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Virtual Janowska

A Digital Reconstruction of a Nazi Concentration Camp

I am currently working on an AHRC Research Develeopment and Engagement Fellowship application to support the creation of a Historical Building Information Model (HBIM) of the Janowska concentration camp in Lviv, Ukraine.  My partners and I are currently resubmitting a proposal that got high marks from two out of three reviewers.  Unfortunately, it seemed like the the third reviewer (who will be number Reviewer #2 for obvious reasons) did not really understand the project or the potential value of digital humanities in looking at this subject.  Regardless, I was able to take all the feedback from reviewers and hopefully improve the latest iteration of the bid.

Explore a draft visualization of the model!

Screenshot 2022-05-23 at 13.27.18.png

This is an ARC GIS visualization of the camp made with the Scholars Lab at UVA.

A 1944 Luftwaffe aerial photo of the camp was overlayed on the actual ground and I plotted the building polygons based off historical sources.

You can add/remove layers to see the terrain today and you can change perspective/zoom by using the mouse wheel and right mouse button.

What are the goals of this project?
  1. Produce a comprehensive Historical Building Information Model of a Nazi concentration camp.

  2. Develop critical digital humanities methodology, praxis, and theory integrating quantitative and qualitative analog sources with digital analysis by creating a rigorous 3D model based on a variety of historical documents.

  3. Engage the broader public (both worldwide and the local Ukrainian population) by using the model to present the history of the site on a web-based platform.

  4. Explore the ethical and theoretical questions raised during the process of creating the model while also analysing the utility of an HBIM as a tool for the heritage sector in bringing inaccessible or distant sites to a larger audience.

REVIT Image by Michael Brown
Sketch of Janowska gate by Zeev Porath
What sources are you using?
This project relies on a diverse array of historical sources such as:
  • Historical photos
  • ​Contemporary site data
  • Survivor testimony (written and oral)
  • Drawings by prisoners
  • Maps
  • Postwar German legal investigation material​
Can I help? 
     I am hopeful that I will get funding to support the completion of this project, but I am always interested in partnerships with other digital humanists.  If you are interested in collaborating on this project, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
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