A kickoff video instead of a conference

In the frames of our new project The Holocaust, European Values and Local History during 2020 and 2021, together with the Archives of Vojvodina and 14 excellent partnering institutions from Austria, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Serbia we will develop, pilot and introduce sustainable methodologies and tools for an innovative approach in archival pedagogy, particularly in smaller local archives in Serbia. Our objective is to empower and train the archivists to create own educational outreach programs about the times of the Holocaust based on own archival materials and local history, and to incorporate archival pedagogy in their long-term approach and activities, presenting in the same time local micro-histories to global audiences. We marked the launch of the project with a digital kickoff event.

The coronavirus outbreak disrupted our plans

Together with the Archives of Vojvodina we were preparing a conference in Novi Sad for April 21st 2020 to mark the launch of our project. Representatives of all 16 partnering organisations, as well as other international guests and participants form Serbia were about to come to Novi Sad and take part in the event. We have chosen this particular date with aim to mark in the same time the April 22nd – The National Holocaust, WWII Genocide and other Fascist Crimes Victims` Remembrance Day in the Republic of Serbia, as well as Yom HaShoah – The Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, that this year falls on April 21st. But, the Coronavirus forced us to radically change our plans.

Going digital

We decided to go ahead with the kickoff despite everything, but instead of having our partners and guests in Novi Sad, I asked them to film themselves in their offices or homes using just a simple smartphone camera, and to send me their video contributions. My idea was to compile these videos in one compact film, and to try to structure in a similar way we would do with the conference if we were able to make it.

A powerful statement of solidarity and commitment

In just a few days, over 30 friends, partners, colleagues, experts and diplomats from Serbia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Slovakia, USA, Norway and France took their time and made an effort to produce their video contributions. I was sincerely touched by such response.

There was a variety of quality of recordings, and not to bother you with the technical mess I had to deal with as different videos were made in different formats, speed, resolutions, sound quality etc, and despite that I was encouraging them not to worry as “this is not a BBC production”, I still had to edit it in a very short time and in such way that the final product still obtain certain quality to justify the participation of such distinguished people appearing in the film – so I apologize that everything is not perfect in the final product. Yet – everything is just perfect, as the appearance of all these wonderful people in this “digital event” and their words are worth more than anything. I am very proud that in the final video you can hear Serbian, English, German, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, Romany, Hebrew, Norwegian and French language!

Livestream on Facebook

On April 21st I brought my (quite old) iPhone, a tripod, and an iPhone microphone to the Archives of Vojvodina. A small group consisting of Dr Nebojsa Kuzmanovic, Director of the Archives of Vojvodina, myself, a journalist from the RTV – Radio-Television of Vojvodina, and a journalist from the daily newspaper “Dnevnik”, gathered to make a livestream on Facebook from the entrance hall of the Archives, all equipped with face masks and protective gloves. At 14.00 CET we went live. Dr Kuzmanovic and myself spoke for about 15 minutes, giving some basic information about the project and announcing its official start.

The night before I finished editing all the video contributions, and compiled it in a 57 minutes long film. I uploaded it on YouTube and Facebook, and scheduled its publication for exactly 14:15 CET. So when we finished with the Facebook livestream, the film appeared on our facebook and YouTube channels.

It went great!

I am very happy with the results of this experiment. The livestream from the Archives of Vojvodina was followed by over 500 people. Technically it was absolutely perfect: great sound and video quality, despite that our main tool was just my old iPhone 6S! The stream is still available on Facebook as a video, and by now when I am writing this – just two days later, it was seen by over 1000 people. You can see it here: the Facebook live stream video.

The main video, the Kickoff film, is seen by over 2000 viewers on Facebook in two days, while the YouTube view count is just starting to take off.

See the Kickoff film

You can see the movie on YouTube (or here at the top of this post). In the description section below you can find the detailed content and speaker list with time links.

You are most welcome to share it and leave your comments on our YouTube or other social media channels.

We are looking forward to continue our work

We have a huge work ahead as our project is just starting, but I am already looking very much forward to it. Thank you very very much to all of the participants that contributed their videos to this event!

As some of the greatest minds of the last century once said:

“Oh I get by with a little help from my friends” ;)

Misko Stanisic

Dr Robert Williams

Dr Robert Williams, United States Holocaust Memorial, recorded his speach from his home in Washington D.C.

Aleksandra Aleksandrovic

Aleksandra Aleksandrovic, Roma editorial of the Radio-Television of Vojvodina, recorded her video contribution from Novi Sad

H.E. Ambassador Michaela Küchler, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)

H.E. Ambassador Michaela Küchler, Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), recorded her video contribution from her office in Berlin

Anastazija Mako

Anastazija Mako, Archivist, recorded her video contribution from the Historical Archives of Sombor

Misko and Nebojsa

Livestream on Facebook from the Archives of Vojvodina – Misko Stanisic, Terraforming, and Dr Nebojsa Kuzmanovic, Director of the Archives of Vojvodina