#DigitalMemorial(s): How COVID-19 Reinforced Holocaust Memorials and Museums’ Shift Toward Social Media Memory

Tobias Ebbrecht-Hartmann*, Tom Divon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The severe restrictions on public life following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic affected Holocaust memorials and museums worldwide, especially in Europe, Israel, and the United States. These measures posed significant challenges to contemporary forms of Holocaust commemoration, which were based on collaborative practices of remembering, particularly related to the experience of presence at the memorial sites. In our chapter, we ask in which ways the pandemic had an accelerating effect on global Holocaust memory by tracing, analyzing, and identifying the institutionalized use of online platforms and digital formats on social media. We present results from an online survey conducted with 32 key institutions in the field of Holocaust commemoration in the Spring and Summer of 2020 and discuss them in the context of various forms of digital activities initiated by Holocaust memorials and museums in response to the pandemic. For that purpose, we have created a comprehensive database of 45 digital projects, which were released in the first months of the pandemic, and conducted a multimodal analysis of selected projects. We identified a significant increase in social media use and digital tools, in particular video formats, helping institutions to communicate virtually with potential audiences. Memorials utilized various social media features like live streams, stories, and hashtags to implement elements of participatory memory culture that offer users the possibility to participate in new collaborative forms of mediated commemoration. In doing so, they helped to establish like-minded and co-creative commemoration communities.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Memory Studies
VolumePart F1953
ISSN (Print)2634-6257
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6265

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024.


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