By Eloise Bishop
A new exciting social media project has been launched to raise awareness of the Holocaust 76 years on, by the Holocaust Educational Trust's Regional Ambassadors.
On the 27th January, the public will commemorate 76 years since the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Holocaust Educational Trust has been faced with the task of trying to commemorate this anniversary whilst in the midst of a pandemic, the year after a landmark anniversary.
We are also presented with the looming question as to how the Holocaust will be commemorated in the coming years, as it passes from living memory into history.
These are the very issues that our cohort of Regional Ambassadors are tackling this year with our new project.
I am proud to be a Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust.
The Regional Ambassador Programme is a three-year extended leadership programme, coordinating and encouraging the work of Ambassadors in our designated areas, as well as galvanising support around the UK.
The pandemic forced many organisations, including the Trust, to reconsider how they deliver their education virtually.
In a normal year, thousands of sixth form students from around the country take part in the Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz Project.
As part of the project, students hear the testimony of a survivor, visit the former Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and then share what they learned with their peers at school and local communities.
Following this, students become Ambassadors for the Trust.
The Ambassador Programme has adapted to the unforeseen circumstances, having run five weeks’ worth of sessions for this years’ Ambassador Conference, usually held in London, as well as other educational sessions online throughout the past year.
Social media has become an important tool for various forms of education.
However, the question of how we can sensitively approach Holocaust education on social media is a complicated one.
Careful thought has to be given to how we can effectively communicate the lessons of the Holocaust on platforms such as Instagram or Twitter.
However, these platforms have beneficial potential, and if we are to keep up with our generation and younger generations then the use of social media for Holocaust education is unavoidable.
Since I became a Regional Ambassador in early 2020, my cohort have not yet been able to meet in person due to the restrictions in place. Regardless of this, we came together to launch a social media project on Instagram and Twitter - aiming to share what we have learnt with others.
As young people, we believe it is important for us to share this message and to take the reins by using social media to achieve this.
We hope to encourage and engage with the Ambassador community, making Holocaust education and Regional Ambassadors more accessible and thus increase support for the Trust’s work.
On our pages we post infographics, written and researched by our cohort of Regional Ambassadors, covering topics as diverse as Historic Antisemitism and Spiritual Resistance during the Holocaust.
It is not simply enough for us to raise awareness about the Holocaust; we must ensure that there is an increase in other people’s understanding of it. Education is key to combatting hate which is sadly circulated on social media.
We must do all we can to push back against this hate and shine brighter.
The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2021 is ‘Be the Light in the Darkness’. We hope that our initiative can add a little more light to the darkness.
To find out more about the Holocaust Education Trust, please visit their website - https://www.het.org.uk/
Eloise Bishop is a Regional Ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust and content coordinator at youth-led initiative Yet Again.