How a Holocaust survivor found childhood photos with the help of AI

During World War II, six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in what became known as the Holocaust. Blanche Fixler was one of the few survivors at the time who could try to live a close to normal life after six years of pain.

As for the millions of people killed in the Holocaust, more than a million of them, unfortunately, remain anonymous. But that data may change, as an AI (artificial intelligence)-guided tool, created by Google software engineer Daniel Patt, is able to recognize people in hundreds of thousands of historical photographs. To give you an idea, she found Fixler in a war photo she had never seen.

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Pratt’s From Numbers to Names website uses facial recognition to analyze each person’s face, then sets out to find photos in its archive that match the analyzed face. .

At the time of publication of this report, on its home page, the portal points out that it currently has more than 500,000 stored photographs. To perform the search in each of them, the user must register for free. For searches without registration, “only” 34,500 photos are available, with more than 171,400 faces identifiable in these images.

He also reports that the photographic collection comes from the American Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem and other online sources. Soon, the platform will also offer video search.

How Fixler Found Childhood Photos

Fixler, now 86, lives in New York, USA. The image below, right, was known to the survivor. However, she ignored the one on the left, taken during France at war and recognized by the tool.

Blanche’s face, left, had been listed as unidentified (Image: US Holocaust Museum)

Like millions of Jews at the time, Blanche Fixler’s childhood was not easy. She was known as Bronia and was living in Poland, just when the Nazis came for her and her family. Her parents were murdered, but her aunt managed to save her.

The photo brought back memories of the past for the survivor – an old French song she learned as a child that had long since been forgotten in her mind.

“It’s really important to identify these photos,” said Scott Miller, the museum’s curatorial director. “You give them back a semblance of dignity, a certain comfort to their family and it is a form of memorial for the entire Jewish community. »

“That’s part of the problem. I can’t stress how important these photos of people are. We all know the number – six million Jews were killed – but it’s actually one person, six million times. “Each person has a name, each person has a face. »

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In the photo subject of this article, Blanche is in the middle of the front row (Image: US Holocaust Museum)

In the photo above, before Fixler saw her, only three people had been identified. Now, thanks to her, the number has reached six.

With information from the UOL

Featured Image: American Holocaust Museum

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How a Holocaust survivor found childhood photos with the help of AI


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