Google Engineer Identifies Anonymous Faces in WWII Photos With New Technology

The Fellowship  |  July 1, 2022

Black and white image of Jews being gathered onto a ramp in Auschwitz.
(Photo: Yad Vashem)

Countless people in photos from WWII haven’t been identified, but a new technology might be able to match the faces of Holocaust survivors and victims, reports the Times of Israel:

Walking past the countless photos of Holocaust survivors and victims at Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in 2016, New York-native Daniel Patt was haunted by the possibility that he was passing the faces of his own relatives without even knowing it.

For Patt, a 40-year-old software engineer now working for Google, that sort of conundrum presented the potential for a creative solution. And so he set to work creating and developing from Numbers to Names (N2N) an artificial intelligence-driven facial recognition platform that can scan through photos from prewar Europe and the Holocaust, linking them to people living today.

Patt has a personal stake in the project: Three of his four grandparents are Holocaust survivors from Poland, and he wants to help his grandmother find photos of the members of her family murdered by the Nazis.