How were the interactive interviews created?


For the interactive interviews, we travelled to the current places of residence of Kurt S. Maier and Inge Auerbacher. The recordings took place there in specially equipped studios. Each of the two interviews took five days, with eight or nine hours being spent in the studio per day. By the end, the contemporary witnesses had answered around 900 questions. The interviews were conducted in a manner that took into account their later presentation as an interactive medium.


The recording of the interview sessions is followed by a lengthy post-production period. The 900 questions and answers are entered into a database, transcribed and annotated. During the testing phase, over 80 reference groups question the interactive witness, thus training the software. In order not to falsify the testimony, there is no retroactive editing or expansion of the responses. The important thing is that this is not a fictitious format; all responses are conveyed just as they were given by the interviewees.

How do the interactive interviews work?

The questions posed to the interactive interview are converted into text by speech recognition software. Using natural language processing, they are matched with the contents of the database and the most fitting response sequence is played.

Note: Dimensions in TestimonySM is a collaboration between the USC Shoah Foundation and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center using technology from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies based on a concept from Conscience Display. Funding for Dimensions in TestimonySM was provided in part by the Pears Foundation, the Louis. F. Smith, Melinda Goldrich and Andrea Clayton/Goldrich Family Foundation in honour of Jona Goldrich and the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and the Genesis Philanthropy Group (R.A.). Other partner institutions are the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center and the German Exile Archive 1933-1945 of the German National Library.