WESTERBORK, Netherlands — With almost nothing remaining of the former Nazi transit camp Westerbork, visitors are turning to a simulation that “recreates” the site of Holocaust-era incarceration using virtual reality. During World War II, Westerbork was used by the Nazis to imprison Dutch Jews on their way to “resettlement” in the east — the regime’s euphemism for genocide.
Nearly every Tuesday for two years, a train with hundreds of Jews left Westerbork. Of the more than 100,000 Jews deported from the remote facility, only 5,000 survived the Holocaust.
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Free Sign Up Beginning in the 1960s, the Dutch government dismantled Westerbork, including the inmate barracks and almost every structure from the war era. Massive, highly sensitive radio telescopes were built on-site in 1970, and their operation still prevents cars from approaching the grounds.
With little more to see than the former camp commander’s house preserved in a glass enclosure, visitors typically rely on tour guides and Westerbork’s up-to-date museum, located 2 miles away. Last month, museum staff began piloting a virtual reality (VR) simulation with tour groups, in part to help visitors envision what took place at Westerbork.
Inside a dimmed room with wrap-around screens, volunteers have begun using a console to explore the camp as it appeared between 1942 and the end of deportations in 1944, when Anne Frank and her family were held at Westerbork on the way to Auschwitz-Birkenau. By zooming in and out of the GPS-based model, users can focus on dozens of barracks, several guard towers, and all kinds of camp facilities. Read more from timesofisrael.com…
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