“A soccer game he could only dream of,” as written in the video posted on Tiktok.
Gidon Lev was among the 92 children who survived Auschwitz. He is 87 years old now and still continues to tell Holocaust stories on Tiktok to educate the younger generation. Recently, he found a drawing that he had created at the Theresienstadt camp in 1944 when he was just 9 years old. Lev and his partner Julie Gray posted a Tiktok video in which he is looking at the drawing. It shows Lev’s favorite sport – soccer. In the drawing, there are children who are playing the game. As mentioned in the video, “It was saved from Theresienstadt after the camp was liberated in 1945.” Then it is written, “A soccer game he could only dream of.”
Through his Tiktok channel, @thetrueadventures, he wants to share knowledge of the Holocaust with younger people. He became a Tiktok sensation with his 30-second educational videos.
Lev was born in 1935 in former Czechoslovakia, as reported by Tablet magazine. He was jailed at Theresienstadt concentration camp when he was just 6 years old and he was there till he turned 10. Reportedly, 150,000 children were killed at Auschwitz, Treblinka. He lost about 26 of his family members in the Holocaust. He came to Israel in 1959, joined the Six-Day War, and has married two times.
This weeks book recommendation is The True Adventures of Gidon Lev. He is a Holocaust survivor and brings his eternal sense of optimism to everyone around the world.— Umi Kouno (@KounoUmi) May 16, 2022
You can buy his book here: https://t.co/dGcQf0Crqh#GidonLev # thetrueadventures #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth pic.twitter.com/wnck2kOdoC
Lev has six children and 14 grandchildren. Despite the suffering he has gone through, he still loves to dance and his positive attitude is something that people love to watch on his channel. His Tiktok nickname is #tiktokgrandma. Lev said, “I always clung to life.” “The thirst to hold on and to survive is part of my character.”
@ukinisrael was honoured to host Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev at my Residence last night for #ZikaronBasalon. An amazing story of optimism through horror. #NeverForget @HolocaustUK #YomHaShoah2022 pic.twitter.com/CDT6bopZbL— Neil Wigan (@FCDONeilWigan) April 29, 2022
The Tiktok channel was initially created to promote Lev’s book, “The True Adventures of Gidon Lev: Rascal. Holocaust Survivor. Optimist.” But then he and Gray continued the channel as it gave them an opportunity to educate people. Slowly, “the business of selling the book has become secondary for us,” said Lev. They have close to 413,000 followers and has garnered more than 7.7 million likes on their channel.
Along the way, they also realized the amount of hatred, antisemitism, and Holocaust-denying present on the platform. He said, “The thing that vaulted us was the Holocaust comparisons to [COVID] vaccines,” said Gray. “We were tagged by a couple of big creators, and overnight it became our raison d’être.” On the channel, they also allow people to ask questions as they are curious to know more about the Holocaust. But for that, they also need 5 to 6 moderators who could block the trolls as well who want to sabotage these sessions. One of our highest moments,” Gray said, “is when a young TikToker tells Lev, ‘Thank you for making me not feel stupid.’”
“I want to tell young people what it was like in the day-by-day struggles” during the war, said Lev. He added that his personal life is way more relatable to people and the videos do not seem like history lessons. Moreover, there are also educators who want their students to get to know more about Holocaust. According to the couple, they had a Zoom meeting with fourth-grade children and most of them were not Jewish. "What we see clearly through our impact on our young audience is that Holocaust education needs to evolve,” said Gray.