TikTok Users Work to Preserve the Memory of their Jewish Family Members on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Gen Z TikTokers are taking to the platform to spread awareness about the Holocaust.
By Madison E. Goldberg
(Photo by PETER KOHALMI / AFP) (Photo by PETER KOHALMI/AFP via Getty Images)

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, and also marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Auschwitz, located in Oświęcim, Poland, was notoriously one of the most deadly concentration camps run by the Nazi party of Germany throughout World War II. The camp imprisoned, tortured, and killed thousands of Jewish, LGBTQ+, and Romani people.

World leaders have honored the victims of the Holocaust across the world today. The U.S. first ever second gentleman, Douglas Emhoff, who is Jewish, visited a memorial at Auschwitz today.

And amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky returned to Kyiv to speak on the importance of honoring the legacy of the victims. Zelensky has several family members who perished in the Holocaust.

Mere decades later, historians and Gen Z have realized that we are the last generation to have the opportunity to meet Holocaust survivors and learn from them first hand. Many recognize that the spread of violent and hateful rhetoric is what ultimately led to Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, and ultimately the Holocaust.

@mama_bakes

Approximately 11 million perished in the #holocaust 6 million J3ws, as well as another 5 million based on ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and #disabilities #holocaustremembranceday #yomHashoah #neverforget #shoah #neveragain #jewishtiktok #truth #facts

♬ Hatikvah – Magevet

Gen Z TikTok creators who have family members who survived the Holocaust encourage people to speak out against antisemitic hate speech. It remains a contemporary issue due to several politicians and celebrities, including Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and rapper Ye.

Eitan Bernath is a student at Columbia University and the Principal Culinary Contributor for The Drew Barrymore Show who is known for his cooking and men’s fashion TikTok videos. He is also Jewish, and frequently uses his large social media platform for activism. He posted a brief video about Holocaust education to his social media accounts today.

@eitan

Never again. · Here’s some informative Holocaust education resources: 1. The best way to even try to grasp the magnitude of the horrors of the Holocaust is to see it with your own eyes. If visiting a place like @AuschwitzMemorial in Poland isn’t an option, visiting @YadVashem in Jerusalem, the @HolocaustMuseum in Washington D.C., and/or the @MuseumJewishHeritage in New York City is a good start. (There are many other museums/memorials in other states and all over the world.) 2. Follow @yadvashem, @annefrankhouse_official, @auschwitzmemorial, and @holocaustmuseum to make sure you have informative posts and resources in your feed. 3. Follow and stay connected with organizations such as @adl_national and @ajc.global and accounts such as @standwithus and @humansofjudaism, who not only educate about the Holocaust but also play an important role in combating antisemitism and advocating for the rights of Jewish people. 4. Beyond the Holocaust, as a bonus resource, my friends at @JewBelong do an incredible job on educating the masses about the ongoing threats of widespread Jew hatred and how to lean in on and embrace your Jewish identity. #holocaustremembranceday

♬ original sound – Eitan Bernath

Other TikTok creators have relatives who survived the Holocaust as young children. Dov Forman created a TikTok page with his 99-year-old great-grandmother, Lily Ebert. Ebert, originally from Hungary, was imprisoned at Auschwitz. Her family now lives in London, U.K. The pair wrote a book of her experiences titled Lily’s Promise, which was released in the U.S. in May 2022.

Their shared TikTok page gives Lily a platform to discuss detailed stories of the atrocities she witnessed at Auschwitz, and for her great-grandson to educate people about Jewish cultural and religious traditions. Today, Ebert spoke on BBC News for Holocaust Remembrance Day. Dov also shared a photo of his great-grandmother at Auschwitz on his Instagram, and wrote about the importance of memorializing the ordinary people who were victims of a genocide.

@lilyebert

Lily sharing her testimony on @BBC News for #holocaustmemorialday💔 #holocaustsurvivor #99yearold #learnontiktok #holocaust #history #auschwitz #concentrationcamp #strongwoman #survivor #hmd #neveragain #neverforget

♬ original sound – Lily Ebert & Dov Forman

Tova Friedman and her grandson Aron took a similar route. Tova was even younger than Lily when she arrived at Auschwitz. Originally from Poland, Tova and Aron speak of her story of living in the Tomaszaw ghetto. Tova moved to New York City when she was only 12 years old. After receiving degrees from the City College of New York and Rutgers University, she found a passion for social work. She still works as a therapist at the Jewish Family Service of Warren and Somerset Counties in New Jersey. The pair also released a book, titled  The Daughter of Auschwitz.

@tovafriedman

#answer to @Club HT Stand up against hate and intolerance. It manifests if unchecked. #hatred #disinformation #misinformation #truth #jewish #foryou #history #shoah #usa #fyp #xyzbca #light

♬ Visages – Sarah Coponat

TikTok creator Miriam Ezagui practices Orthodox Judaism, and frequently uses her platform to educate the masses on the misconceptions regarding her sect of Judaism. Today, she featured her grandmother Lily, a Holocaust survivor, in a video on her TikTok account. She recounted the horrors of Dr. Mengele, who performed illegal experiments on thousands of people.

@miriamezagui

Holocaust Remembrance Day, remembering all those that perished and those that lived though the hell. NEVER FORGET! #holocaustrembrance#holocaust#Auschwitznneverforgetj#jewish

♬ original sound – Miriam Ezagui

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. is accepting donations to assist in keeping the legacy of the Holocaust’s victims alive. You can donate here today.