Using Artificial Intelligence to Put Names to the Faces of Holocaust-Era Photographs

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the POLIN museum in Warsaw, and many other institutions have extensive collections of photographs taken of ordinary Jews before and during World War II. Yet identifying the people in them is usually only made possible by serendipity. Daniel Patt has devised a way to use computer technology to solve the problem, as Yaakov Schwartz writes:

Patt, a forty-year-old software engineer . . . 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.

Currently, N2N’s software—which is free and simple to use—only returns the ten best potential matches that it can find in the database available to it. Though not yet perfect, the nonprofit project has already seen great success: the software has been used to search through hundreds of thousands of photos to identify faces for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) as well as individual survivors and descendants of survivors—including a number of celebrities.

Patt, who only works on the project on his own time and with his own resources, has now been joined by a growing team of engineers, data scientists, and researchers, who are constantly expanding the reach and accuracy of the software. In addition to the photos and videos currently available to the platform, Patt is working for N2N to gain access to 700,000 more photos from the pre-Holocaust and Holocaust eras.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Holocaust, Jewish museums, Photography, Technology

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy