Holocaust survivors harness social media to spread message – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-04-08 00:01:06 –

Berlin (AP) —Warning about rising anti-Semitism online during a pandemic and research showing a shortage of younger generations …

Berlin (AP) — Holocaust survivors around the world, coupled with studies that warn of rising online anti-Semitism during pandemics and show that the younger generation lacks even basic knowledge of the Nazi slaughter. Share their experience on social media Hate speech paved the way for mass slaughter.

Participants in the #ItStartedWithWords campaign want to educate people on how the Nazis embarked on an insidious campaign to dehumanize and alienate Jews in a short video message telling their story.

The plan is to release six individual videos and compilations on Wednesday on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, followed by one video per week. Posts include links to web pages with more resources, including more testimony and materials.

A 90-year-old Polish survivor, Sydney Zoltak, told The Associated Press later this year, “There aren’t many people going out and talking anymore. There are few, but I can hear them.” From Montreal.

“We’re not there to tell them what we’ve read or heard. We’re telling the facts, telling us, our neighbors, and what happened to our community. I think this is the strongest way possible. ”

When the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, leaders quickly “allied” the country and put into practice its promise to segregate the Jewish population and push it to its limits.

The Nazi government encouraged a boycott of the Star of David or the Jewish business filled with the word “Jew” — Jews. Propaganda posters and movies suggest that Jews are “pests” compared to mice and insects, and new legislation has been passed that limits all aspects of Jewish life.

Born in Munich in 1932, Charlotte Knobloch recalls in a video message that his neighbors suddenly banned children from playing with themselves and other Jews.

“I was four,” recalled Knobloch. “I didn’t even know what the Jews were.”

Launched around the same time as Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, the campaign was organized by a conference on Jewish physical claims against New York-based Germany to negotiate compensation for victims. It is supported by many organizations around the world, including the United Nations.

A study released this week by Israeli researchers found that last year’s blockade of the coronavirus changed the hatred of anti-Semitism online by conspiracy theories that Jews blamed for the medical and economic devastation of pandemics. It was.

An annual report by researchers on anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University showed that pandemic social isolation reduced violence against Jews in about 40 countries, but Jewish leaders said lockdown He expressed concern that online Vitriol could lead to physical attacks when terminated.

In a statement of support for the new online campaign, the International Auschwitz Commission said that one of the men who attacked the US Capitol in January had a sweatshirt with the slogan “Camp Auschwitz: Work brings freedom.” Said he was wearing.

“Auschwitz survivors have a first-hand experience of what the words look like when they become certificates,” the organization writes. “Their message to us: don’t be indifferent!”

A recent study conducted by the Claims Council in some countries also revealed a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among young people. The organization hopes that this campaign will help address it.

For example, in last year’s survey of 50 states of millennials and Gen Z people in the United States, 63% of respondents were unaware that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and 48% were one Jew. I found that I couldn’t appoint a person. Death camp or concentration camp.

Gideon Taylor, chairman of the Claims Conference, told AP in a telephone interview from New York that the survey no longer had “messages, concepts and ideas that were common and understood 20 or even 10 years ago.” Said.

After the success of last year’s social media campaign that used survivor messages to pressure Facebook to ban posts that deny or distort the Holocaust, it makes sense for Taylor to seek their help again. said.

“The Holocaust didn’t come out of nowhere,” he said. “Before the Jews were expelled from schools, jobs and homes, before the destruction of synagogues, shops and businesses, and before the ghettos, camps and ox carts, words were used to burn the fire of hatred. . ”

“And who can draw the line from dangerous words to terrifying behavior than those who survived the depths of the fall of man?”

For Zoltak, a rapid escalation from words to actions took place after the Nazi troops invading in mid-1941 occupied his town east of Warsaw.

He said the Nazis swiftly enforced anti-Semitic laws already enacted in western Poland, which they occupied two years ago, driving Zortak’s parents into slave labor.

A year later, the Germans forced all Jews in the town (about half of the 15,000 population) into ghettos isolated from the rest of the town, and maintained restricted food rations in accordance with strict regulations. ..

Three months later, the Nazis liquidated the ghetto and either transferred the inhabitants to the Treblinka extermination camp or killed them along the way.

Zoltak was one of the few lucky people to flee with his parents to a nearby forest and be taken to a Catholic family on a nearby farm until next spring, during which time he was protected. war.

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

“It can be difficult to understand,” he said. “We are not really dealing with numbers. They were humans with names and had families.”


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

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