The way they were

‘Deepfakes’ of Holocaust victims beamed onto Habima for Remembrance Day

‘Resurrected’ project at central Tel Aviv square features visages and voices of six people who perished at hands of Nazis, including Anne Frank, Janusz Korczak

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

The outer walls of Tel Aviv’s Habima Theater were illuminated Wednesday night with giant AI-generated footage of Anne Frank and other Jewish Holocaust victims telling passersby about their lives and fates.

The projection, beamed for a single night Wednesday ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 6, used so-called “deep fake” artificial intelligence technology to manipulate images and recorded voices of the six victims of various ages to make it seem like they are speaking about themselves in Hebrew.

Aside from Frank, the diarist who perished at 15 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, “Resurrected” also featured the likeness and story of educator Janusz Korczak, who ran a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw through 1942 and was killed in the Treblinka death camp at age 64.

The project also included lesser-known victims, such as Hannah Levin, who saved dozens in the Warsaw Ghetto and was killed at age 19; David Berger, a member of the Akiva Zionist youth group who was killed in Vilna at age 19 after writing to his girlfriend about his wish to be remembered; and Moshe Flinker, a deeply religious teenager from Brussels who kept a diary in Hebrew and was killed at 16 at Auschwitz.

Franceska Mann, a Polish Jewish ballerina who sparked a female uprising at Auschwitz and was killed at age 26, is also included as one of the six profiles projected on the theater’s walls.

The installation was organized by the Shem VeNer non-profit organization, which works with Habima and the Tel Aviv municipality to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive.

The projections face Habima Square, a large public space outside the national theater which has become a central gathering place for activists and others in the center of the city.

Most Popular
read more: