About Dimensions in Testimony
In Sweden, Elisabeth Citrom and Tobias Rawet, both survivors of the Holocaust, have been documented for the project. The two Swedish-language versions were launched in summer 2022 by the Swedish Holocaust Museum.
What is Dimensions in Testimony?
Dimensions in Testimony is a documentary form that makes it possible to hold virtual conversations with survivors of the Holocaust. The project has filmed structured, in-depth interviews with survivors using advanced video technology. This video material is then made interactive using a system based on artificial intelligence (AI). As a result, we can ask survivors questions and receive answers in real time. This method of documentation has been developed by the USC Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Two Holocaust survivors have been interviewed in Sweden using the technique, Elisabeth Citrom and Tobias Rawet. The two Swedish-language versions of Dimensions in Testimony were launched in summer 2022 and are now available nationwide. Elisabeth and Tobias will still be able to answer questions about their testimony long after the last survivor has passed away.
Video interviews as interactive experience
The method is based on conducting and videoing interviews in a structured form. Interviewees are asked just over 1,000 questions at each interview. Once documented, questions and answers are processed by an AI-based system. The interactive system is then built over time using semiautomated machine learning and advanced speech recognition.
The system is then tested over the course of several years by inviting as many people as possible to ask the survivors questions digitally. Each new question received by the system is matched to the answer that best corresponds to the question. The more questions asked of the installation, the better the dialogue will work. Among other things, Dimensions in Testimony will allow schoolchildren to approach the subject of the Holocaust interactively, by asking survivors their own questions.
'This means that knowledge about the worst crimes of World War II will live on forever,' says Tobias Rawet, one of the Swedish Holocaust survivors who has testified, in a press release from National Historical Museums.
The Swedish Holocaust Museum versions of Dimensions in Testimony are available on the museum website. They will also be available as a physical installation when the museum opens to the public in summer 2023.
'I am both grateful to the Swedish Government for supporting our initiative to produce a Swedish version of Dimensions in Testimony, and proud that Jewish Culture in Sweden is part of this international project. The weeks I spent in the studio with Tobias Rawet and Elisabeth Citrom were a directly life-changing experience for me,' says Lizzie Scheja, director of Jewish Culture in Sweden, in a press release from The National Historical Museums of Sweden.
The production of the two Swedish testimonies is a collaboration between National Historical Museums, Jewish Culture in Sweden and the USC Shoah Foundation in the United States. Beta testing has been conducted in collaboration with Malmö Museer. Technology and methodology development has been assisted by the USC Shoah Foundation in collaboration with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Conscience Display, the Pears Foundation, Louis F Smith, Melinda Goldrich and Andrea Cayton/Goldrich Family Foundation in honour of Jona Goldrich, Genesis Philanthropy Group (R.A.), and CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Thus far, Dimensions in Testimony has documented the testimonies of some 50 people around the world.
This text refers to a press release from National Historical Museums. The press release is available at https://shm.se/en/dimensions-in-testimony-in-swedish-premiering/