NEW YORK (VINnews) — Lily Ebert swore that if she would survive the Holocaust, she would tell the world about what had happened. For many decades Ebert lectured in universities and schools, a living witness to the horrors inflicted by the Nazis. However COVID-19 curtailed many of these activities and the feisty 97-year-old survivor, who at one point survived COVID-19 herself, felt that she could not continue to reach her audience and spread her message.Click to get Text Message Updates right to your phone
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Ebert’s great-grandson, 17-year-old Dov Forman felt that social media could be the place where Ebert’s message could be disseminated to a larger audience and he therefore suggested using TikTok, a name unfamiliar to Ebert. Even he could not have imagined that, a year and a half later, Ebert would have 1.2 million followers on TikTok, a platform used in many cases to make humorous videos of other people. There is no humor in Ebert’s grim descriptions of what occurred in Auschwitz, but the fact that she can be asked questions by viewers and answers them frankly has attracted new audiences for Ebert’s message.
Ebert is asked if she was afraid of death in Auschwitz. She answers that “we were not afraid of death, we were afraid to live.” She describes how she was separated from her Mother and two younger siblings, not imagining that this was the last time she would see them. Ebert, who was deported to Auschwitz in 1944, was fortunate to have two sisters who survived with her- later she met up with her older brother who had also survive.
Forman explains that although he has been taught to be very wary of social media, he felt a message of hope and dignity from one of the last survivors of Nazi death camps would resonate with viewers. He knew all too well that there are anti-semites online, but his great-grandmother was shocked: “Dov and I have received some terrible comments on social media. I never thought that in 2021 I would still be facing anti-semitism.” Despite this Lily continues to present her message and was recently interviewed with Dov for the Sunday Times, a leading British newspaper, as well as completing a book with Dov entitled Lily’s Promise.
The 97-year-old’s humor and joie de vivre as well as her deep faith in G-d shine through in every interview. When Dov asked her to go on TikTok, she said: “I’ll make videos with you, but I’m not dancing.” She concedes that when she tried to play football with her great-grandson “my skills were not satisfactory” but stresses that even after the Holocaust she maintained her faith in G-d: “It was not G-d who made the Holocaust, it was so-called human beings.”