Many of us learned about the Holocaust through Anne Frank and her diary. Teenage Anne Frank wrote her diary while in hiding during 1942 to 1944, and The Diary of a Young Girl sold more than 100,000 copies in its first edition, has been translated into 60 languages, and is used across the world to share the personal stories of the Holocaust. In May 2019, another young Holocaust victim, Eva Heyman, has also had her diary shared around the world through Instagram under the handle @eva.stories – reaching 1.7 million followers in the first three weeks. Girl’s stories, their personal and emotive stories, clearly have a wide-reaching importance in understanding and memorialising the Holocaust in the age of social media.
Eva Stories uses Instagram’s ‘story’ tool to dramatize her diary, as if Eva Heyman herself was recording it. Eva Heyman dreamed of being a reporter, so she started to document her life in a diary on her 13th birthday. The diary was originally titled My Daughter Eva, as it was edited and published after Eva’s death by Heyman’s mother Ágnes Zsolt.
The so called ‘narrative-project,’ Eva Stories, spans over what seems a few months and unfolds over around 70 ‘stories.’ It starts showing Eva and her family and friends in their pre-war life, successful and happy. Her situation gradually worsens, showing short ‘story’ snippets of Nazi raids, her family’s fear, and eventually her deportation to Auschwitz where she was killed 17 Oct, 1944 . The last ‘story’ poignantly shows Eva crying holding the fictitious phone in front of herself and her grandmother, on a train to Auschwitz.
The popularity of the Eva Stories Instagram account is in part due to British actress Mia Quiney’s brilliant acting in playing Eva Heyman. She uses the medium of Instagram ‘stories’ to create a personal and intimate connection to the viewer. The relatability of Instagram ‘stories’ in this way is a powerful way of telling Eva Heyman’s story, Eva Heyman is instantly a recognisable young girl just like any other, which makes the end of her story feel all the more tragic.
The stories of girls such as Anne Frank and Eva Heyman are important in sharing the stories of the Holocaust and bringing her true story to life on the visual social media platform has been a success. Creators Mati Kochavi and his daughter, Maya have reported that more than 100 million people have viewed the stories. Diaries written by young girls during the Holocaust are an important means to tell commonplace experiences of the Holocaust, from a girls unique perspective.
Volunteer and Instagram Manager
Girl Museum Inc.