Tova Friedman, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor, is using TikTok to share her firsthand experience at Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp in Poland, with Gen Z. With the help of her 17-year-old grandson, Aron Goodman, Friedman aims to counter online Holocaust denial and misinformation while avoiding graphic language that might scare her young viewers.
Through her TikTok account, Friedman has gained a following of nearly 500,000 people who are interested in hearing her story and learning about the horrors of the Holocaust.
Born in Poland on the cusp of World War II, Friedman was forced by the Nazis into a Jewish ghetto and then into Auschwitz. She was released from a gas chamber at age 6 for reasons she still does not know. Friedman's memoir tells of her hiding next to a still-warm corpse to evade Nazis gathering prisoners for a death march. She gained her freedom when Auschwitz was liberated in 1945.
Friedman's TikTok videos mostly feature her speaking directly to the camera, sharing her experiences, and inviting her viewers into various settings. In one post, she displays the Auschwitz identification number tattooed on her forearm. In another video, she holds up the Red Cross card she used to travel after the Holocaust ended. Aron edits the videos and shields Friedman from the antisemitic remarks that their account sometimes receives.
While Holocaust education in schools has been limited, Friedman hopes her TikTok account will inspire young people to learn further on their own. With antisemitic views still widespread in the US, it is crucial to educate and remember the horrors of the Holocaust. Holocaust education is vital in building a more inclusive and tolerant society that recognizes the importance of human rights and social justice.
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is vital to recognize the importance of understanding and respecting the diversity of different cultures and their histories. Tova Friedman's mission to educate young people about the Holocaust and counteract Holocaust denial and misinformation is an essential aspect of creating a more informed and compassionate global society.
Moreover, her efforts to promote Holocaust education align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. SDG 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. By using TikTok to educate young people about the Holocaust, Tova Friedman is promoting the goal of providing access to education and fostering a greater understanding of historical events that shaped our world.
Furthermore, SDG 16 aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. Tova Friedman's efforts to counteract Holocaust denial and misinformation align with this goal by promoting a more accurate and inclusive understanding of history.
Tova Friedman's use of TikTok to educate young people about the Holocaust connects with the vision of a global society that values diversity, promotes education, and works towards achieving the SDGs.