IWalk, an app designed as a guide for Holocaust history, is helping visitors contextualize memorials found throughout Philadelphia. The Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza at 16th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is included on the app’s walking trail of the city.
The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, the facilitators of the monument, joined with the Shoah Foundation and ADL Philadelphia to host an informational program about the app. Nearly 30 local educators attended, hoping to spread awareness and knowledge about the Holocaust and other genocides. Marsha Dworkin, an educator from Delaware County, told Jewish Exponent that the app allows students to engage with Holocaust history on a deeper level than learning about it in the classroom with textbooks: “Hearing the voices and stories of real people engages the students on a much higher level than just reading text,” she said. “IWalk has the potential to teach students not only history, but to stand up to racism and civil rights violations.”
IWalk includes three major themes to explore: “History of the Holocaust,” “Propaganda and Anti-Semitism,” and “Understanding Contemporary Anti-Semitism.” IWalk also includes local maps that contain markers for memorials, photos, summaries of events and historic sites, written biographies, and video testimonies. Educators can also utilize a list of questions, provided by the Shoah Foundation, to encourage classroom dialogue.
IWalk can be used alone as a “virtual tour” of Philadelphia monuments, or in conjunction with the walking tour outlined in the app. IWalk can be downloaded on iPhones and Androids here.