Extending the Realities of Genocide Memorialization


  • Rozhen Kamal Mohammed-Amin
  • ORCID:
  • Roza Abdallatif Radha


  • Tabin Latif Raouf


  • Niyan Hussein Ibrahim



Memorialization, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented
Reality (AR) Extending Realties


Memorialization refers to preserving and remembering traumatic events and people who
suffered or died during conflict or genocide. It aims at examining past trauma to address
contemporary issues. In addition to documenting and telling facts and truth, memorialization helps with recognizing and honoring those who suffered and preventing “future atrocities through education and advocacy” (Thompson, n.d.). Memorialization plays an important role in post-conflict “reconstruction and redress”. Genocide memorialization can take different forms such as museums, law, documentaries, education, and first-person accounts and testimonies (Bennett, 2020). Most recently, Extended Reality technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) started to push the physical and mental boundaries of genocide memorialization and storytelling. Through an extensive review of the related literature, our paper first surveys AR and VR-based genocide memorialization around the world. Through a selected number of case studies, we will highlight how AR and VR memorialize and engage affected and no-affected people with genocide. Our paper also
discusses the impact of AR and VR-based genocide memorialization.


Albalak, M. (n.d.). Nazi VR: The High-Tech Prosecution of a World War II War Criminal.
Retrieved November 6, 2021, from https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/nazi-vr-thehigh-tech-prosecution-of-a-world-war-ii-war-criminal-2

Alexander, N. (2021a). Obsolescence, Forgotten:“Survivor Holograms”, Virtual Reality, and
the Future of Holocaust Commemoration. Cinergie–Il Cinema e Le Altre Arti.

Alexander, N. (2021b). Obsolescence , Forgotten : “ Survivor Holograms ”, Virtual Reality ,
and the Future of Holocaust Commemoration 1 Introduction : “ Maybe You Should Try
to Reboot .” 19, 57–68. https://cinergie.unibo.it/article/view/12205/12999

A new survey by the Claims Conference found a significant lack of Holocaust knowledge in
the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.claimscon.org/study/

Arora, G., & Palitz, A. (2020). The Last Goodbye.

Arora, G., & PALITZ, A. (2020). The Last Goodbye.

BJ Blazkowicz. (2018). Videogames’ portrayal of the Holocaust does a disservice to both
players and victims. https://www.pcgamesn.com/jewish-opinions-on-nazis-invideogames

Brett, S., Bickford, L., Rios, M., & Sevcenko, L. (2007). Memorialization and Democracy:
State policy and civic action. Memorialization and Democracy: State Policy and Civic
Action. https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-Global-MemorializationDemocracy-2007-English_0.pdf
Ceglio, C. (2019). Courtroom 600: A Virtual Reality Encounter with Evidence of the
Holocaust. https://greenhousestudios.uconn.edu/projects/courtroom-600/#

Collins, H., Allsopp, K., Arvanitis, K., Chitsabesan, P., & French, P. (2020). Psychological
Impact of Spontaneous Memorials: A Narrative Review. Psychological Trauma:
Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000565

Columnist, C. G. (2020). Inside Auschwitz – in 360°/VR. https://cyprusmail.com/2020/07/20/inside-auschwitz-in-360-vr/

Cox, D. (2018). Will “digital resurrections” let us bring back the dead? In the not-toodistant future, chatbots and VR could let us interact with lost friends and relatives.

de Jong, S. (2020). Witness Auschwitz? How VR is changing Testimony. https://publichistory-weekly.degruyter.com/8-2020-4/witness-auschwitz-vr/

Feldshuh, T. (2021). The Last Goodbye. https://mjhnyc.org/exhibitions/the-last-goodbye/
Freid, D. (2019). A VR Model of Auschwitz Helps Catch Nazis.

Freid, D. (2021). Nazi VR. https://davidfreid.com/portfolio/nazi-vr

Gardner, E. (2017). Does a VR Auschwitz simulation cross an ethical line?

Gerardi, M., Rothbaum, B. O., Ressler, K., Heekin, M., & Rizzo, A. (2008). Virtual reality
exposure therapy using a virtual Iraq: Case report. 21(2), 209–213.

Goldman, M. H. (2018). Connecting to History through Augmented Reality.

AND AUTHENTICITY. https://www.vfxvoice.com/vr-in-holocaust-education-balancingtechnology-and-authenticity/

Gregory, S. (2016). Immersive Witnessing: From Empathy and Outrage to Action.

Group, Global Nomad. (n.d.). Siroun: a vertical reality film and teachers guide. Retrieved
November 6, 2021, from https://currikicdn.s3-us-west-

Group, Global Nomads. (2017). Siroun the Virtual Reality Experience.

Group, Global Nomads. (2021). Siroun- A Virtual Reality Experience.

Group, S. (2014). Bergen Belsen guide application.

Gurler, E. E., & Ozer, B. (2013). The Effects of Public Memorials on Social Memory and
Urban Identity. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 82, 858–863.

Herrera, F., Bailenson, J., Weisz, E., Ogle, E., & Zaki, J. (2018). Building long-term
empathy: A large-scale comparison of traditional and virtual reality perspective-taking.
PloS One, 13(10), e0204494.

Hosseini, K. (n.d.). Sea Prayer.

Hughes, I. (n.d.). VR Holocaust Memorial with Zeros2Heroes. Retrieved November 6, 2021,
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhqy-Yky_Q

Jacobs, J. (2011). 2010 paul hanly furfey lecture: Sacred space and collective memory:
Memorializing genocide at sites of terror. Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review,
72(2), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srr023

Javornic, A. (2016). Augmented reality: Research agenda for studying the impact of its media
characteristics on consumer behaviour. ELSEVIER, 30.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0969698915301351#:~:text=Augmented Reality (AR) is a real-time direct or,combines real and virtual objects.

Jones, S. (2021). “Simply a Little Piece of GDR History”? The Role of Memorialization in
Post-Socialist Transitional Justice in Germany. JSTOR, 27, 154–181.

Josman, N., Garacia-Palacios, A., Reisberg, A., Somar, E., L.(Tamar) Weiss, P., & Hoffman,
H. (2006). Virtual Reality in the Treatment of Survivors of Terrorism in Israel.
xRO3smZo0BDMdBYmG4CMdIPfFA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Virtual Reality in
the treatment of survivors of Terrorism in Israel&f=false

Kansteiner, W. (2019). The Holocaust in the 21st Century. In Digital Memory Studies (Issue
September 2017). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315637235-5

Karabegović, D. (2019). Who chooses to remember? Diaspora participation in
memorialization initiatives. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2019.1577473

Lebovic, M. (2020). The ‘virtual’ future of Holocaust education is already here. Holocaust
Museum and Education Center. https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-virtual-future-ofholocaust-education-is-already-here/

Marr, B. (2019). What IS Extended Reality Technology? A simple Explanation For Anyone.
In Forbes (pp. 1–5).

Meholjic, S. (2003). Remembering Srebrenica Memories of Genocide virtual exhibition.
Milk, C., & Arora, G. (n.d.). Clouds Over Sidra.

Mohammed-Amin, R., Katifori, A., & Economou, M. (2021). NOBODY’S LISTENING -
Virtual Reality Exhibition: Impact and Analysis.

Morie, J. F. (2006). Virtual reality, immersion, and the unforgettable experience.
Stereoscopic Displays and Virtual Reality Systems XIII, 6055, 60551X.
Morton, M., & Dabrowski, G. (2021). An Introduction to Extended Reality: What It is and
How It Can Help Your Students Learn (CTE7541). https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-forteaching-excellence/events/introduction-extended-reality-what-it-and-how-it-can-help

Naidu, E. (2017). From memory to Action:A Toolkit for Memorialization in Post-Conflict
Societies. https://www.sitesofconscience.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/07/Memorialization-Toolkit-English.pdf

Nakamura, L. (2020). Feeling good about feeling bad: virtuous virtual reality and the
automation of racial empathy. Journal of Visual Culture, 19(1), 47–64.

O’Brien, E., & Berents, H. (2019). Virtual Saviours: Digital games and anti-trafficking
awareness-raising. Anti-Trafficking Review, 13, 82–99.

Ośka, S. (2010). Auschwitz Birkenau Historyczna Rekonstrukcja VR test - ENV.

P, G. L. O. B. A. L. N. O. M. A. D. S. G. R. O. U. (n.d.). Siroun. Retrieved November 6,
2021, from https://currikicdn.s3-us-west-

Schutte, N. S., & Stilinović, E. J. (2017). Facilitating empathy through virtual reality.
Motivation and Emotion, 41(6), 708–712. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-017-9641-7

Shin, D. (2018). Empathy and embodied experience in virtual environment: To what extent
can virtual reality stimulate empathy and embodied experience? ELSEVIER, 78.

Sindbæk Andersen, T., & Törnquist-Plewa, B. (2017). The Twentieth Century in European
Memory. In The Twentieth Century in European Memory.

Stylianou-Lambert, T., Bounia, A., & Heraclidou, A. (2022). Emerging Technologies and
Museums: Mediating Difficult Heritage. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/enca/books/emerging-technologies-and-museums/9781800733749-item.html

Takahashi, D. (2018). Holocaust Memorial Museum uses augmented reality to make history
visceral. https://venturebeat.com/2018/08/31/holocaust-memorial-museum-usesaugmented-reality-to-make-history-visceral/

UK, T. F. (2017). Virtual Reality and Ethical Issues. https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtualreality/ethical-issues.html

Wang, Z. B., Ong, S. K., & Nee, A. Y. C. (2013). Augmented reality aided interactive
manual assembly design. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing
Technology, 69(5), 1311–1321. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-013-5091-x
Zucker, E., & Simon, D. (2020a). Digital memorialization for a global age.


Zucker, E., & Simon, D. (2020b). Digital Memorialization For A Global Age – Analysis.