Rush singer and bass player Geddy Lee was able to use facial recognition technology to identify his mother in a Holocaust photo and that discovery continued when the Hall of Famer was able to identify more relatives in a similar photo.
Google engineer Daniel Patt, who himself is a descendent of Holocaust survivors, was able to develop the Artificial Intelligence technology that allows users to upload photographs of their family to match their faces with potentially thousands of anonymous Holocaust pictures.
Said Patt to The Times of Israel, “I started this project after visiting the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland, in 2016. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had potentially walked past a photo of a family member without even knowing it. I’m the grandson of Holocaust survivors, all from Poland.”
Mary Weinrib, Lee’s mother, died last year at the age of 95. And researchers who are working with the From Numbers to Names project, for which Patt developed his A.I. tech, were able to use a photo of Weinrib to pick her out in an image of displaced persons camp. That led Patt and co. to reach out to Lee, which then led to the finding of more of the artist’s relatives.
Added Patt, “We reached out to Geddy Lee, from Rush, with a photo we thought was of his mother. He was able to confirm this was indeed a photo of her at the displaced persons camp at Bergen-Belsen. Geddy was then able to subsequently discover photos of his grandmother, uncles, an aunt, and other extended family by browsing the Yad Vashem collection where the initial photo came from.”
Weinrib grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Poland. She was forced into concentration camps, including Auschwitz. She was freed in 1945 and reunited with Morris Weinrib. The two had fallen in love in Auschwitz. They later made a home in Toronto.
Both Weinrib and Lee were profiled in Dave Grohl’s series From Cradle to Stage on Paramount+ last year.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic