International Holocaust Remembrance Day
D&I Volunteer Contributor: Pamela Narins
“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” – Winston Churchill
It’s hard to teach history, because it’s always positioned as a dead thing, something from a long-ago past. For me though, given my particular vantage point, the horrors of WWII were always very close at hand. It wasn’t an ancient history thing (even though I was born well after it ended). It was an active and material presence. And even for my children, who were born in this century, we made an intentional decision to ensure those events were taught, understood and felt.
However, I know that most people don’t have my background, and for many, stories of the Holocaust are ancient history at best (and things I dare not even contemplate, at worst).
That’s what was so interesting to me about Eva’s Story:
It took a modern view of events that took place in the last century. It supposed Eva to be a familiar girl, with an Instagram following, living her life and sharing her experiences with her friends. As the world closed in on her, she documented the step-by-step, “this can’t be happening” aspects of the world’s descent into madness. All told from the vantage point of a recognizable, even universal girl, who had had real hopes to grow up in a world she recognized.
In a time when newsreel footage is as relatable as sepia-toned pictures from the Wild West, and when the average attention span has plummeted to goldfish levels (this is actually a true thing), Eva’s Story made something that is easily dismissed feel immediate and present. It brought a nightmare to life in a way that could conceivably allow more people to relate. And it’s ONLY in that relatability that the promise of “never again” for all people can potentially be realized.