App brings stories of dead soldiers to life

App brings stories of dead soldiers to life

Visitors to IDF military cemeteries can now scan a memorial stone and learn about the soldier buried there

Screenshot of the 'Remembering Them All' app (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Screenshot of the 'Remembering Them All' app (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Remembering Them All, an app released on the eve of Memorial Day and distributed for free by the Defense Ministry on its IDF memorial site, lets users scan the memorial stones at Mt. Herzl Military Cemetery and bring up an information page on the soldier buried there. The app uses pictures, text and video to help Israelis learn the personal stories of IDF soldiers who fell in battle defending the country.

The app is similar to one the IDF distributed several years ago, which allowed users to scan bar codes on army memorial stones using a QR reader and load the official memorial page for that soldier on the IDF’s “Nizkor” (We Remember) page. The new app will be able to load information from the Nizkor site and other sources as well, creating a “virtual reality” interface with photos and even videos of the soldier.

All IDF soldiers, police and special security force personnel killed in the line of duty since 1948 and buried at Mt. Herzl are included in the app. Besides scanning memorial stones, users can also type in the name of a soldier and bring up the data about him. The app includes a map showing the location of the soldier’s grave.

The app is available for all iOS and Android devices, developers said. The app can “read” the memorial stones at Mt. Herzl Cemetery, although by next Memorial Day, the app will include information on all 23,000+ IDF soldiers who died during the course of their service.

The app was conceived by David Ansbacher, who owns Otzarot, an educational tourism company, and has led many groups on tours of Mt. Herzl. The app was developed under the leadership of Yossi Ackerman, a former president of Elbit, who sought to memorialize the life of his own father, a reserve soldier who fought in the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars, and was killed by a terrorist in 1975. Ackerman worked with developers from Qualcomm to build the app.

“This app will enable many visitors to Mt. Herzl and other military cemeteries to learn in depth the stories of the lives of those who fell defending the country, with clear and up to date accounts of their lives and activities in the army,” said Ackerman. “Our intention is to educate the public on the amazing stories that the monuments in IDF military cemeteries represent.”

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