What’s all the Controversy About?
When @Eva.Stories (a series of Instagram stories inspired by the real-life journal of Eva Heyman ) was first released on Sunday with the trailer "What if a girl in the Holocaust had Instagram?", the team at Margaret’s Legacy received an outpouring of e-mails and messages asking if we had seen the trailer and what our thoughts were about the concept.
Because we are known as leaders in Holocaust education geared specifically to youth, many asked if we felt comfortable with this approach to Holocaust education, and if we felt that this approach could “cheapen”, “disrespect”, or “water down” real stories and exploit survivors.
That’s a great question.
As irony would have it, our new Journeys curriculum embraces a very similar concept throughout the lessons where students learn to empathize and connect with stories such as Margaret & Arthur’s and Eva’s through journaling and/or “social media journaling” for teachers who choose to hone media literacy skills in the classroom. Many of the trigger journal topics throughout the lessons are positioned to produce similar creative results to @Eva.Stories and help students relate in their own way to the Holocaust.
One of our team members recently visited Yad Vashem, in which it was noted by her children that a large portion of the displays were focused on art expression in different forms. Each exhibit had art displays, photography, videos, poetry, sculptures and more.
Art expression has always been considered an appropriate way to connect to important life experiences, and art methods evolve over time – so what would make social media as a creative outlet any different?
While we value classic learning tremendously, we also believe that empowering students to be their own teachers, influencers, and researchers is what will breed success for their future selves.
With the reality of survivors aging and passing, first-hand testimonies of the Holocaust are becoming rarer. It is thus becoming more critical to shift Holocaust learning objectives toward a deeper and more connected understanding.
By empowering the next generation in this way, we enable a new generation of upstanders to become positive influencers in their own right, and a inspire a newfound hope that this connection will prevent similar atrocities in the future.
Thank you so much to the Kochavis for this initiative, and for showing our students how any individual, no matter who they are, can positively impact the world.