Three years ago, on Holocaust memorial day, a new account was created on the popular image-sharing social platform, Instagram. Called Eva (eva.stories), it showcased the life of a 13-year-old girl named Eva, with all the details you might expect from a young teenager – crushes, friends, parents, food, and fancy clothes.
But the content shared from that account quickly turned a very dark corner because Eva is a Jewish girl, living in Hungary, in 1944 – at the peak of World War II. The account imagines what her life might have looked like, and what kind of content such a girl would share.
Her Instagram account quickly “blew up” – garnering more than a million followers, and generating an enormous amount of buzz and media attention (at the moment of writing, the Instagram account counts 1.2 million followers).
How come? Stories of the Holocaust, or World War II in general, are not exactly news? What made Eva Stories so viral? Here are a couple of reasons:
It’s based on a true story
Eva is not a fictional character. Her name is Eva Heyman, and she really did live in Hungary during Europe’s darkest hour. She wanted to be a photography journalist, to live in work in London. Instead, she ended up documenting the Nazi invasion in her diary, until the day she was taken from her home and sent to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. This fact alone is enough for many people to relate to the character and all she’s been through.
2. It’s been carefully crafted by an amazing team
Eva Stories is the brainchild of an Israeli tech entrepreneur guru, Mati Kochavi, and his daughter, Maya. Together with a team of some 400 actors, extras, technicians, and others involved in the project, they’ve created roughly 400 scenes in Ukraine. The project had cost millions of dollars to produce, and included vintage set pieces, such as tanks, military uniforms, and other details from life during WWII. The end result is a high-quality, impressive set of photos and videos.
3. The Holocaust, as well as the entire World War II, is even more emotionally devastating when seen from a perspective of a child
Very few things in this world are as innocent as a child, and things seen through the eyes of a young human being are always amplified. Just as simple summer play turns into a party to last a lifetime, so does the Holocaust become infinitely darker and emotionally cataclysmic. Eva Stories is a project that leaves no one indifferent.
4. It’s super relevant in 2022, as Europe tackles a resurgence in fascist and nationalistic ideologies
Those that don’t learn from history, are bound to repeat it, the saying goes. Looking at the leaders of certain European countries today, it seems that some people skipped class. Perhaps it is an unfortunate twist of events, but Eva Stories is as relevant today, as it’s been in the aftermath of WWII, which is probably one of the reasons for its huge viral success.
The future belongs to the younger generations, but it’s up to the older ones to steer them in the right direction. The success of Eva Stories is testament that not all is lost, and that there’s still hope for future generations.