TikTok is the favorite social network for very young people. Can it be a good tool to transmit Shoah’s remembrance ? Memorials and witnesses use it.
Deutsche Welle, as different French medias, is focusing on TikTok as a new relevant medium to share the history of Shoah. Is it really ?
In 2020, TikTok, mostly used by young people between 14 and 24 years old, was under the spotlight for a trend : users shared clips of themselves imitating jew’s arrival in death camps. “Hurtful and offensive”, the Auschwitz Museum said.
Still, #Holocaust is a very popular trend on TikTok. 990 millions used it. Millennials particularly.
In France, a survey shows a big interest but few knowledge about Shoah.
Since the scandal, the social network TikTok changed its politics : it launched its own information campaign, automatically link every relative content to aboutholocaust.org (created by the Jew Congress and Unesco), and supports 15 memorials – including Mauthausen in Austria and Neuengamme near Hamburg in Germany.
A lot of followers
Memorials accounts have a lot of followers : 27 000 for Neuengamme for example. They registered an increase of very young visitors.
These Memorials don’t do historical reconstitutions. They show archives, pieces of their collection, in very short videos (less than 1 minute).
Is it enough ? Not to develop for sure, but it’s useful to make young people to search for more information according to the French director Sophie Nahum who created “The last ones”. She first worked for social medias as she told the French magazine Marie Claire. Her process was not easily accepted at first.
Jacques Fredj, directeur of the French Mémorial de la Shoah, told Marie Claire social networks became complementary with institutional work : “It’s crucial to be on social platforms to fail falsifiers. Our goal : find the balance, formats keeping the dignity of the subject. I’m convinced today we need a remembrance work 2.0”.
Testify on TikTok
Survivors also can use TikTok, with their grandchildren’s help.
Lily Ebert, 99 years old, has 1,9 million followers. She survived Auschwitz-Birkenau and she answers questions about her terrible living conditions in this camp.
Gidon Lev, 88 years old, started using TikTok thanks to his publisher. He wrote a book about his experience at Theresienstadt* camp.
Gidon Lev says he is worried about the rise of antisemitism and considers fighting back as an emergency, even on social media.
*Theresienstadt, near Prague in Czech Republic, was a fake camp to cheat foreign governments about the real living conditions of jews in camps.
Sources and links :