Princeton Day School sophomore Carly Feldstein has embarked on an ambitious project called Accounts of the Holocaust. Envisioned as a new way to tell the stories of Holocaust survivors, the project will use an online graphic narrative platform, similar to Facebook, in order to preserve the memories of the Holocaust in a modern way.
As Holocaust survivors, whose personal accounts have been mesmerizing to generations, are dying each day, their stories are increasingly left for others to tell, which can diminish the impact. Carly believes that it is extremely important to document these original stories in the original voices of the survivors so that future generations never forget the horrors of the war and will hopefully never repeat them.
As Carly noted in a letter about the project, "We are what you call digital natives: kids who see the world in tweets and posts, who grew up on Facebook, Instagram, and with a powerful multi-media tool—the iPhone--in our hands from the day we were born. We're used to receiving information in a fast-paced and visual format, so it's not surprising that sometimes the old ways of learning about history don't capture our attention."
Carly has partnered with the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC) who are working with her to research and assemble hundreds of real stories taken from the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Accounts of the Holocaust will ultimately be available online in a social media style format with external links to additional information, but the narratives could also be read in printed form. Carly said, "I even envision delivering content day by day to give the sense of the events unfolding in real time."
Carly is working with a graphic designer to create the prototype for Accounts of the Holocaust. She envisions the site as a public site--not one that users need to join. Though the original plan--Carly conceived of the idea when she was in 8th grade-- was to launch Accounts of the Holocaust on Facebook because, as she mentioned, it is the best social media outlet for telling stories, Carly realized that Facebook is not as responsive and has unfortunately been a platform for harsh and sometimes hateful comments. She has been working to raise funds to help the Johannesburg Center with the research and writing and will continue to do until they reach their goal. The hope is to launch Accounts of the Holocaust by 2019.