Gen Z’s Perception of the Holocaust | Eli Yissar Josefson | The Blogs – The Times of Israel

Posted By on December 1, 2020

By now, I am sure that everyone reading this article knows about TikTok, the social media platform that has taken the world by storm. The platform is all about sharing videos and trying to get featured on the For You recommendations page for other users, in order to receive more views. This results in the video makers fifteen seconds of fame. Creators have taken this in various directions: some have chosen the comedy route, others have tried to show off their talents (dancing in particular), and others have been accused of using their looks to gain followers. Regardless of the way it started, many people have become so concerned with obtaining their fifteen seconds of fame that some stopped thinking some of their decisions through.

Over the past few months, there have been several trends, which catch on and are recreated by thousands of TikTok users. Many of these trends are innocent and entertaining, but one that does not fit either of those adjectives is the Holocaust trend. This trend involved people dressing up as Holocaust victims (wearing yellow stars, striped shirts, and creating bruises with their makeup), some even used the backdrop of a Nazi concentration camp, and others pretended that they were in heaven and told their Holocaust story. Some TikTokers pretended to die in their showers, and some acted as if they were walking towards a gas chamber. Needless to say, many people on this platform were appalled by the trend and called out some of the people who made these videos. Although this trend is no longer in play it is important to talk about how we, as a Jewish community, can respond to such uploads.

After the backlash, many people came out to say that they created these videos in order to reach out to the younger generation and educate them about the horrors of the Holocaust. They chose to use a platform with which they were comfortable, and knew that younger people were as well. These TikTokers figured that this would be a good way to bring awareness, especially at a time when Holocaust denial is at a rise. We all know the saying, its the thought that counts. It follows that we should be able to forgive these users while still showing them the error in their judgement. There are, after all, much better ways to educate young people about the Holocaust, even on TikTok.

Sadly, this was not the case for many others who uploaded Holocaust trend videos. Many had the goal of making fun of the atrocities that occurred in the Holocaust and created a form of denial, sending the message that, It couldnt have been that bad; why are you Jews always complaining about it? Some uploaders went so far as to compare IDF soldiers to Nazi criminals. This made it difficult to forget or justify.

Is it enough to just ignore such videos? This is a question that I had asked myself when I first came across them. I didnt know what the best solution was, but I couldnt just keep scrolling. Although I am definitely not a social media expert, this is what I have learned so far:

Remember: your voice matters. Use it. People care what you have to say.

Eli Yissar Josefson is a high school student in Toronto, Canada where she is the school's newspaper editor. She has had a passion for Israel ever since she can remember and has been involved with Hasbara Fellowships Canada for three years where she has published several political articles involving Israel and the United States.

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Gen Z's Perception of the Holocaust | Eli Yissar Josefson | The Blogs - The Times of Israel

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