This week marks the first anniversary of “A Thought for Thursday”. I can’t believe it’s been a year already! As always, I welcome any feedback, questions, reviews, or suggestions for topics! Thanks for your support and for the many people who have come up to me and written to me to share that they read this little column and enjoy it. Thank you.
Today is Yom haShoah, and I’m always moved by seeing the kaleidoscope of candles lit by our community and posted across Facebook and social media. The Yellow Candle project is a really brilliant idea, especially because as living survivors gradually disappear, we’re left considering what the best way is to communicate the horrors of the Holocaust to a new generation. There’s several really interesting projects that have started recently which I’d like to share with you. All of them, like the Yellow Candle Project, are controversially trying to undertake the massive task of making the Shoah relevant to our contemporary world.
- Zikaron baSalon – meaning “Memorial in the Living Room”, is a social initiative in Israel which organises informal parlour-meeting type gatherings in people’s living rooms around the country. The project believes that the future of Holocaust education lies in intimate, personal conversations and connections – and it has seen great success in getting Israelis together to discuss, debate and commemorate the Shoah. For more info on Zikaron baSalon, click here.
- Holocaust Holography – is a series of projects to meant to enablefuture generations to hear first-hand testimony from Holocaust survivors. Or, at the very least from an algorithmically-generated mobile hologram of survivors. Called New Dimensions in Testimony, the primary project in this type of holography has used bleeding edge technology to capture hundreds of hours of survivors narrating their lives and answering stock questions. All this is compressed and recorded into a live virtual simulation which can then respond to people like Siri or Alexa. The idea being, that someday in the future, school children can go to a museum and interrogate a survivor’s holographic presence, hearing their story first hand and interacting with them in a way that transcends the simple written word. You can see more about this here.
- @eva.stories – is a series of Instagram stories, posted over the last 24 hours, creating a tapestry of short films, showing the last days of a young girl and her family in Hungary up until their deaths in Auschwitz. Produced like a major Hollywood movie, and with nearly a million followers in 48 hours, Eva.Stories has found a way to tell the tale of real life Shoah victim, Eva Heyman in a modern idiom. I found it incredibly moving- to imagine what Eva’s diary would look like with emojis, filters, and hashtags reminds us that her experience is not so different from teenagers today and the Holocaust is not as far removed as it may seem. If you’re on Instagram, check it out.You can also read more about the project here.
Through these interesting initiatives and innumerable others, it’s good to know that no effort is being spared in the preservation of memory beyond the generation of the Holocaust itself. Already, within the lives of many survivors, we are seeing doubt, distrust, and denial. Thus it’s as critical as ever that we continue to find new ways to bring the stories of its victims to life and ensure that the experience of it remains a virtual one, an exercise in memory alone.
May the memories of all those who were murdered by man and machine be a blessing and an instruction for us and for the future.