CHICAGO -- Meet Pinchas Gutter, an 83-year-old man whose life story -- and experiences through the holocaust -- is breaking new ground in technology.
Pinchas was 11 when his family was killed. He survived by lying about his age.
"I stuck to my father like glue; he actually took me with him to the men," says Pinchas. "If I had been pushed toward children, I wouldn’t be here today. So in a way he saved my life."
His story is a tragic and fascinating piece of history he is more than happy to tell. Go ahead and ask him.
Virtual Pinchas currently resides at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Ill., the first place in the world to beta test "new dimensions in testimony," a seemingly living, breathing Siri-like interactive program pioneered by the USC Shoah Foundation.
And the range of questions Pinchas can answer is astounding. Right now Pinchas is two-dimensional and answers questions delivered through a moderator and microphone. Eventually going 3-D he will take questions from anyone around him -- even the ones he’s reluctant to answer.
But he has plenty to say about history, Nazi occupation and his life. Stories which – with this technology – will live on long after Pinchas. Because the museum in Skokie has the largest bureau of holocaust speakers in the world, it was the perfect place to introduce the technology, which is helping grow a deeper understanding of what survivors experienced.
Three local holocaust survivors are going to record their stories in the next month or two; they will eventually join Pinchas in a permanent exhibit at the museum.
The public will have the opportunity to experience question & answer sessions with Pinchas every Saturday through the end of September, from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm.