6-year-old Holocaust victim has a Facebook page

A Facebook profile for a 6-year-old boy who died in the Holocaust appears, in order to remind people of the human toll. Some accuse the creators of "child abuse."

The more people use Facebook, the more they find new uses for it.

Sometimes these don't revolve around poking someone you met last night in a drunken bar, but poking the thoughts and conscience of a wider audience.

A Polish arts organization called Brama Grodzka (Grodzka Gate) was, according to the Associated Press, the driving force behind an idea to create a living testimonial to Holocaust victims. Following its lead, some members of his family and other administrators wrote a Facebook profile for Henio Zytomirski, a 6-year-old boy whose life was brutally taken in the Holocaust.

While more famous victims of injustice such as Anne Frank have their own Facebook pages, the idea of creating Facebook memorials to ordinary lives cut short is one that is powerful, if these pages are noticed and studied.

Henio's Facebook wall is already filled with messages from around the world, some leaving images of flowers, others leaving favorite music videos. He already has more than 3,000 friends.

What takes a little getting used to is that some of the posts on the page are written in the dead boy's voice. Some believe that such pages result in an unhelpful blurring between fact and fiction. One historian, Adam Kopciowski, even told the AP the postings amounted to "abuse toward a child that has been dead for the past 70 years."

Surely, though, it is better to be doing something rather than nothing. If just one more person discovers that Henio was taken with his father from their hometown in Lublin, eastern Poland to the Majdanek concentration camp, from which neither emerged, then surely that is a good thing. It's not as if historians have always been such servants of accuracy.

According to Facebook's highly subjective Terms of Service, Henio should have a fan page because he is dead. Moreover, the personal page has a 5,000 friend limit, while a fan page does not. A Facebook spokesperson, however, told the AP that the company helps people migrate profiles from personal page to fan page.

'Fan' is a difficult term with respect to a profile like Henio's. Perhaps Facebook should have a new category specifically for "Memorial Pages" or "Things You Should Really Know About Pages."

 

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