As the International Holocaust Remembrance Day approaches this Saturday, a massive international campaign that seeks to memorialize the Holocaust was kicked-off Wednesday at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.
In what organizers are calling the largest Holocaust remembrance campaign in the world, photos of survivors, together with those of participating web users from all over the world, will be projected onto the walls of the death camp, holding a sign saying #WeRemember, until Sunday evening.
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is behind the initiative, which has been dubbed the WeRemember campaign.
Toby Levy was only eight when she had to hide in her aunt's attic. "I want you to be my witnesses," she implored. "I was born the year Hitler came to power, 1933, when the Germans came, they immediately gave us orders."
Levy will never forget the horrifying images she witnessed as the Jews were rounded up. "One Jew was taken aside, they shaved his short beard and proceed to push him to the ground; a German placed his foot on his back saying: 'You are now finished, you have no more rights.'"
Toby, together with eight family members, hid in the attic, but her grandfather refused to hide and his family heard as the Germans shouted at him to come along; he refused and was shot. And then there was silence.
"My mom asked: what are we going to do now? And my dad said: we will find someone to hide us." Her name was Stefani Strak, but after a run in with the police, Stefany feared for the life of her children (16 and 19) and asked Tova's family to leave.
Toby says she understood his fear, but the 16 year-old son Tajek beseeched his mother saying that the family would not survive alone and helped lead the family to safety in the forest.
The responsibility of the next generation
Despite the many years that have passed, Levy remembers everything. "We never called Stefani by her name, we called her 'the queen' or the' the savior.'" The family lived off of the kindness of Stefani and Tajek for 23 months and survived the war.
Toby Levy is now participating in the international remembrance campaign that is asking people to make the "#WeRemember" signs and publish them on social networks.
Joining her are dozens of Knesset members, influential figures and religious leaders from all over the world; football and basketball players are joining with youth groups to be photographed with the sign.
The WJC say that more than 250 million people were exposed to the campaign last year. They are hoping to double that amount this year.
"Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and xenophobia continue to rear their ugly head," says Ronald Lauder, President of the WJC. "We must remember the Holocaust because the number of survivors among us drops every year. In a few decades there will be no more. It is the duty of the young generation to teach their friends about the horrors of hate."
"International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an opportunity to spread the message: Never Again," said Robert Zinger, Director of the WJC at its NY headquarters. "We therefore launched the"#WeRemember" campaign with the symbolic goal of reaching six million people."