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Holocaust survivors use social media to spread knowledge

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BERLIN (AP) – Concerned about the rise of online anti-Semitism during the global epidemic, parallel studies showing that the younger generation is deprived of even basic knowledge of the Nazi genocide, Holocaust survivors are taking to social media to share their experiences of hatred. to pave the way for mass murder.

With short video messages telling their stories, #StartedWordsCampaigners hope to teach people how the Nazis launched an insidious campaign to dehumanize or marginalize Jews. Years before the establishment of death camps for industrial-scale killings.

Plan plans to release six individual videos ու a collection on Wednesday via Facebook, Instagram և Twitter, followed by one video per week. Posts will include a link to the site with further resources, including more testimonials and tutorials.

“Many of us go out and talk, we are few in number, but our voices are heard,” Sydney Olt, a Lydian survivor who turns 90 this year, told the Associated Press by telephone. From Montreal.

“We are not there to tell them stories we have read or heard. We tell facts, we tell what happened to us, our neighbors, our communities, I think it’s the strongest possible snow. »

Immediately after the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, the leaders set about fulfilling their promises to “Aryanize” the country and marginalize the Jewish population.

The Nazi government encouraged a boycott of the Jewish business, which was spread by the Star of David, or “Judas,” a Jew. Propaganda posters and movies suggested that Jews were “harmful” compared to their rats and insects, while new laws were passed that restricted all aspects of Jewish life.

Charlotte Knobloch, born in Munich in 1932, recalls in her video message that her neighbors suddenly forbade their children to play with her or other Jews.

“I was 4 years old,” Nobloch recalled. “I did not even know what Jews were.”

The campaign, which began in conjunction with Israel Holocaust Remembrance Day, was organized by the German Conference on Jewish Material Claims in New York, which is negotiating compensation for the victims. It is supported by many organizations, including the UN.

It comes from a study released by Israeli researchers this week that found that last year coronavirus blockades spread some anti-Semitic hatred online, with many conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the epidemic’s medical and economic devastation.

Although an annual report by anti-Semitic researchers at Tel Aviv University found that the social isolation of the epidemic led to less violence perpetrated by Jews in some 40 countries, Jewish leaders expressed concern that online vitriol could lead to physical attacks once the blockade was lifted.

In a statement in support of the new online campaign, the Auschwitz International Committee noted that one of the men who broke into the US Capitol in January was wearing “Auschwitz Camp. Work brings freedom “T-shirt with the slogan.

“Auschwitz survivors have experienced first-hand what it is like when words become action,” the organization wrote. “Their message to us. Do not be indifferent. “

Recent research by the Claims Conference in several countries has also revealed a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among young people, which the organization hopes will help address the campaign.

A 50-year study of millennial Z-generation people in the United States last year found that 63% of respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and 48% could not name one. death camp or concentration camp.

Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, told the AP in a telephone interview from New York that the research showed that “other messages, concepts, ideas that were common, understood 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago.”

Following the success of last year’s social media campaign, when survivors’ messages were used to crack down on Facebook to ban Holocaust denial or misrepresentation messages, Taylor said it made sense to turn to them again for help.

“The Holocaust came out of nowhere,” he said. “Before the expulsion of the Jews from schools, their jobs, their homes, their synagogues, shops and businesses were destroyed, there were ghettos, camps and animal shelters, the words were used to incite hatred.”

“And who can make that line from dangerous words to horrible deeds better than those who have lived in the depths of human depravity?”

For Zoltak, word of mouth grew rapidly after the Nazi army invaded his city east of Warsaw in 1941.

He said the Nazis were quick to enforce anti-Semitic laws they had already enacted in western Poland, which they had seized two years earlier, forcing their parents into slavery.

A year later, the Germans forced all of the city’s Jews, about half of the city’s 15,000 population, into ghettos separate from the rest of the city, following strict regulations and keeping limited food rations.

Three months later, the Nazis disbanded the ghetto, taking its inhabitants to the Treblinka death camp or killing them on the way.

Ol Oltak was one of the few lucky ones who managed to escape with his parents to a nearby forest, hiding in the area until the following spring when he was received by a Catholic family on a nearby farm and sheltered throughout the retreat. war

After the war, he returned to his hometown and learned that 70 of his 7,000 Jews had been killed, including all his classmates and his father’s entire family.

“Sometimes it’s hard to understand,” he said. “We are really dealing with numbers, they were people who had a name, who had families.”

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Follow David Rising at https://twitter.com/davidrising

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