Immersive Holocaust Education

Judah is an MFA in Design & Technology from the Parsons School of Design. Judah Mantell, Frisch ’19, is the founder of indie game studio, MidnightCoffee, Inc. After receiving a student-driven solutions grant for furthering Jewish education through technology, Judah developed The Jeremiah VR Experience, a virtual reality application that takes students through the book of Jeremiah, to help their understanding of biblical texts through an immersive experience. Aside from game development, Judah is a professional magician and retro game enthusiast.

This VR application was originally a prototype for a Parsons course. Judah designed this VR experience to take the user through the story of David Wisnia, a survivor from the Auschwitz Nazi death camp, paired with his voice narration. The original proposal was to create a walkthrough-style experience mapped to real objects, similar to “The Void,” but due to time and space constraints, he opted for a “lite” version that moves the player through the story, rather than the other way around. Please note that due to the nature of the subject matter, while not particularly graphic, the experience is quite intense, both emotionally and visually.

Bridge 4: Immersive Holocaust Education

Judah used Unity3D with SteamVR to develop this project. Wherever possible, he opted to use real, high-resolution photoscans of WWII-era locations for added realism. It can be viewed running on a PC for full 6DOF freedom, or as an 8K 360 video on YouTube. The hardware used is an Oculus Quest 2 running SteamVR with a “Link” cable on an RTX 2070 ‘Super’ GPU.