An ambitious but controversial social media project has told Instagram the heartbreaking story of a 13-year-old Holocaust victim.
Eva.stories is based on the real journal of Eva Heyman, a 13-year-old Jewish woman living in National Socialist Hungary. She uses social media to facilitate a fictitious retelling of Eve's last few months. From the funny filters and hashtags of the relatively carefree early stories, the Eve figure and her family are quickly entangled in the horrors of the Holocaust.
In a series of 70 Instagram stories, the life of Heyman from February 1944 and the National Socialist occupation of Hungary in the spring are seamlessly linked. The series ends with the transport of the Eve figure in June 1944 on a cattle truck to Auschwitz. The real Eva Heyman was killed in October 1944 in a gas chamber in the notorious concentration camp.
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The juxtaposition of modern social media and the terrible events of the Holocaust is extremely effective, documenting Eve's tragic journey from playful childhood guilt to terror and despair. The use of Instagram gives the events of 1944 a disturbing intimacy and merciless immediacy.
Eva.stories was created on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day and written and directed by Mati Kochavi and his daughter Maya. The account has already collected 1 million followers.
However, the report has sparked some controversy. The New York Times reports critics have charged with the project of trivializing the Holocaust.
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It also received a lot of praise. "Eva's stories about @instagram are an outstanding production that brings the Holocaust to life through the eyes of a young girl. For anyone on the # SocialMedia platform, it will be so real that you can not feel like Eve. #YomHaShoah, "tweeted Peter Lerner, former spokesman for the Israeli Armed Forces and currently Director-General for International Relations in Histadrut, the Israeli labor union.
Eva.stories was also supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week.
The report has highlighted the power of social media to illuminate history.
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In a statement, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, said that social media can be an effective tool to remember the Holocaust.
"The only information we know about the Eva & Stories project comes from information we published in the campaign," said Yad Vashem. "Yad Vashem believes that the use of social media platforms to commemorate the Holocaust is legitimate and effective. Yad Vashem is active and engaging the public in a variety of social media channels, including Instagram, though in other ways and ways Art. Not only the contributions of Yad Vashem contain authentic material and historical facts, we also make sure that their content is both public and respectful of the subject. "
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The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers