Instagram profile portrays Holocaust through modern lense3 min read

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Instagram profile portrays Holocaust through modern lense3 min read

Mimi Lemar, Reporter

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From an early age, I was taught to remember the victims of the Holocaust with deep respect. As Jews, we are taught to never let the memories of victims or survivors die, so that history doesn’t repeat itself. I have gained the majority of my insights about the Holocaust through reading first-hand accounts of victims in the form of memoirs. Most recently, I watched Eva Stories, a first-hand account about a Jewish girl in the Holocaust that has been posted on Instagram, launched on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Eva Stories centers around the true story of Eva Heyam, a girl growing up in Hungary with her friends and family throughout the Holocaust. The story is organized by dates on the story highlights, with a few clips for each date. The story starts with Eva being extremely hopeful about the war.

However, the thing that struck a chord for me was the portrayal of the ghettos. When Eva’s family is taken to a ghetto, they show the horrible conditions that are usually censored in a way in the accounts I had read. It shows 20 people in one small room, not allowed to leave, with no sunlight. They were starved, women were tortured, and you had to be on your toes the whole time so as to not be killed. “Silence can be louder than any noise in the world,” Eva said. “I never knew that before.”

The story ends with Eva being shoved into a train car headed to Auschwitz with 80 other Jews, and two buckets: one for water, and one for a toilet. Only at the end is it revealed that Eva Stories is not a work of fiction, but a portrayal of a real girl named Eva in the Holocaust.

Of course, I had my hesitations while watching her story. Is Instagram the best medium to educate people about the Holocaust? However, when I learned it was based on Eva’s journals and meant to fulfill her dream of being a journalist, it became much more powerful. I think this was a very smart way to educate people about the Holocaust while portraying it in a relatable way, through a social media platform that teens universally use.

Although there are many upsides, there are also many downsides. These stories can be extremely triggering to survivors or family of survivors of the Holocaust because of how easily accessible they are. They make you feel like you are in the Holocaust with Eva, which is scary. It is also possible that showing such a difficult topic on such a casual platform will trivialize Eva’s story and the Holocaust. I think that this account should be taken just as seriously as any memoir.

I have hope that this video will shed light on the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust, and will help people understand the extreme persecution of Jews simply for their religion. This source should not be used as a primary education for the Holocaust, such as reading an actual first-hand account or reading about the Holocaust itself, but should be seen as a way to send a powerful message across a huge platform of people, 1.7 million followers to be exact. In times like ours with growing antisemitism and Holocaust deniers, I welcome any platform that can reach people with the message that Jews are humans who did not deserve to suffer during the Holocaust.

If you do not have enough time to watch the entire story (it takes about 30-45 minutes) I recommend watching her stories on  “March 31”, “April 19”, “May 1”, “May 18”, “May 26”, “June” and “Eva”, because they were the most powerful to me.

Watch @eva.stories on Instagram

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