Holocaust survivor Elizabeth Wilk shared her testimony with employees of the Snap Inc. technology company in New York City last week at a meeting organized by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), in collaboration with Zikaron BaSalon.
Born in the Polish capital of Warsaw, Wilk was a toddler when World War II broke out with the Nazi invasion of her country. Wilk and her parents were subsequently moved to the Warsaw Ghetto. She and her mother ultimately escaped from the ghetto with the assistance of the Polish underground, but her father perished there.
Wilk and her mother survived the war in hiding, moving from place to place, protected at times by friends and acquaintances who were later recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations.”
Wilk’s visit to Snap Inc. office was part of an ongoing initiative to bring Holocaust survivors to U.S.-based media and technology companies in an effort to educate about the Nazi genocide and raise awareness of the perils of rising contemporary antisemitism eight decades later.
The talk with Wilk — whose story is detailed here and here — was moderated by David Roter, Vice President for Global Agency Partnerships at Snap Inc. The gathering would also not have been possible without the efforts of Software Engineer and Co-Lead for SnapShalom David Lipowicz, Bitmoji Content Specialist and Co-Lead for SnapShalom Aly Silverberg, Public Policy Lead Rebecca Vangelos, IT Support Specialist Nelson Chan, AV Technician Veronica Martinez, and Workplace Experience Coordinator Maryanne De Jesus.
A total of 33 people attended the event in-person, with more than 100 others joining virtually.
“Antisemitism and anti-minority hate is always there, people will think ‘little things’ about Jews or anyone,” Wilk said. “That’s how people are, but you have to be proud of who you are and not hide it.”
Additional media outlets and companies participating in the initiative include Google, theSkimm, The Dallas Morning News, The Tennessean, The Washington Times, and National Religious Broadcasters.
As the number of survivors with living memory of the Holocaust dwindles with each passing year, the need to enshrine the lessons of the past and pass them down to future generations is only growing more imperative.