A number of Silicon Valley executives are set to host Holocaust remembrance events as part of the Israeli-launched Zikaron BaSalon (“Memories in the Living Room” in Hebrew) project which brings together people in collective remembrance in intimate settings such as homes, communal halls, and community centers. Hosts gather their friends, families, and guests to hear personally from Holocaust survivors, their children, and grandchildren and then engage in discussion.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, and Houzz founder Adi Tatarko, an Israeli entrepreneur, will host separate events on Monday to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day as well as the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The initiative was brought to Silicon Valley by Yasmin Lukatz, the founder and CEO of ICON, a US-based non-profit organization that supports Israeli tech and innovation in California, in partnership with the Israeli-American Council (IAC).
“While creating and exporting innovation worldwide, Silicon Valley also has a responsibility to harness the power of technology and the community to promote values of morality and justice,” Lukatz said in a statement.
“While the number of Holocaust survivors diminishes each year, and we see an alarming increase in anti-Semitism around the world, I’m proud of our many partners, founders and top executives who have chosen to join us and raise awareness,” she added.
Zikaron BaSalon was founded in Israel in 2011 by social entrepreneur Adi Altschuler. In recent years, the events have spread to Jewish and non-Jewish communities across the world.
Zikaron BaSalon events last between two to three hours and are comprised of three parts beginning with the testimony of a Holocaust survivor, or the child of a Holocaust survivor or an expert in the field. Then comes an act of collective expression, through poetry, art, music or any other form. Finally, participants are invited to discuss their thoughts and ask any questions.
Testimonies and discussion materials are available through the Zikaron BaSalon website for communities without access to Holocaust survivors or experts. They can screen or read real survivor testimonies at the events and then launch into the rest of the structure. Hosts are encouraged to shape each event to suit the needs of their groups and consult a “host kit” provided by the organization.