to first hand as possible without actually being there. The VR user will be a passive observer seeing the inhumanity of the camps, they can look at objects which have connections and stories to real people. The team has discussed creating the VR experience to be as photo-realistic as possible.
Why are you creating a Virtual Reality Experience?
Not everyone has the chance to visit the concentration camps. Most of the camps were also destroyed after the war. Even if people can visit the camps, it can be hard to empathise with the reality of someone living in the camp. The aim of the project is to give people as close to the first-hand experience as possible of the conditions that people experienced in the camps.
You can support us by donating below:
You can find out more about the UK Holocaust Memorial Day by visiting the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website: https://www.hmd.org.uk/