Voices of the Forgotten Holocaust Museum
Out now in Fortnite.
Island Code: 1511-8598-6202
Available now in Fortnite
Making Museums accessible to all.
Part of Luc Bernard's vision to bring Holocaust education to everyone worldwide free of charge, he saw the problem that 80% of Americans have not been able to visit a Holocaust Museum.
Bernard's point is a good one that boils down to putting educational material in any context where there are eyeballs to see it. Museums are also a unique way of telling a story, one with its own logical steps and illustrations of what the words and figures actually mean. The museum has interactive elements and exhibits on a wide range of topics related to the Holocaust, including some that Bernard feels have been overlooked in the past, such as Sephardi Jews in North Africa. One of the screens shared by Bernard shows an exhibit on Abdol Hossein Sardari, an Iranian ambassador who used his position to issue thousands of passports to Jews trying to escape France (crucially, Sardari ensured the passports did not identify their holders as Jewish).
The addition of the museum in Fortnite is an extension of Bernard's efforts to offer educational gaming experiences about the Holocaust. At a time when awareness of this historical event remains crucial, and technology poses the risk of obscuring its significance, the initiative becomes even more meaningful. Earlier this year, Bernard expressed concern about the potential misuse of artificial intelligence to undermine the historical truth of the Holocaust to iNews, emphasizing that AI-generated content could distort existing visual evidence and challenge the authenticity of the events.
“80% of Americans haven’t visited a museum,” Bernard says. Looking at the huge budgets of Holocaust museums, he couldn’t question the effectiveness of in-person museums as an educational tool. “Okay then, let’s make a digital museum in one of the biggest video games that’s around. It’s that simple.”
After extensive research, Bernard and his team have come up with an elegant interactive museum exhibition within the Fortnite game. The player zips around the museum and can find information on a range of Holocaust topics, including some that Bernard feels have too often been left out of traditional exhibitions.
FORTNITE AND HOLOCAUST EDUCATION: DR. JACOB LABENDZ IN THE NEW YORK TIMES
“I would encourage everyone to consider the striking potential of Luc Bernard’s forays into Holocaust education on gaming platforms. We face a number of challenges, not the least of which is the slow passing of the survivor generation. We also must reorient ourselves to the needs and socialization patterns of younger people around the world. Luc has forced us all to consider new and untested modalities with tremendous promise. As one might expect, major players have responded with cautious interest and a measure of ambivalence. On the one hand, the move to virtual space signals a step towards democratization. That facilitates wider communication, but weakens the control of major stakeholders over what may be said and how. This brings me to the other hand, one absolutely pertinent to Luc’s experience doing this work. I do not mean to slander all gamers at all, but it is from within parts of this broad and global community that much of the Alt-Right emerged. This accounts for the high levels of harassment that Luc has faced. In the end, I’m excited for how we may develop these new technologies and approaches as a community.”