+
98-year-old Auschwitz survivor is using TikTok to share her story with young people

Lily Ebert was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau when she was 20 and now shares her story on TikTok.

We have reached a critical point in history when the opportunity to hear live, first-hand accounts of the Holocaust are quickly dwindling. Those who survived it—and remember it—are now in their 80s, 90s and 100s, and every year their number grows smaller and smaller.

If you have the opportunity to sit down and talk to a Holocaust survivor, I highly recommend it. Many won't have that opportunity, however, so the next best thing is bearing witness to these stories as they are shared on video. Not to discount the power of written accounts—those are vital, too—but there's something to the human-to-human connection of hearing a person who lived through it speak about their experiences.

Some Holocaust survivors have traveled to give talks to students in schools. But at least one woman who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp is using a more modern means of reaching young people with her story: TikTok.


With the help of her great-grandson (one of her 34 great-grandchildren), 98-year-old Lily Ebert shares brief videos on her TikTok channel describing some of what she experienced during the Holocaust and answers questions viewers ask. She currently has 1.7 million followers.

Ebert was 20 years old when her family was taken from their hometown in Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi death camps. Her mother, younger brother and younger sister were immediately taken to the gas chambers and killed. Ebert was sent to work in the camp where she spent four horrifying months.

"People would say 'four months isn't so long,'" she said in one of her videos. "But let me tell you something. Even four minutes was too long."

Ebert bears the tattoo of the number she was given—A-10572—on her forearm. "We were not humans," she said. "We were only a number."

@lilyebert

Reply to @garylee55786 It was a #hell 💔 #learnontiktok #holocaustsurvivor #neverforget #jew #survivor #important #listenandlearn #viral #97yearold #u

Ebert's story is shared in small pieces on TikTok, which can feel somewhat jarring. But TikTok is where the young folks are and reaching them with personal stories like this might be one of the most effective ways of reaching them.

People ask Ebert lots of questions and she answers some of them in videos. For instance, someone asked if she was scared she was going to die. Her thoughtful pause is as telling as her answer.

"In Auschwitz you were not afraid of death," she said. "You were afraid to live."

Some people ask questions that we don't see answered often—details that people might be curious about. In one video, Ebert talked about what it was like to use the bathroom. Toilets were rows of holes in the ground and they were told when they could use them—there was no privacy whatsoever.

She even answered a question about what women did about their periods, explaining that most women didn't have their periods because the physical trauma they endured prevented it.

Someone else asked if there were Nazi women at Auschwitz. Ebert said there were—and that sometimes they were worse than the men.

Another person asked if she encountered any Nazi guards who indicated that they didn't want to be torturing and killing people. Her answer was blunt: A person who was kind would not work in Auschwitz.

Some people might wonder how going through such a heinous experience impacts a person's faith. Her great-grandson asked her if she still believes in God after everything she endured.

"Yes, I do," she said. "Because God didn't do it. So-called humans did."

Ebert has been back to Auschwitz a few times since she was liberated. It's hard enough for anyone to see the enormous piles of shoes from people who were murdered there. It's hard to imagine what it would be like having seen and smelled the smoke coming from the crematorium there, knowing your loved ones were among those killed.

Ebert's "ask me anything" posts have become a way for young people to interact with that harrowing chapter of human history in a rarely accessible way. She can choose which questions to answer and give some personal insight into what the Holocaust was like.

"What was the first thing you did after liberation?" someone asked.

@lilyebert

A #holocaustsurvivor answers your questions! #askmeanything #learnontiktok #survivor #neverforget #history #oldtok #love #hungarian #forjewpage #fypp

Ebert said she lay down on the floor and fell asleep. Sleep was practically impossible at the camp and she was so tired.

Another person asked why she thinks she survived the hell of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

She said she didn't know. "But maybe it was so that I could tell you and thousands of other people what happened there. To be a witness."

"I was really not sure that I would stay alive," Ebert told CBS News. "It is a miracle that I am here. But I promised myself, however long I will be alive, and whatever I will do in life, one thing is sure, I will tell my story."

@lilyebert

Have I ever thought about removing my Auschwitz [tattoo] number? #holocaustsurvivor #98yearold #learnontiktok #tattoo #concentrationcamp #strongwoman #neverforget #history #gmb #holocaustmemorialday #jew #goodmorningbritain #jewish

Ebert was recently interviewed on "Good Morning Britain" and was asked if she's ever thought about having the tattoo of her number removed. She said she had never thought about it.

"I want to show the world because to see something or to hear about it makes a big difference. And the world should know how deep they cut, how deep humans can go."

Thank you, Lily Ebert, for being willing to answer questions to help educate younger generations on the realities of the Holocaust so we can strive to make sure humanity never allows such atrocities to happen again.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

Keep ReadingShow less

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

Keep ReadingShow less
via Pexels

What's the most relaxing song in the world?

Pexels This article originally appeared on 11.03.16

Stressed? Of course you are. Luckily for you, and the entire U.S. population, scientists believe they may have identified the most relaxing song in the world.

Music has forever been associated with bringing about relaxation, happiness, and serenity — whether it's a Gregorian chant or some Enya accompanied by a glass of merlot.

Neuroscientists in the United Kingdom think they have found the one song that relieves stress and soothes our souls more than any other.

Keep ReadingShow less

Ring footage shows Adrian Rodriguez returning a lost purse.

At Upworthy, we are always looking to share the best of humanity and there are few things that reveal someone’s good character quite like when they do good when no one is watching. A recent story from Chula Vista, California, celebrates a teenager who went out of his way to return a woman’s lost purse.

According to NBC News San Diego, Eliana Martin was shopping at Ralph’s supermarket when she accidentally left her purse in a shopping cart in the parking lot. After she left the store, she realized she had lost her purse and began frantically canceling her credit cards.

Shortly after Martin left the parking lot, a recent high school graduate, Adrian Rodriquez, 17, found her purse in the cart. Rodriguez searched the purse to look for an identification card to find where she lived so he could return it to her. He then drove over to the address on the identification card, where Melina Marquez, Martin's former roommate, currently lives.

Marquez wasn’t home so Rodriguez left the purse with a relative. Marquez later saw video of the drop-off on the family’s Ring doorbell camera.

“I looked into the Ring camera, and I was like, ‘Oh my God. He’s such a young kid.’ I was like, ‘We need to find him and just give him a little piece of gratitude.’” Marquez told NBC San Diego.

Keep ReadingShow less