In the midst of World War II, Polish Underground member Jan Karski was traveling throughout Europe and to the U.S., trying to convince with political leaders like President Franklin D. Roosevelt to intervene on behalf of Jews being slaughtered in the Holocaust.
No one wanted to help.
Karski gave speeches and even wrote a book to get his message out. 360,000 copies of his book were printed — a large number at the time — and yet the Holocaust continued.
At the Social Good Summit on Saturday, former Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz spoke about the power of social media to spread the word about modern day genocides, and how social media could have changed the world’s response to the Holocaust.
“I believe that today … in the digital age, ordinary people can do much more than anytime before,” Cimoszewicz said. “Today, nothing can be kept in secrecy. Everything can be reported.”
Rabbi David Kalp, who interviewed Cimoszewicz, asked him how social media could help prevent genocide.
We haven’t seen examples of that yet, he said, but social media has already been a powerful force for change in the Middle East.
Cimoszewicz believes we are not safe from genocide.
“That was one of the lessons: it may happen again. All the time, and everywhere.”
But Kalb thinks technology can have an impact — as long as people are willing to step in.
“For all technology has to offer, people still need to have a human conscious,” he said. “Technology is ultimately just a tool.”