Facebook (Meta) and Israeli aid organization Latet, announced this week that they were partnering with top Israeli social media influencers and content creators ahead of Israel’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday to launch this year’s “Sharing Memories”( (Ma’alim Zikaron in Hebrew) project, an initiative that connects young people to the testimonies of the Holocaust survivors living in Israel today.
The holiday, known in Israel as Yom HaShoah, commemorates the six million Jews who were murdered throughout World War II. It begins on Wednesday evening and lasts until Thursday evening.
As part of the project, high-profile Israeli social media influencers will record one-on-one conversations with Holocaust survivors on their smartphones for the project. They will film the survivors talking about their experiences during WWII and their lives in the present day. The celebrities will then upload the interviews to their official Instagram accounts as part of the Instagram Stories feature, where the clips will remain for a full 24 hours. Instagram is owned by Meta (Facebook).
The interviews will be featured beginning on Wednesday evening until Thursday evening, allowing millions of followers to watch throughout the day.
The aim of the “Sharing Memories” project is to establish a meaningful connection between young generations and survivors, raise awareness, and preserve the collective memory of the Holocaust by sharing testimonies through an accessible and globally used platform, according to a statement. More specifically, it is meant to expose youth, many of who are active Instagram users, to the real stories of survivors.
The project is also intended to reveal the current living conditions of many survivors in Israel, some of whom live below the poverty line. Israel currently has just under 166,000 Holocaust survivors, 50,000 of whom receive additional income from the state, according to data from the Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority.
The influencers participating in this year’s Sharing Memories project are: Kim Or Azulay (589K followers); Agam Buhbut (434K); Rotem Cohen (285K); Roni Dalumi (162K); Or Elkayam (56.8K); Frogi (247K); Galgalatz (123K); Corrin Gideon (293K); Ido Grinberg-Mismas (142K); Omer Hazan (365K); Hazinor (647K); Liran Kohener (234K); Ella-Lee Lahav (189K); Ori Laizerouvich (111K); Segev Moshe (229K); Moshe Peretz (530K); Liraz Russo – Static (607K); Yael Shelbia (1.4M); Ben El Tavori (512K); Noa Tishby (250K); Anna Zak (1.4M); and Shir Zuaretz (51K).
Several large Israeli Facebook communities have also joined the initiative, encouraging their members to donate to the Latet organization to support the livelihoods of the struggling Holocaust survivors.
This year’s project follows the success of the previous year’s launch, which generated 3.1 million viewers on social media and generated NIS 500,000 in donations within 24 hours for Latet’s Aid of Life program which provides support to survivors subject to poverty. 165,800 Holocaust survivors live in Israel today, and about 50,000 of them receive supplemental income from the state, meaning that they are unable to provide for their essential needs on their own.
“Facing the prospect of a generation that’s about to disappear, the traditional approach to commemoration must reinvent itself, in order to bridge the generation gap and ensure that these immeasurably important stories will continue to be heard for generations to come,” said Adi Soffer-Teeni, country manager at Meta in Israel. “Using the tremendous power of the social media, the Sharing Memories project provides a stage for these moving stories and creates a genuine, unmediated connection between Holocaust survivors, Israel’s most prominent content creators, and the young people who follow them every day.”
“Sharing memories of the Holocaust, aiding survivors in need, and building a connection with young people are especially important goals during these years when the generation that lived through the Holocaust is fading away,” said Eran Weintrob, executive director of Latet. “Israeli society now has a narrow window of opportunity to do what’s needed to create continuity for the memory of the Holocaust among young people and to mobilize them to work for those who still remain and are in need of assistance.”