Remembering the Holocaust
What role should social media play in remembering the Holocaust?
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The era of technology and social media is apparent and thriving. With social media growing at an astronomical rate, posting pictures and statuses stand as a necessity in the day to day lives of people throughout the world.
Technology presents an ease many take advantage of. From posting about a family event to adding a picture of a funny cat, almost anything can be found online. However, a recent controversy regarding the ethics of adding posts about the Holocaust has spiked the question: What is the place of social media in remembering the Holocaust?
As the world remembers the Holocaust everyday in different ways, many are still stuck in the tenth stage of genocide, denial. While groups still stand in their belief that the Holocaust never occurred, denying the reality of the Holocaust stretches further than just that. Trends such as #yolocaust- a hash tag in which visitors go to concentration camps attempting to “recreate” photos taken at the camps during World War II- and teenagers playing Pokémon GO in Auschwitz are credited with playing a large role in denying and trivializing the Holocaust.
“A lot of the silly stuff you get is young people who aren’t capable of dealing with the horror so they deal with it in a trivial way,” Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity docent Linda Elman said.
On the contrary, the role of social media in spreading awareness is one that many view as indispensable. As technology progresses, so does the way publicity and awareness is spread. While the apparent drawbacks of social media are taken into account, so are the possible benefits.
The staff at the Seattle Holocaust Center for Humanity condemns the disrespectful actions documented on social media, but does not turn a blind eye to the advantages social media possesses.
“In this day and age we cannot do it without social media. We want to encourage people to take photos here,” Education Associate at Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity Julia Thompson said. “Photos are completely allowed of everything in the center and if they post them and hashtag #HolocaustCenterForHumanity, that’s awesome because we want to get that exposure in connecting younger people, teens, or young adults to this issue”
The Holocaust is a topic that triggers many different emotions and reactions, yet is surrounded by two main themes: acknowledgement and remorse. These two words prevail in a sea of turmoil and set the tone for remembrance. Social media is a tool that creates a mood of uncertainty of its use in the situation. The consensus, at least for the staff of the Holocaust Center for Humanity, is the role of social media is dependent on the use and intention of the person.
“If it doesn’t have an emotional impact on you, then it hasn’t done its job,” Elman said. “Social media can be a wonderful medium to share both the good that humans are capable of and also the evil that they’re capable of.”