How Augmented Reality Tells the Story of an Unknown War Hero

For the exhibition “The Volunteer. Witold Pilecki and his mission to infiltrate Auschwitz” by the Pilecki Institute, the Berlin agency St. Elmo’s created a poster campaign with Augmented Reality support. Through this the poster and the story of the exhibition come alive.

For decades the story of the Polish war hero Witold Pilecki remained unknown, as the Communist authorities in the former Soviet Republic tried to cover up his story. With the fall of the UDSSR his memory slowly started to be told again and recently even led to an exhibition at the Pilecki Institute in Berlin, just in time for the 75thanniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In keeping with the Pilecki exhibition’s goal of making contemporary history tangible and experienceable, the exhibition campaign uses Augmented Reality (AR) to tell the story of Witold Pilecki in an impressive and lively way.

Witold Pilecki and Augmented Reality

The exhibition “The Volunteer. Witold Pilecki and his missionto infiltrate Auschwitz” is dedicated to the Polish cavalry officer and freedom fighter Witold Pilecki, who smuggled himself into the concentration camp in Auschwitz during the Second World War in order to tell the Allies about the Nazi crimes as a witness on site.

In order to draw the attention from as many people as possible to the exhibition, the Pilecki Institute teamed up with the Berlin agency St. Elmo’s, to use AR ad motifs to illustrate Pilecki’s courage and make his story come alive. With the help of a QR code integrated into the print design of posters, which were hang up everywhere in Berlin, viewers could see the poster world as a virtual animation on their smartphones. The AR animation is consciously kept in the same reduced design style as the poster motif, to generate a clear and also respectful image of the serious subject.


In addition to the exhibition posters with augmented reality, the campaign includes animated ads for the digital info screens in Berlin’s S-Bahn stations as well as ads for social media.

The Best From Both Worlds

The AR supported motifs of the exhibition show the wide variety of possibilities to combine classic print technology with modern digital solutions to generate a new experience for the consumer. They also prove that the technology has high potential, even for such a serious topic as it allows consumers to perceive and immerse themselves in history in a contemporary way, lifting it from an abstract level to a stage of personal connection.

What is your favourite Augmented Reality based project? We are looking forward to your recommendations.

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