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One of the last remaining survivors of Auschwitz, 98-year-old Lily Ebert, who now lives in London, has gained more than 1.6 million followers on TikTok – where she answers people’s questions about surviving the Holocaust – with the help of her 18-year-old great grandson Dov Forman.
'I was in Auschwitz for four months'
Lily was born in the Hungarian town of Bonyhad in 1923. In March 1944, the Nazis invaded Hungary. A few months later, when Lily was 20, she and her family were taken to the death camp where more than a million people were murdered by the Nazis, including her mother and two siblings, as she explains in one of her short videos:
We arrived in Auschwitz with my mother, my three sisters and my younger brother. There, we had to stand in groups of five and go before a man. With one movement, he sent people to the right, or to the left. Me and my two sisters were sent to the right. My mother with my younger brother and younger sister were sent to the left. People who were sent to the left were taken straight to the crematorium.
"I was in Auschwitz for four months. Four months in a death camp. People would say, 'Four months is not so long.' But I will tell you something…even four months was too long," she said in another video.
Her great-grandson's idea
Lily Ebert has told her story countless times, both in the British Parliament and in schools across London, where she now lives with her family. However, the 98-year-old was no longer able to share her testimony in person during the 2020 pandemic lockdowns. That’s when her great grandson Dov Forman came up with the idea of sharing her story on TikTok.
"It is very important that the world knows what happened to us, because there are not many of us left," she said in one of her first videos. “What will happen when we are all gone, when already today the deniers are saying that it didn't happen? We have to be very strong and say it, again and again and again: it happened."
'We were no longer humans'
A June 2021 video of Lily showing her identification number tattoo from the concentration camp received more than 20 million views. In it, she explained:
My number is A-10572. That is what I was, they did not call us by our name. We were no longer humans. We were only a number and we were treated like numbers.
Having mastered social media, Lily and Dov have now written a book to ensure that Lily’s testimony and the tragedies of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
Over six million Jews — men, women and children — were killed by the Nazi regime in the Holocaust. Other targeted groups included communists, gay men and Roma people.
A 2020 survey of people ages 18 to 39 across the United States found 63% did not know six million Jews had been killed in the Holocaust — including 36% who believed no more than two million had died. The survey also found that 49% reported seeing misinformation about the Holocaust online and 56% were unaware of what Auschwitz was.