Every year Israeli teenagers by the thousands go on a very special school trip: The “Journey to Poland” takes them to former concentration camps, and to memorials. They capture their experiences in YouTube videos, thus allowing for a moving insight into the history of the Jews in Europe.
Seven days, four concentration camps, three mass graves, two ghettos, 14 commemorative ceremonies, 200 teenagers in one hotel – every year about 30,000 Israeli students travel with their history teachers to Poland to keep alive the remembrance of the history of the Jews in Europe, and of the Holocaust.
In Israel, this particular school trip is also known as the “Journey to Poland.” What starts out as an individual’s search for traces of their family history, more and more turns in a kind of common pilgrimage which enables the participants to understand their antecedents’ loss and suffering.
At a time with dwindling numbers of Holocaust survivors who can relate their experiences, the young generation wants to preserve the collective trauma from oblivion. Videos become an important tool of remembrance: On their trips the teenagers film every contemporary witness, every gas chamber, and every ceremony. They produce their very own version of history, upload it on YouTube, and share it in the social media.
On YouTube, the search for “Journey to Poland” results in more than 20,000 hits. In their videos the students share very private, emotional moments and try, in undisguised statements, to comprehend what they experienced.
#uploading_holocaust is the first documentary film made 100 per cent of existing YouTube material. It shows how the memory of the Holocaust changes in the digital age. Israeli directors Udi Nir and Sagi Bornstein searched the video platform for the tag “Journey to Poland” and composed the film from innumerable sources.