First Stolperstein in Trieste implemented with augmented reality

January 27, 2023

Presented at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice

On Friday, January 27, 2023, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the first Trieste stumbling stone implemented with augmented reality was presented in Venice and thus became part of the project “Remembering the City. Stumbling Stones, Places of Memory and Augmented Reality“.

The project, which began in 2021, is the result of a collaboration between Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and the Jewish Community of Venice, with the support of the Veneto Region.

The project is curated by a staff of experts in Digital and Public Humanities – the discipline that applies the use of information technology in the humanities, particularly for data representation and knowledge dissemination – led by Fabio Pittarello, a professor at Ca’ Foscari University.

The design and development team consists of Tommaso Pellegrini, Alessandra Volo and Triestine historian Alessandro Carrieri, an expert in Digital Humanities who is also working on an augmented reality project in the Jewish Cemetery in Via della Pace.

The basic idea is to explore the cities’ memories using augmented reality, which enables users’ involvement on both a cognitive and emotional level and a gives them a better understanding of the history of Nazi-Fascist persecution and deportation.

The mobile platform – which can be downloaded for iOs and Android under the name “Remembering the City” – is designed especially for the younger generations, and uses geolocation to allow for the identification of Stumbling Stones and places in the city that can be “enjoyed” with the addition of audio, textual and iconographic content.

In Venice currently one can discover the history of twenty-nine Stones, located in six public places of remembrance.

And today, also in Trieste, the first city after Venice, a Stone with special symbolic value will be able to tell its story with this technology.

It is the first ever laid by Gunter Demnig in the city in January 2018, under the porch of the Synagogue, and dedicated to an exceptional person who worked there as long as he could: Carlo Morpurgo z”l.

As Mauro Tabor, who strongly wanted this Stolperstein and who had already dedicated an exhibition to Morpurgo for the Synagogue’s centennial, said at the installation ceremony, he represents “a true hero”.

He explained why: “No one should be judged, because in those moments everyone was thinking first and foremost about saving himself and his family. Carlo, on the other hand, after saving his sisters, returned to the helm of the boat that was now devoid of his leadership team. He could have saved himself because he well understood the virulence and danger of what was happening but, heroically, he preferred to help in all the few ways left possible those who did not have the means to escape. He knew he could have been caught, but in order to save other Jews, he remained in his place until that phone call from Oberdan Square… from the offices of the Community, alone, he went toward interrogation in that place of immense pain that was the Oberdan Square command and from there to the Coroneo Prison for eight months of detention and mistreatment. He was finally deported from Trieste without having said a word about the refuges of the other Jews he knew well. Until the creation of the exhibition about him and related research, I thought, I hoped, he had been selected for death upon arrival at Birkenau. Instead he was selected for death by labor. He died of exhaustion after working for two months as a slave for the Buna, in a satellite camp of the great extermination apparatus of Auschwitz.”

Framing the Stone with your smartphone you will learn the story of this great man, see his face, hear the words of gratitude of those who had his generous help in the dramatic time of Nazi-fascist persecution.

May his memory be a blessing. And of example to as many people as possible.


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