PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new mobile app transforms concrete physical sites into living museums by brining to past to life. The first United States site for the app is along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Created by the USC Shoah Foundation, IWalk guides visitors through the Horowitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza at 16th Street and the Ben Franklin Parkway.
It uses a map with geolocators to link the seven stops along the plaza to contextual historical information with videos accounts of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust.
“These survivors are individuals who settled in Philadelphia,” explained Lesly Culp, head of programs at US Shoah.
Culp says IWalk includes age appropriate historical materials that help educators bring lessons on the Holocaust to life.
“The ultimate goal is to counter hate by understanding the true impact of what hate can lead to and what it can to,” Culp said.
Jennifer Kugler teaches a genocide class to juniors and seniors at John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School.
“My students have always considered it something that happened there and stayed there,” she said. “They have never thought that the woman you met in the store the other day, she could have been a survivor.”
Incorporating what her students use every day into the lesson, Kugler says, will help the story of the Holocaust resonate and bring it closer to home.
“Because they can look at their phones, it’s in a language that they can understand, it’s going to immediately be more relevant to them,” she said.
Kugler says she encouraging all teachers to bring their students for Holocaust Remembrance Day. IWalk is available in your phone’s app store.