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A 13-Year-Old's Diary Recounting The Holocaust Is Going Viral On Instagram Almost 75 Years Later

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Project reimagines holocaust stories for a new generation.

As fewer holocaust survivors remain to tell their stories, one project is working to preserve the lessons of one of history's darkest times for the next generation.


The diary of young Eva Heyman spans only 108 days, but it chronicles the poignant story of her life and death under the Nazi regime.

Today the creators of a new viral Instagram series are hoping Eva's story can pass the lessons of the holocaust to the next generation.

Created by a father and daughter team the narrative project based on Eva's diary begins with the question "What if a girl in the holocaust had Instagram?"



13-year-old Eva Heyman started her diary in February 1944 while she was living with her mother and grandparents in Hungary.

When Eva's story begins she is a typical teenage girl. She has a best friend, enjoys music and dancing, and dreams of one day being a famous reporter living in Budapest. One month later though the Nazis invaded Eva's hometown.

Soon after the Nazi invasion Eva and her family are packed into the ghetto before they are sent to die in Auschwitz.

It's a poignant story that Mati Kochavi, an Israeli tech executive, and his daughter Maya felt deserved to be told.

"The memory of the Holocaust outside of Israel is disappearing," Mati said in an interview with The New York Times. "We thought, let's do something really disruptive. We found the journal and said, 'Let's assume that instead of pen and paper Eva had a smartphone and documented what was happening to her.' So we brought a smartphone to 1944."

Over the course of 70 Instagram stories the young British actress playing Eva and others reenact Eva's story for the series which was shot entirely on an iPhone.

The project is already receiving massive attention. Even before the series was launched on Wednesday the Instagram account for the heavily advertised project already had 200,000 followers. Now with 1.4 million followers and millions more viewers Eva's story is finally being heard.


The response to the series has been mostly positive and many were moved by Eva's story.







The project however is receiving its share of criticism from those who feel the using Instagram cheapens the history of the holocaust.

"The path from 'Eva's Story' to selfie-taking at the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau is short and steep," warns Yuval Mendelson, a musician and civics teacher wrote in an op-ed published in the Israel based newspaper Haaretz.

Maya Kochavi however disagrees. "Social media, especially Instagram, is shallow, especially if you're looking for content that is shallow." And if you're looking for content that is powerful and has magnitude and can cause revolutions even, you will easily find it there."


And many agree, applauding the modern retelling of Eva's story as a powerful reminder of lesson we can never forget.