The beginning of the holocaust was eighty-six years ago, and few are still alive who survived through it’s horrific events. People are beginning to forget what it was like, or lose interest in our history. Some individuals even believe it was fake. Father and daughter, Mati and Maya Kochavi from Haifa, Israel, plan to bring history into our remembrance through an unusual tactic.
Eva Heyman, a Hungarian Jew, started her diary on her thirteenth birthday introducing herself as an aspiring journalist who wishes to grow up and marry an Englishman. These series of entries began in the February of 1944 and cover a short period of 108 days. Though published in January of 1974, the only recognition this journal has received in public was a small memorial in Oradea, Romania, the place Eva had been raised.
“Dear Diary, you are the happiest because you cannot feel the great misfortune that happened to us,” she wrote on March 19.
On March 31, 1944, she wrote: “Today an order was issued that from now on Jews have to wear a yellow star-shaped patch. The order tells exactly how big the star patch must be, and that it must be sewn on every outer garment, jacket or coat. When Grandma heard this, she started acting up again and we called the doctor.”
On May 30, she wrote her final entry: “Dear Diary, I don’t want to die, I still want to live, even if it means that only I remain behind from this entire district.”
Eva has never caught the public’s eye, especially compared to Anne Frank’s story, a story required to be read by most schools. Now, Eva’s story is being told and brought back to reality through Instagram.
On the first and second of May, Maya and Mati Kochavi wanted to make Israel’s holocaust memorial day one to remember. Hiring dozens of actors and many more extras, they re-enacted Eva’s story using just an iPhone.
“One of the strongest ways to really convey what happened in the Holocaust is to speak to a survivor who went through it,” says 27-year-old Maya Kochavi. “We have to think of more creative and stronger ways to convey the horrors of the Holocaust to the newer generation that won’t have the chance to speak to a survivor.”
Mati, a 57-year-old tech entrepreneur in whose accomplishments include creating the company Vocativ, shares his thoughts on how they came up with the idea. “We were looking for a way to deal with (Holocaust) memory and manage this memory in a way that is going to be relevant for a younger generation today.”