Let us take a moment to remember the innocent victims and survivors of the Holocaust. 70 years ago today Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by the Soviet Red Army forces.
Auschwitz is unique among the Nazi’s camps and is spoken in numbers – 1.1 million people were murdered. The Jewish people that were murdered were: 438,000 Hungarians, 300,000 Polish, 69,114 French, 60,085 from the Netherlands, 55,000 Greeks, 46,099 Czechoslovakians and Moravians, 26,661 Slovakians, 24,904 Belgians, 23,000 Austrians and Germans, 10,000 Yugoslavians and 7,422 Italians. As well, 70,000 Polish political prisoners and an estimated 20,000 gypsies and 10,000 Soviet prisoners were killed.
The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is “Keep The Memory Alive”. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is asking everyone to:
- Share a story of a survivor using the hashtag #MemoryMakers;
- Be inspired by the artists and life stories and to create and submit their own artistic responses to the life stories.
The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide is also organizing discussions on social media platforms. The big question being asked- how useful is social media for keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive? Participants are asked to share their thoughts using the hashtag #WLDebate.
This is not the first year that social media has been used to strengthen the message Holocaust Remembrance. Last year, YadVashem encouraged to “Please change your Facebook photo to a Holocaust victim in honor of Yom Hashoah, which begins this Sunday. A partial list of victims with photos is available at http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/downloads/ names_2010.asp. Photos are on the far right and names are on the same line on the left side.” In 2011, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum were working to trace more than 1000+ children of WWII who were separated from their families in its aftermath using social media and web technologies. The only record they had were the photographs taken by aid workers at refugee camps.
Two-thirds of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust have been identified – 4 million names and added to Yad Vashem’s databases. That leaves 2 million names yet to be identified. The number of first hand witnesses of the atrocities is slimming. It is now the responsibility of new generation of learners to keep their memories alive and ensure that the past does not repeat itself. The personalization of the Holocaust through mass media representations fosters a new sense of hope that the message will continue to circulate and resonate with humanity even after all eye witnesses to this atrocity are no longer with us.
Lest we forget!