What will happen when we wake up to the headline informing us that the last Holocaust survivor has just died?

January 27, 2022 by  
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My friends at the nonprofit organization “Zikaron B’Salon” are always grappling with the question, “what will happen when we wake up to the headline informing us that the last Holocaust survivor has just died”?…writes Tova Dorfman.

Tova Dorfman

That day is not so far off, since the youngest survivors are currently 77 years old. It won’t be long before there will be no one to provide first-hand testimony about the horrors of the Holocaust. On this International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorated on January 27, the voices of the remaining survivors need to be heard, now more than ever.

In this particular context, social media platforms function as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they represent a formidable challenge to us, in their enabling and even facilitating the spread of Holocaust distortion and anti-Semitism, disguised in some cases as a political critique. The threat posed here must not be underestimated. However, these same social media platforms also offer an opportunity to widely disseminate the history of the Holocaust, the stories of survivors and the lessons learned. I would argue that Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and other social media tech giants have a moral obligation to provide a medium through which the REAL story of the Holocaust may be told.

It is this understanding, that projects using social media platforms are necessary more than ever. The Foreign Ministry initiated “My Story is Your Story”, and the World Zionist Organization, Department for Israel and Holocaust Commemoration, has launched a project called “6MFollowers”. Both of these initiatives attempt to reach young people and engage them with the history and lessons of the Holocaust through the personal stories of survivors.

In the very narrow window of time we still have, it is crucial that we teach future generations- with their help of the remaining survivors – the lessons of their perseverance, resilience, optimism and super-human return to everyday life after the horrors of the Holocaust. They can and should inspire us, as well as our future generations. What better way to embrace those survivors who are still with us?

Tova Dorfman is Deputy Chair of the World Zionist Organization and chair of the Department for Israel and Holocaust Commemoration Worldwide 

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