Saturday, June 23, 2012

Smart phone apps for Jewish sites in Warsaw and Berlin

 This post also appears on my En Route blog for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal

 By Ruth Ellen Gruber

I’ve been on the road for the past 10 days, and I have a backlog of material to catch up on with postings…. both items I have seen online and on-site visits I’ve made myself.

One new development is the release of smart phone apps that guide you around several Jewish sites in Berlin and Warsaw. Smart phone and tablet apps are clearly the self-tour guides of the future that are becoming the present….

The new ones I’ve noticed recently include an app that guides you around the Warsaw of Holocaust hero Janusz Korczak. Called “My Warsaw,” it is a project of the forthcoming Museum of the History of Polish Jews—it’s available for free on the iTunes store, but I’m not sure about other platforms. This is what Virtual Shtetl says:
The application spans two tourist routes. The first one guides you through places related to Janusz Korczak’s early and late childhood while the other shows Korczak’s life story during World War II. Both routes comprise almost fifty described places. The “My Warsaw-Warszawa jest moja” project shows now nonexistent Warsaw through pictures, audio recordings, a quiz, quotations and the augmented reality system. It sets an example of a novel approach of learning by having fun by means of state-of-the-art technologies.
You can download this bilingual Polish-English application on GooglePlay and AppStore for free.
The application is designed to be a modern tool for learning and teaching history. The only thing you have to do is take your Smartphone with you and take a walk with your family around Warsaw or organize a memorable outdoor history lesson. Tourists may use it as a city guide while Warsaw residents may discover their home town anew.
Another new app guides users around three historic Jewish cemeteries in Berlin .

Berlin has several Jewish cemeteries, including the huge Weissensee cemetery.

This is what Reuters says about the Berlin cemetery app—but I’m not sure where to get the app, or what platforms it serves. I did not find it on iTunes:
The smartphone programme leads visitors to the graves of Jewish figures such as philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, hotelier Berthold Kempinski, publishers Rudolf Mosse and Samuel Fischermen and also of those who committed suicide to escape deportation to Nazi death camps.
“There is an Internet code at the entrance of each cemetery which can be scanned by a smartphone and directly connects to the cemeteries’ website,” the cemeteries’ inspector Hilel Goldmann said.
The Internet programme is steered by a GPS navigation device and enables the visitors to plan their own ‘tour’ choosing among about 160 of the 150,000 graves in the three Berlin cemeteries, Goldmann said.

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