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Yad Vashem launches digital project 'Who is Your Holocaust Hero?' ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel

The initiative aims to tell the story of those who 'dared to defend humanity when, all around them, evil prevailed'

People visit at the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem, September 11, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem launched a new digital project “Who is Your Holocaust Hero?” ahead of the upcoming Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. There have been numerous Holocaust-related projects in previous years, but the latest effort distinguishes itself by encouraging the public to form digitalized personal connections with individuals who were eyewitnesses during the Holocaust.

This project aims to illuminate the stories of those who "dared to defend humanity when, all around them, evil prevailed." Focusing on this element of the Holocaust is intended to "inspire the best of human character," according to the website.

While suitable for students and the general public, the new initiative, which consists of short video clips, is particularly aimed at targeting influencers, leaders and celebrities who tend to have many followers on social media platforms.

Yad Vashem has invited respected individuals from various fields to become "Ambassadors of Holocaust Memory," including Attorney and Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz, social media influencer Montana Tucker, American television director, Jeff Melman, Celebrity Chef Eitan Bernath, British Parliament Member Bob Blackman and actors Patricia Heaton and James Maslow.

The event invitees were encouraged to record a short video on social media where they introduce their followers to their personal Holocaust hero.

Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan noted that the innovative project is being launched at a time of unprecedented antisemitism worldwide.

"This unique campaign comes at a particularly critical juncture," Dayan said. "As the eyewitness generation fades away, we are left with an irreplaceable void. By sharing their stories, we are ensuring that they will never be forgotten. By sharing and creating a community of remembrance on social media we can amplify their voices, garnering global attention."

Preserving the memory of the Holocaust has become even more crucial in an era of widespread denial of both the Holocaust during World War II and the Oct. 7 massacre of at least 1,200 Israelis by Hamas terrorists. Known as the "Black Shabbat" in Israel, the massacre committed by Hamas marks the largest number of Jews to be killed in a single event since the Holocaust.

Jewish author Lana Melman, CEO of Liberate Art, was invited to participate in the "heroes" project and commented: “We are living in a time of anti-Jewish hate not seen since Nazi Germany.”

Her organization inspires people to combat the cultural boycott campaign against Israel (BDS) via international publications, speaking engagements, educational videos and interviews.

"The phrase ‘Never Again’ is not a slogan," Melman continued, "it is a vow – a promise humankind made to G-d and each other after the inhumanity and horrors of the Holocaust. By sharing the stories of Holocaust heroes, we are reminded that none of us can be silent about where this road leads us. We have a right to be safe and Jewish.”

Producer Ben Silverman, producer of The Office and Ugly Betty, agreed that the Holocaust is a part of world history, "We must never forget."

“I’m very proud to be participating in this worthy program to help a new generation remember the horrors of the Holocaust. I will do everything in my power. Any moment I can remind the world and successive generations of the truth of our history, albeit painful and difficult, is critical. We must never forget.“ Silverman said.

In late April, Dayan called on Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to take a stand and stop the genocidal calls for Israel’s destruction on the New York City campus.

“When thousands of Columbia faculty, staff and students call for the elimination of the State of Israel and the abolition of Zionism, you must take a stand,” Dayan urged.

“Not a political stand. A moral stand,” he added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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