Virtual Reality Experience "Ernst Grube - the legacy"

The last survivors who experienced the atrocities of National Socialism first hand are already old. The joint virtual reality project by UFA GmbH and Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI) is committed to preserving these voices.

UFA GmbH was responsible for the overall production  and Fraunhofer HHI contributed with its expertise on volumetric video.

With the technology of the volumetric video, whose basic technology "3D Human Body Reconstruction" was developed by researchers at Fraunhofer HHI, the memories of the Holocaust survivors are recorded for future generations. In the volumetric studio of Volucap GmbH, the Jewish eyewitness Ernst Grube reported on the experiences in National Socialist Germany and the persecution.

The history of the production at a glance

In 2019, the idea was born to create a VR experience, where the user can join a talk between Ernst Grube, one of the last German survivors of the Holocaust and a young student. The story consists of six interviews with Ernst Grube lasting about 8-12 minutes each. The Jewish contemporary witness talks about his experience in Nazi Germany and his imprisonment in the concentration camp Theresienstadt.

In September 2019, Ernst Grube was captured in the Volumetric Capture Studio at Volucap GmbH. 32 cameras provided 80 minutes of video material from which we, at Fraunhofer HHI computed the final volumetric video.

Due the pandemic, the project continued in September 2020 and a first proof-of-concept of 3.5 minutes was created. This proof-of-concept was presented to the public in June 2021 at the NS Dokuzentrum in Munich, Germany in the temporary exhbition "End of contemporary witnesses?".

Until March 2022, the complete 50 minutes VR Experience "Ernst Grube - the legacy" was completed. This project can be considered as the longest VR production using volumetric video technology worldwide and for the first time. In the context of preserving contemporary evidence, this VR experience is also unique.

In June 2022, the world premiere of this VR experience was officially launched at the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum in Oranienburg, near Berlin, Germany.

Proof-of-concept 2021

From the 80 minutes of interview material recorded in 2019, UFA and Fraunhofer HHI have completed a three-minute proof-of-concept of the volumetric eyewitness report. This was presented to the public for the first time on June 23, 2021 as part of the exhibition "End of contemporary witnesses?" in the NS Documentation Centre in Munich.

This short proof-of-concept presented a part of the episode of the Jewish children's home Antonienheim in Munich, where Ernst Grube lived for several years together with his brother and sister, but separated from his parents.

Final experience 2022

The full VR Experience was completed in March 2022 thanks to the funding of Medienbord Berlin-Brandenburg and with the support of the VR production company INVR-SPACE GmbH. It comprises five episodes: 1) The apartment of the Grube family in Munich, 2) The Jewish children's home Antonienheim in Munich, 3) In the Munich Jewish ghetto - the Milbertshofen camp, 4) The fear of deportation, 5) The Theresienstadt concentration camp. Each of the episodes has a duration of 8-10 minutes and the user can decide, which episode would like to be experienced with the eyewitness.

In June 2022, the world premiere of this VR experience was officially launched at the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum in Oranienburg, near Berlin, Germany. The eyewitness Ernst Grube was present to inaugurate the Virtual Reality Experience.

Trailer of the VR experience "Ernst Grube - the legacy"

Provision of the VR experience to the interested public

With regard to further dissemination and use of this VR experience, the production team is very aware that Ernst Grube's narrative must be experienced in a defined context and under guidance. Therefore, making the VR experience available via commercial or freely accessible platforms, such as SteamVR, is out of the question. Whereas a presentation in memorials and museums or also a use in history lessons at secondary schools is a very suitable possibility.

Hence, we invite

  • curators of museums and memorial sites
  • responsible decision makers in the educational sector
  • teachers of history classes

to contact us. We are happy to provide you with the VR experience "Ernst Grube - the legacy" for free and for educational use.

All what is required is a decent computer and a Virtual Reality head set. Please contact us (see on the top-right).

Public demonstrations of the VR experience

Date Event
June 6, 2023 VR Cinema organised by INVR.SPACE gmbH at Creative Summer Bash 2023, Berlin, Germany
March 8, 2023 Talk about the production at show room of XRHub Bavaria by Dr. Oliver Schreer, Munich, Germany
March 6.-9,  2023 Presentation at show room of XRHub Bavaria, Munich, Germany
January 20, 2023 Public event "How do we remember tomorrow? Commemorating the Holocaust with digital technologies." at atrium of  Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany
Nov. 14 - Nov. 26, 2022 Industry fair "denkmal", exhibition, Leipzig, Germany
Oct. 17 - Oct. 19, 2022 Stereopsia - the Immersion Forum, exhibition, Brussels, Belgium
Sept. 30 - Oct. 15, 2022 Best Practice Exhibition organized by SPUR.Lab, Haus der Brandenburgisch-Preußischen Geschichte Potsdam, Germany
Sept. 28 - Sept. 29, 2022 Workshop "Digital Paths in the Culture of Remembrance - History in Virtual Worlds ?" organized by SPUR.Lab, Haus der Brandenburgisch-Preußischen Geschichte Potsdam, Germany
June 29 - Oct. 31, 2022 Presentation of the final VR experience in the prisoner's laundry, Memorial site and museum Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Germany
June 28, 2022 First official presentation of the final VR production, Memorial site and museum Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Germany
June 23 - Nov. 14, 2021 Presentation of the proof-of-concept in the temporary exhibition "End of witnessing?“, NS Documentation Centre Munich, Germany


December 19, 2022: "Zeitzeugenprojekt: Gespräch im virtuellen Raum", article by Eva Steiner in Tagesspiegel, Germany

June 28, 2022: Virtual-Reality-Projekt "Ernst Grube – das Vermächtnis" officially launched at memorial site and museum Sachsenhausen, news at Stiftung Bayerische Gedenkstätten, Germany

June 21, 2021: Exhibition "End of Contemporary Witnessing?": UFA and Fraunhofer HHI present VR case of contemporary witness interview "Ernst Grube - The Legacy”, Fraunhofer HHI press release

December 3, 2019: "Virtuelles Interview: VR-Film über Überlebenden des Holocaust", article by Katharina Wiechers in Tagesspiegel, Deutschland


  • Oliver Schreer, Anja Ballis
    Volumetrische Virtual Reality Experience mit Holocaust-Überlebenden – ein innovatives Medienformat,
    FKT-Fachzeitschrift für Fernsehen, Film und Elektronische Medien, vol. 12, pp. 28-29, December 2022
  • Oliver Schreer
    Erinnerung in 3D: Volumetrische Zeitzeugeninterviews,
    In: »Aus der Erinnerung für die Gegenwart leben« Geschichte und Wirkung des Shoah-Überlebenden Ernst Grube, Matthias Bahr, Peter Poth und Mirjam Zadoff, Göttingen, ISBN: 978-3-8353-5258-2, p. 255, November 2022, Book Chapter
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    Preserving Memories of Contemporary Witnesses Using Volumetric Video,
    i-com, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, ISSN: 2196-6826, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 71-82, April 2022, doi:, Open Access, Invited Paper
  • Markus Worchel, Marcus Zepp, Weiwen Hu, Oliver Schreer, Ingo Feldmann, Peter Eisert
    Ernst Grube: A Contemporary Witness and His Memories Preserved with Volumetric Video,
    Eurographics Workshop on Graphics and Cultural Heritage (GCH 2020), Online Conference, ISBN: 978-3-03868-110-6, October 2020, doi: 10.2312/gch.20201300
  • Ernst Feiler, Frank Govaere, P Grieß, S. Purk, Ralf Schäfer, Oliver Schreer
    Archiving the Memory of the Holocaust,
    Int. Conf. Culture & Computing, Copenhagen, July 2020