Nearly a year ago, Lily Ebert and her great-grandson, Dov Forman, began a TikTok account for the purpose of sharing Ebert’s story of surviving the Holocaust. Hundreds of videos and many millions of views later, Jonathan Edwards writes, the two are expanding their mission:
Unlike her mother, brother and sister, Lily Ebert survived the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. After the camp was liberated, Ebert made a promise to herself: she would tell people what had happened there and, in doing so, change the world.
Now, at ninety-eight, Ebert is keeping that promise in a way no one could have imagined in 1945. . . . Since their inaugural video on February 9 last year, the two have posted more than 380 videos on the social-media app, drawing in 1.7 million followers and amassing some 25 million likes in the process. Success on TikTok led to a book they’ve co-authored—Lily’s Promise—which is due out in May. Prince Charles wrote a foreword for the book.
Ebert’s TikTok campaign comes as anti-Semitism resurges across the United States. Anti-Semitic incidents—harassment, assault, and vandalism—have spiked 60 percent in the past five years, reaching near-record levels, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. Those have been punctuated by high-profile events like the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh in 2018 and outside San Diego in 2019.
Ebert said the rise of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial makes talking about the atrocities all the more important.