We Remember, on Facebook

FACEBOOK.COM

By Devra Ferst

Published October 21, 2009, issue of October 30, 2009.

It seems like an oxymoron to be a Jew and be a “fan” of Auschwitz, but there are more than 10,000 such fans.

They’re not fans of the infamous concentration camp, but rather “fans” of the Auschwitz Memorial page on Facebook, the social-networking Web site. The Auschwitz Museum in Poland launched the page October 14, and museum officials have since posted historical facts about the Holocaust and a photo gallery of Auschwitz in its current state, which gives visitors to the site a virtual tour.

“If our mission is to educate the younger generation to be responsible in the contemporary world, what better tool can we use to reach them than the tools they use themselves?” Auschwitz Museum official Pawel Sawicki told Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Along with hosting discussions on the Holocaust on the page, the museum also offers a discussion board on whether such a page should exist at all. When posters were asked on the page why they became “fans” of the memorial, many simply wrote notes like the one added by Lindsay Bruckner, a student at Florida Atlantic University: “Because our last survivors are quickly fading, and we as the new generation must keep their story going — NEVER FORGET.”

A number of posts, such as Chana Levin’s, touched on combating Holocaust denial and antisemitism around the globe: “I have heard three people in my neighborhood denying the Holocaust and it sickens and angers me.” Others wrote more lengthy responses, hoping to draw attention to contemporary human atrocities.

Other Holocaust memorials and museums, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem, have already branched out to Facebook, but none as successfully as the Auschwitz Memorial, which has already surpassed the number of fans of the other two.



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