Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is a collective responsibility, serving as a crucial cautionary tale against the perils of intolerance. This responsibility takes on added significance in Brazil, a country that has witnessed a disturbing uptick in hate crimes and incidents with Nazi associations in its schools in recent years.
Between 2018 and 2022, Brazil was governed by an administration whose actions and statements were several times interpreted as sympathetic to Nazism. This environment contributed to the alarming data, such as:
- The presence of neo-Nazi cells increased from 72 in 2015 to 1,117 in 2022.
- According to UNESCO, 49% of Holocaust-related posts on Telegram either deny or distort the facts.
- In the first half of 2022, hate crimes on the internet surged by nearly 70%, as reported by Safernet.
This political context highlighted the importance of reminding the Brazilian population about the dangers of hatred and the lessons of the Holocaust. However, it is relevant to mention that Brazil did not witness the atrocities of the Holocaust, resulting in limited awareness of Holocaust events among the Brazilian population.
Given this concerning context, in 2023 Holocaust Remembrance Day, UNESCO, Museu do Holocausto de Curitiba, and CONIB faced the challenge of going beyond merely reviving the memory of the Holocaust. It was essential to bring the memory of the Holocaust closer to the Brazilian reality marked by violence, hatred, and intolerance.
The preservation of Holocaust memory is a moral obligation that transcends the boundaries of time and culture. Understanding and remembering this dark chapter in human history is vital to prevent the horrors of the past from recurring in the future.
The testimonies of Holocaust survivors have always been essential, as they humanize statistics and create bridges of connection. However, time is relentless. These survivors age and pass away, leaving us with a mission: As the last generation to coexist with these individuals, it is up to us to keep their narratives alive and timeless.
This insight inspired an unprecedented meeting between two generations of survivors, revealing parallels between contemporary hatred and the Holocaust. Memories of the past intertwined with the present inspire both the old and the new guard in the ongoing fight against hatred.
The campaign portrayed the meeting of these two generations through 3 different films. Joshua Strul, Gabriel Waldman, and Ruth Sprung, Holocaust survivors, recount stories of intolerance that seem to have occurred in Europe in the 1940s but actually happened in present-day Brazil. These are the real stories of Odivaldo Silva, Naiá Tupinambá, and André Baliera.
To mobilize society, we harnessed the full range of public relations tools. Our efforts were rooted in collaboration, ensuring integration and organic outcomes that made a tangible impact.
A crucial element of this strategy was the creation of films tailored for both television and online platforms. Collaboration with prominent Brazilian TV networks secured prime placement of the films during popular programs like "Fantástico" and "Big Brother Brasil," ensuring extensive exposure and widespread dissemination.
Films and other content were shared across major social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The online strategy extended beyond the primary films, as an additional six videos delved into the individual experiences of the six survivors. These content were available on social media and an 'adoption center,' an exclusive landing page that facilitated the sharing of these narratives as symbols of memory preservation and anti-hate initiatives. A significant call to the entire society, particularly those with the power to influence public debate, generated a rallying collective commitment cultivating a sense of shared responsibility and collective engagement.
This strategy garnered substantial interest from major newspapers in the country, which featured the campaign prominently in their reporting. Additionally, the involvement of celebrities, influencers, and authorities from various domains underscored the message's significance and lent credibility to the cause.
First and foremost, the campaign reversed a concerning trend: the decline in Google searches for the term 'Holocaust'. With a increase of 56%, the campaign ignited a renewed interest in this topic, restoring the relevance of this historical event even within a backdrop of continuous waning interest in preceding years.
The PR efforts granted prominence in over 50 press publications, both nationally and internationally, amassing more than 1.3 thousand mentions across major newspapers, online portals, and radio broadcasts. The extensive media coverage resulted in an estimated media value of R$ 17 million, fostering significant discussions and introducing the topic into the cultural fabric of a country distanced from Holocaust memory.
With a reach of 200 million Brazilians, nearly the entire population, the campaign underscored the urgent importance of the subject. This extensive reach signifies that the message transcended social and cultural barriers, touching different strata of society and reassuring the relevance of Holocaust lessons within the Brazilian context.
Over 60 thousand people adopted the stories, demonstrating a strong commitment to combat historical erasure. The participation of over 100 influential figures, including celebrities and politicians, solidified the campaign's impact, indicating cross-sectional support for its message.
One of the most significant outcomes was the establishment of an educational project in collaboration with the Department of Education. This project aims to reinforce Holocaust memory within public schools, preparing new generations to combat hatred and intolerance. This long-term legacy of the campaign will ensure lasting impact, shaping attitudes and consciousness for generations to come.