Piotr Buzek, a 22-year-old employee of the Brama Grodzka Cultural Center in Lublin, Poland, uses Facebook not to make friends for himself, but for Henio Zytomirski, a young boy who was killed in the Holocaust. Buzek has taken on Zytomirski as an alter ego, and he updates the boy’s Facebook page with devastating posts detailing what the boy might have experienced leading up to his death.
A recent entry reads: “Grandpa says that the war will soon be over. He says that soldiers also have families. How is that possible? They have a family, but they kill families.” Zytomirski’s 1,700-plus friends, most of whom are Polish, use the site to respond with a touching sincerity to a tragedy most of them were not alive to see: “I can’t imagine such beastliness,” wrote one. “They have no heart,” wrote another. Explains Buzek: “People write things on Henio’s page that we don’t speak about every day.”
While many young Holocaust victims have been declared “the next Anne Frank,” and young adult Holocaust literature remains a flourishing genre, Buzek’s use of Web 2.0 to illuminate Zytomirski’s story has touched a new chord. “Maybe I’m naïve, but I have a good feeling that Henio’s entries can make the world a slightly better place. They are making a contribution to ensure that something like the Holocaust never happens again.”
Young Holocaust Victim Has Over 1,700 Friends on Facebook [Deutsche Welle]