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Yad Vashem is Using AI to Restore the Memory of the Shoah

By 08/14/2023 4:42 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


The world’s greatest database of Holocaust documentation is being combed through with the aid of cutting-edge AI technology, according to an announcement made on Sunday by Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

This technology includes a new picture-detecting capacity. This new development occurs at a time when Holocaust denial and trivialization are becoming more widespread.

Yad Vashem has amassed 224 million pages of material in the seven decades since its founding, together with more than 500,000 images and almost 135,000 written, audio, and video testimonials from the Shoah. According to Esther Fuxbrumer, head of Yad Vashem’s software development division, “a human being could not go over all the material, which houses a treasure trove of material for the world in terms of Holocaust education.”

She noted that Yad Vashem started an innovative tech project two years ago called “AI in the Service of Holocaust Remembrance” that has been put into practice over the past few months to make it easier for users to access the massive amounts of information in its archives.

A separate Natural Language Processing (NLP) model, specifically tuned to Hebrew, can recognize people, dates, and places from the millions of sheets of testimony and connect them.

It also has an image-processing capability that can quickly comb through hundreds of thousands of photographs.

The Yad Vashem personnel recently received a call from the family of a Holocaust victim who died in Auschwitz in 1942, concerned that a photo the family had provided decades earlier had not been included in the archive database alongside the Page of Testimony owing to a mistake made by a human, Fuxbrumer recalled.

The IT staff at Yad Vashem was able to quickly find the incorrectly cataloged photo from its sizable collection of more than 500,000 photos by using a low-quality copy of the original image.

She added that a human eye just needed to select the photo from a small number of potential candidates that the software had already chosen.
“Our commitment to utilizing cutting-edge technology gains even greater significance due to the unparalleled wealth of historical documentation housed within our archives, which stands as the world’s largest documentation of Holocaust-related records,” stated Simmy Allen, a Yad Vashem representative.

The size of this archive treasure trove demands a novel date processing strategy that would be practically impossible to find manually. Technology is a strong ally in our pursuit,” Allen continued.

Of the more than six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis and their allies, Yad Vashem has recorded the names of 4.8 million of them.


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