May 2, 2019
The diary of Eva Heyman begins innocently enough. It is her thirteenth birthday, and she writes about her dreams of becoming a journalist and marrying an Englishman.The Hungarian Jewish teenager began her journal in February 1944, just one month before Nazi forces invaded Hungary. Its pages soon became a young girl’s account of her world transforming around her. »Dear Diary, you are the happiest because you cannot feel the great misfortune that happened to us, » she wrote on March 19.Her journal was published decades ago but, until now, had received scant attention, apart from a small memorial in the town of what is now Oradea, Romania.
Anti-Semitism never disappeared in Europe. It’s alive and kicking Eva’s journal covers a period of only 108 days. She writes about many of the incremental moments that lead to the inevitable.On March 31, 1944, she wrote : « Today an order was issued that from now on Jews have to wear a yellow starshaped 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. Eva has never had the name recognition of Anne Frank, whose diary is required reading in many schools around the world. But now her story has been brought back to life on Instagram.
Beginning on Wednesday afternoon — which marks the start of Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel — through Thursday, Eva’s diary is being re-enacted and posted as short Instagram video stories, intended to engage and educate a younger audience. Once complete, « Eva’s Story » will remain online in perpetuity.The videos were created by father-daughter pair Mati and Maya Kochavi from Haifa, Israel. « 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, » says father Mati, a 57-year-old tech entrepreneur whose ventures include founding the media company Vocativ.They brought in dozens of actors, with hundreds of extras, and created Nazi-era scenes in Lviv, Ukraine for the project, then recorded everything — as a teenager might — on an iPhone.