MetroFocus: November 10, 2022

EXPLORING HATE: HOW TIKTOK IS BEING USED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ANTISEMITISM

Antisemitism and Holocaust misinformation and denial are spreading rapidly across social media.  As TikTok captures the vast majority of eyeballs amongst Gen Z audiences in the U.S. and globally, a creator with a built-in distribution platform with millions of followers – hopes to raise awareness on the issue and ensure young people understand the truth about what really happened during the Holocaust.  TikTok influencer Montana Tucker is taking her 11.4 million followers on a journey by retracing her grandparents’ experience during the Holocaust in a series titled How To:  Never Forget, which consists of ten 2–3-minute episodes.  Through this exploration of her own roots, Montana is sharing her experience with her generation — Gen Z, and she joins MetroFocus along with Rachel Kastner, the producer of the series, to discuss their project.  This conversation is a part of our Exploring Hate initiative.

You can watch the full How To:  Never Forget series here.

Learn more about our Exploring Hate initiative.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, THE DESCENDENTS OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS TURNING TO TIKTOK, AN APP BEST KNOWN FOR VIRAL DANCES TO TEACH MILLIONS TO TRUTH ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM SPREADING ONLINE.

THEIR MISSION, TO MEET YOUNG PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT AND PASS ALONG A HOLOCAUST LESSON THEY'LL NEVER FORGET.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING FOUR SWASTIKAS CARVED INTO TREES AT A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL IN NASSAU COUNTY.

THIS JUST THE LATEST ANTI-SEMITIC INCIDENT MAKING NEWS IN THE TRY STATE AREA AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

NOW, IN ADDITION TO INSTANCES OF HATE IN THE REAL WORLD, ANTI-SEMITIC RHETORIC AND IDEAS, INCLUDING HOLOCAUST DENIAL HAVE BEEN SPREADING RAPIDLY ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS.

WITH FEWER YOUNG PEOPLE THAN EVER BEFORE INDICATING THAT THEY ARE EVEN AWARE OF THE FULL SCOPE OF THE EVILS OF THE HOLOCAUST.

THE CONSEQUENCES TO THIS COULD BE SEVERE.

SO, IN ORDER TO COUNTERACT THE RAMPANT DISINFORMATION AND EDGE EDUCATE YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE HOLOCAUST IN A WAY THEY CAN RELATE TO, MONTANA TUCKER, A TIKTOK FLUOR WITH MILLIONS OF FOLLOWERS PRODUCED 'HOW TO: NEVER FORGET.'

IT WAS RELEASE IN THE TIME FOR THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE KRISTALLNACHT, USES MONTANA'S JOURNEY ABOUT HER OWN FAMILY'S EXPERIENCE IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN ORDER TO RAISE AWARENESS ON ANTI-SEMITISM AND ENSURE YOUNG PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED DURING THE HOLOCAUST.

HERE'S A QUICK CLIP.

TODAY I'M GOING TO DO SOMETHING VERY, VERY, VERY DIFFERENT.

FOR SOME OF YOU GUYS MAY KNOW, MY GRANDPARENTS BOTH ARE HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS.

MY GRANDMA WAS IN AUSCHWITZ, AND A DREAM OF THEIRS I THINK ALWAYS WAS FOR ME TO GO VISIT.

I FEEL LIKE IT'S NOT GOING TO FULLY HIT ME UNTIL WE'RE THERE, YOU KNOW?

WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT, WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IT FOR A WHILE, BUT I FEEL LIKE IT'S NOT GOING TO FULLY HIT ME UNTIL WE'RE THERE AND ACTUALLY EXPERIENCING EVERYTHING.

HAVING TO BE WHERE YOUR GREAT GRANDPARENTS, MY GRANDPARENTS PERISHED IN AUSCHWITZ IS --

I KNOW.

I'M GOING TO BE TAKING YOU GUYS ALONG THIS JOURNEY WITH ME.

I'M GOING TO BE VISITING MANY PLACES IN POLAND TO LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, BUT IT'S ALL LEADING UP TO GOING TO AUSCHWITZ.

IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT NOWADAYS FOR EVERYONE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS HISTORY, AND AS SAD AS IT IS AND TERRIBLE AS IT IS WE NEED TO REMIND PEOPLE THAT THIS CAN NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

IT'S GOING TO BE VERY, VERY HARD WEEK, BUT I'M READY FOR IT, AND I KNOW MY GRANDPARENTS ARE GOING TO BE REALLY PROUD OF ME FOR DOING THIS, SO, YEAH, I LOVE YOU GUYS.

BYE.

JOINING ME NOW AS PART OF OUR EXPLORING HATE INITIATIVE, EXAMINING THE ROOTS AND RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM, RACISM, AND EXTREMISM IN AMERICA ARE MONTANA TUCKER AND RACHEL KASTNER.

NOW, MONTANA A SINGER, ACTRESS, SONG WRITER AND SOCIAL MEDIA FLUOR BEHIND THE 'HOW TO: NEVER FORGET' TIKTOK SERIES.

AND RACHEL IS THE SERIES PRODUCER.

LADIES, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

I REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

AND RACHEL, SAME TO YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, AND THANKS FOR COVERING THIS STORY.

ABSOLUTELY.

NOW, ACTUALLY FIRST, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, ON PBS AND SPECIFICALLY HERE ON WNET, WE'VE DONE A LOT OF COVERAGE ABOUT THE HORRORS OF THE HOLOCAUST, TALKING ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE ROLE THAT IT'S PLAYED, BUT FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE FAMILIAR, THEY MIGHT BE SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS SAYING, WHY WOULD THE DANCING APP BE THE PLACE TO TAKE SUCH A CRITICALLY IMPORTANT STORY?

MONTANA, I WANT TO START WITH YOU AND SAY, WHY TIKTOK?

SO, FOR ME, I AM A DANCER AND SINGER/ACTRESS, ALL OF THE ABOVE, AND THAT'S WHAT I BECAME POPULAR ON THE APPS TIKTOK AND INSTAGRAM FOR.

AND I SAID TO MYSELF, I HAVE GROWN SUCH A HUGE AMAZING FOLLOWERING THAT I'M SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL FOR.

WITH THE RISE IN ANTI-SEMITISM MORE THAN EVER, I WAS -- FIRST OF ALL, BOTH MY GRANDPARENTS ARE HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AND AYE KNOWN THEIR STORIES MY ENTIRE LIFE, AND I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO POLAND AND VISIT MY HISTORY, BUT I WAS NEVER ABLE TO DO IT.

AND A FRIEND OF BOTH RACHEL AND I SAID, I'M GOING TO BRING YOU TO POLAND, YOU'RE GOING TO DO THIS.

HE CONNECTED ME WITH RH AND THE REST WAS HISTORY.

WHY WE FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO RELEASE IT ON THESE APPS RATHER THAN A DOCUMENTARY IS BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THESE KIDS ARE WATCHING 24/7.

THEY DON'T WANT TO GO AND WATCH A FULL LENGTH DOCUMENTARY.

IF A VIDEO'S OVER TWO MINUTES -- THEY'VE SCROLLED TEN TIME IN THE PAST TWO MINUTES.

WHY WE THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO DO THESE BITE SIZE SERIES EPISODES, ESPECIALLY FOR THESE APPS BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE THEY'RE SCROLLING.

IF THEY'RE GOING TO STOP AND WATCH ANYTHING, WE WANT THEM TO WATCH THIS.

AND IT'S JUST BEEN AMAZING.

NOW, OF COURSE WE SHOWED A QUICK CLIP TO GIVE PEOPLE AN EXAMPLE, BUT RACHEL, I JUST WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE AS A PRODUCER, WHICH, AGAIN, IS SOMETHING I DON'T THINK PEOPLE WOULD ATTACH TO SOMETHING LIKE SOCIAL MEDIA, PRODUCING A SERIES.

BUT WHAT IS IT ABOUT THESE PLATFORMS THAT'S MAKING IT UNIQUE?

BECAUSE AGAIN, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT -- THIS IS A VERY DEEP, VERY EMOTIONAL SUBJECT, AND YET HOW DO YOU PRODUCE IT IN SMALLER CHUNKS AND STILL STAY TRUE TO THE AUTHENTIC STORY?

AMAZING QUESTION.

I WILL START BY GOING BACKWARDS.

I'M ALSO THE GRANDCHILD OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, SO TO WORK ON THIS WITH MONTANA, TO LIVE ON OUR GRANDPARENTS' LEGACY IS THE BIGGEST HONOR OF A LIFETIME.

AND MY FIRST FULL LENGTH DOCUMENTARY WAS A HOLOCAUST PROJECT.

SO IN THAT PIECE I HAD A FULL HOUR TO TELL A STORY.

SO APPROACHING THIS PROJECT WAS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT.

WE WENT TO POLAND AND SHOT FOR A WEEK ABOUT 100 HOUR OF FOOTAGE OF MONTANA LEARNING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, LEARNING ABOUT JEWISH LIFE BEFORE THE HOLOCAUST, GOING TO THE CAMPS, LEARNING ABOUT HER FAMILY HISTORY.

WE WENT TO MORE THAN ONE CONCENTRATION CAMP ON THIS PRODUCTION.

WHEN WE CAME BACK TO THE EDITING ROOM, WE KNEW WE ONLY HAD TEN EPISODES, AROUND TWO MINUTES EACH TO TELL THESE STORIES.

AND WHAT WAS CRUCIAL FOR US WAS EACH EPISODE FEELS LIKE ITS OWN PIECE.

YOU COULD WATCH THEM INDEPENDENTLY.

SO IF ANYONE WERE TO COME ACROSS EPISODE FOUR OR SEVEN OR NINE OR TEN IN ANY ORDER, THEY WOULD BE IMPACTED, FEEL LIKE THEY GOT A BITE-SIZE STORY.

THERE ARE MOMENTS IN MOVIES THAT WE REMEMBER, RIGHT, WHEN WE SEE A FULL-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY OR MOVIE, THERE'S GOING TO BE A SPECIFIC SCENE OR LINE THAT STICKS OUT TO US.

WE'RE DOING THE SAME THING HERE.

WE'RE JUST INNOVATING THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT WE'RE TELLING STORIES IN.

BUT THERE'S NO REASON A STORY HAS TO BE AN HOUR LONG.

WE CAN TELL TWO-MINUTE STORY, AND THAT'S WHAT WE TRIED TO DO HERE.

I WAS GOING TO SAY, THAT'S ALWAYS THE CHALLENGE OF JOURNALISM.

I WANT TO GO ALSO INTO JUST THIS MOMENT THAT WE'RE IN.

NOW, OF COURSE A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE -- I FEEL SO OLD SAY THAT -- BUT GENZ, TEENS, TWEENS, EVEN MILLENNIALS ARE VERY AWARE OF EVEN RIGHT NOW IN THE ZEITGEIST WE'VE SEEN ISSUES WITH POPULAR CELEBRITIES -- OF COURSE KANYE WEST HERE IN NEW YORK CITY THERE'S BEEN ISSUES WITH THE BASKETBALL STAR KYRIE IRVING -- AND BEING TIED TO SHARING ANTI-SEMITISM OR JUST SPEAKING ANTI-SEMITISM DIRECTLY.

SO MONTANA, I JUST WANT TO GET FROM YOU, FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF -- I GUESS, YEAH, TO SPEAK IN TIKTOK TERMS, THE VIBE THAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW?

I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT IN 2022 WE ARE STILL DEALING WITH THIS AND THAT IT'S RISING.

I MEAN, IT'S ONE THING TO BE DEALING WITH IT AND DECLINING, BUT THE FACT THAT THIS IS RISING MORE THAN EVER -- WE ALWAYS HAD THIS DOCUMENTARY PLANNED, THIS DOCUSERIES PLANNED.

PLANNED TO RELEASE IT NOW.

THE FACT THAT EVERYTHING JUST STARTED HAPPENING IN THE WORLD IS REALLY CRAZY, BUT SHOWS WHY WHAT WE'RE DOING IS SO IMPORTANT AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.

THE FACT THAT IT HAPPENED COINCIDELY THAT WAY -- I THINK THESE CELEBRITIES THAT ARE SPEAKING, THEY DON'T -- MAYBE THEY DO REALIZE BUT THEIR WORDS AND WHAT THEY SAY, THEY'RE SO IMPORTANT.

PEOPLE IDOLIZE THEM.

SO EVERY WORD THEY SAY, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO LISTEN TO AND HEAR, AND THAT'S WHY EVEN IF THEY'RE -- THEY'RE JUST SHARING A BOOK OR JUST SAYING SOMETHING, THEY DON'T REALIZE HOW POWERFUL THAT IS, THAT THEIR ONE TWEET, THEIR ONE POST, WHAT THEY'RE SAYING.

BECAUSE MOST KIDS, WE KNOW THIS, ARE NOT EVEN LEARNING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST IN SCHOOL, SO THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT.

THEY'RE HEARING THEIR FAVORITE BASKETBALL STAR AND FAVORITE RAPPER SAY ANTI-SEMITIC COMMENTS, AND THEY'RE GOING TO BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW BETTER.

THEN SOME DO KNOW BETTER BUT SAY, LOOK AT THIS PERSON SAYING IT.

IT MUST BE TRUE.

NOT TO SHINE TOO MUCH LIGHT ON THIS, BUT I DID COMMENT ON KYRIE'S POST.

I MADE A COMMENT ON HIS POST SAYING THAT HIS WORDS ARE POWERFUL AND THAT AN APOLOGY WAS REALLY NECESSARY AND THANK YOU FOR THE APOLOGY, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IT ALL STARTS WITH WORDS.

AND I ENCOURAGED HIM TO WATCH MY SERIES SO HE COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.

AND THE HATE THAT I RECEIVED IN HIS COMMENTS WERE JUST -- YOU CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE DID.

RACHEL AND I HAD TO STOP READING THEM.

YOU CAN'T BELIEVE A HUMAN BEING WOULD SPEAK TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING THAT WAY, AND IT'S THE FIRST TIME I FEEL LIKE I TRULY WAS LIKE, OKAY, THIS IS SCARY NOW.

AND THE DEGREE OF DENIAL, RIGHT?

IT'S LIKE, THE ACTUAL DENIAL THAT WE'RE SEEING.

I MEAN, I HAVE TO SAY, MONTANA AND I WERE SHOCKED.

THE MAJORITY OF COMMENTS ON THE EPISODES ARE INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.

PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY MOVED, WHO NEVER LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, AS MONTANA MENTIONED WE KNOW THAT MOST STATES DON'T REQUIRE HOLOCAUST EDUCATION RIGHT NOW, RIGHT?

SO THERE'S A LOT OF KIDS WATCHING THIS, LEARNING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST FOR THE FIRST TIME.

OR THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THAT THEY'RE REMEMBERING IT BECAUSE THEY'RE HEARING ABOUT IT FROM ONE A THEIR HEROES, MONTANA, WHO THEY LOVE.

SO TO SEE THE OUTRIGHT HOLOCAUST DENIAL IN SOME OF THESE COMMENTS, EVEN ON MONTANA'S VIDEOS, WHICH ARE OBVIOUSLY -- I MEAN, IT'S A DOCUMENTARY, RIGHT?

WE'RE NOT SCRIPTED.

THIS WAS TAKING MONTANA ON A JOURNEY TO LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AND BRING HER FOLLOWERS WITH HER.

IT'S -- READING THOSE COMMENTS IS PRETTY HARROWING.

I WONDER, FROM BOTH OF YOU, AND MONTANA ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU ARE AN INFLUENCER ON THESE PLATFORMS, THERE'S BEEN SO MUCH CONVERSATION ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA IS A PUBLIC FORUM, OR THE TOWN SQUARE AS A CERTAIN BILLIONAIRE HAS REFERENCED, AND SO PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SAY WHATEVER THEY WANT, AND IT'S FOR THE TOWN SQUARE TO SAY THAT'S CORRECT OR NOT CORRECT.

HOW MUCH DO YOU SEE THE EXISTENCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA WITH LITTLE TO NO GUARDRAILS AS BEING RESPONSIBLE, PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE, OR NOT RESPONSIBLE AND JUST REFLECTING THE PUBLIC AS SOME PEOPLE SUGGEST?

I THINK THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA IS -- SOCIAL MEDIA'S THE MOST POWERFUL THING, AND I THINK THAT SOCIAL MEDIA DOES GET A REALLY BAD REP SOMETIMES BECAUSE OF PEOPLE ON THEIR JUST POSTING SUCH NEGATIVITY AND SUCH HATRED.

AND I THINK THAT I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR MY BIG FOLLOWING AND I WANT TO USE MY FOLLOWING FOR GOOD.

AND THAT'S WHY I FEEL THIS DOCUSERIES IS SO IMPORTANT, AND I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO THIS WORK.

EVEN BEFORE I POSTED THIS SERIES MY ACCOUNT IN GENERAL HAS BEEN ALL INCLUSIVE AND TELLING PEOPLE TO BE PROUD OF WHO THEY ARE.

YOU KNOW, I'VE DONE A LOT OF ANTI-BULLYING VIDEOS AND BODY IMAGE VIDEOS AND THAT'S BEEN WHO I AM AS A CONTENT CREATOR IN GENERAL.

TO DO THIS, THIS IS NOT ONLY ABOUT THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

THIS IS ABOUT HAVING THIS NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN IN ANY RELIGION, ETHNICITY, SEXUAL PREFERENCE.

WE CAN NOT ALLOW HATE TOWARDS ONE PERSON BECAUSE JUST THEY ARE DIFFERENT.

WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS.

THAT'S WHAT THE HOLOCAUST WAS, AND WE CANNOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN AGAIN.

THAT'S WHY I USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THAT, TO SPREAD THAT.

OF COURSE.

RACHEL, I WANTED TO ASK YOU, BECAUSE YOU MENTIONED YOU ALSO HAD GRANDPARENTS WHO SURVIVED THE HOLOCAUST, AND THE IMPORTANCE THAT WORDS MATTER.

I'M WONDERING, FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, DO YOU SEE THE FACT THAT THERE ARE -- SO MANY KIDS, US A MENTIONED, AREN'T GETTING THIS INFORMATION IN SCHOOL THAT THERE IS A GREATER LEVEL OF TRUST VIA WHAT THEY WOULD SEE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

OR IS IT MORE EASILY DISMISSABLE BECAUSE YOU COULD ALSO SEE THERE'S BEEN, I THINK, SEVERAL PROPAGANDA DOCUMENTARIES THAT YOUTUBE HAS BEEN CAUTIONED OR TOLD TO TAKE DOWN BECAUSE THEY OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW OF THE SAME EVENT IN HISTORY?

IT'S A REALLY, REALLY SCARY THING TO THINK THAT TEENAGERS ARE LOOKING AT THEIR PHONES ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND JUST TRUSTING READING, BUT THE TRUTH IS WE KNOW THAT TIKTOK, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE, THESE ARE THE PLACES THAT YOUNG PEOPLE GO TO GET THEIR INFORMATION.

THIS IS WHERE THEY'RE SPENDING THEIR TIME.

SO IT COULD BE A REALLY SCARY THING, BUT WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO WITH THIS SERIES IS SAY, HEY, WE WANT TO IMPACT PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE.

IF WE DON'T INNOVATE THE WAY THAT WE'RE TELLING OUR STORY, THE WAY WE'RE EDUCATING ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST, WE'RE GOING TO FIND NOBODY'S LISTENING WE HAVE TO MEET KIDS WHERE THEY ARE.

THIS IS THE GENERATION -- THIS GEN Z, MONTANA, MINE, AND THE NEXT GENERATION, ARE THE FIRST GENERATION THAT ARE GOING TO BE WITHOUT SURVIVORS, RIGHT?

OUR GRANDPARENTS, SOME OF WHOM PASSED, SOME ARE STILL ALIVE, THESE ARE SOME OF THE LAST SURVIVORS LEFT.

WE ARE THE LAST GENERATION TO MEET SURVIVORS, AND THAT'S WHAT BROUGHT ME TO WANTING TO TAKE MY FILM MAKING WORK TOWARDS STORY TELLING.

WE ARE THE ONES THAT HAVE TO TAKE THE STORIES AND BRING THEM TO THE NEXT.

IF THAT MEANS BRINGING IT TO SOCIAL MEDIA, THAT'S WHERE WE GOT TO GO, AND THAT'S WHY WE MADE THIS PROJECT HAPPEN, I THINK THAT'SY WENT VIRAL.

WE WERE ALWAYS PLANNING ON RELEASING ON KRISTALLNACHT.

THE FACT THAT IT COINCIDED WITH KANYE AND A HUGE OUTBURST NATIONALLY ABOUT ANTI-SEMITISM, MONTANA IS RIGHT, IT PROVES THIS IS WHERE WE NEED TO BE TELLING OUR STORIES.

OUR WORK SOS TO CREATE EMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING.

THE POINT OF THE SERIES IS TO CREATE EMPATHY, EMPATHY FOR THIS HISTORIES THAT BEING USED AND ABUSED AND DISTORTED AND DENIED AND SAYING, EVEN IF THESE KIDS MIGHT NOT MAKE IT TO POLAND OR AUSCHWITZ IN THEIR LIVES, THEY'LL HAVE SEEN IT THROUGH MONTANA'S EYES.

AND ONE DAY WHEN THEY HEAR 'THE HOLOCAUST NEVER HAPPENED', OR 6 MILLION WAS AN EXAGGERATION, THEY CAN SAY, ACTUALLY, WATCH THIS.

RIGHT?

AND IT'S AN EASY CLIP TO SEND.

IT'S A LINK.

IT'S ON AN APP THAT THEY ARE FAMILIAR WITH.

IT'S TWO MINUTES AND IT'S DIGESTIBLE.

SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO HERE.

OF COURSE.

MONTANA, YOU TOLD US A LITTLE BIT OF HOW THE SERIES WORKS, ESPECIALLY YOU ACTUALLY GOING TO POLAND, ET CETERA, BUT CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE JOURNEY THAT YOU WENT ON, AND SECONDLY, CAN YOU ALSO SHARE, WHAT WAS SOMETHING -- THERE HAD TO HAVE BEEN SO MANY EYE OPENING MOMENTS FOR YOURSELF, EVEN HAVING BEEN AWARE OF YOUR FAMILY'S HISTORY.

YES, ABSOLUTELY.

BEFORE GOING TO POLAND, I HAD NUMEROUS FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WHO HAVE BEEN ON MARCH OF THE LIVING OR DIFFERENT TRIPS TO GO TO POLAND, AND NO MATTER HOW MANY STORIES YOU HEAR OR HOW MANY DOCUMENTARIES YOU WATCH, NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THAT MOMENT OF ACTUALLY GOING AND PHYSICALLY BEING THERE, LIKE, TRULY NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU FOR THAT.

SO I TRIED TO GET PREPARED.

I TRIED, BUT NOTHING WAS, LIKE, PHYSICALLY BEING THERE.

WE WERE THERE FOR A WEEK, AND WE WOULD FILM ALL DAY FROM, LIKE, 8:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M., AND, YOU KNOW, I NEVER DID ANYTHING LIKE REALITY, REALLY, IN MY LIFE.

EVERYTHING I'VE ALWAYS DONE HAS BEEN VERY SCRIPTED.

SO TO HAVE A CAMERA ON YOU AT ALL TIMES WHEN YOU'RE EXPERIENCING THE HARDEST THING YOU'RE EXPERIENCING IN YOUR LIFE WAS EXTREMELY HARD.

BECAUSE YOU CAN'T HIDE HOW YOU'RE FEELING.

LIKE, THERE'S NO HIDING IT.

THERE'S NO ACTING.

THERE'S NO FAKING.

IT'S LIKE YOU'RE IN THESE EXTREMELY DARK UNCOMFORTABLE PLACES THAT YOU CAN'T IMAGINE PEOPLE DEALING WITH WHAT THEY HAD TO DEAL WITH THIS, AND THE EMOTIONS THAT I FELT -- I FELT SO MANY DIFFERENT EMOTIONS.

I WAS ANGRY AND SAD AND CONFUSED AND I FEEL LIKE I WENT THROUGH EVERY EMOTION AT ONCE, WHICH I'VE NEVER HAD ANY OTHER EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE WHERE I FELT THAT.

THE FACT THAT THESE PEOPLE HAD THE WILL TO LIVE -- OBVIOUSLY THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE MURDERED, BUT THE FACT THAT THESE SURVIVORS HAD THE WILL TO WANT TO LIVE AFTER ENDURING WHAT THEY ENDURED, IT JUST -- I FEEL LIKE THAT'S WHY IT MAKES ME PROUD TO BE JEWISH AND WANT TO SHARE MY STORIES EVEN MORE BECAUSE OF WHAT MY FAMILY FOUGHT THROUGH SOLELY BECAUSE THEY WERE JEWISH, AND YOU KNOW, I WENT WITH MY MOTHER AND MY GRANDMOTHER, LAST SAW HER MOTHER IN AUSCHWITZ AT ONE OF THE CAMPS WE WENT TO, AND IT WAS AN EYE OPENING MOMENT FOR ME TO BE IN THE LAST PLACE I WENT WITH MY MOM.

IT WAS AN EMOTIONAL MOMENT WITH ME THAT I WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER FORGET, AND HOPEFULLY THE VIEWERS NOW THAT SEE THAT WILL NEVER FORGET THAT MOMENT AS WELL.

RACHEL, I ALSO WANTED TO ASK, DO YOU THINK IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO EXPLAIN TO THE AUDIENCE THE SOCIAL, THE POLITICAL, THE WHAT LAID THE GROUND WORK FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO HAPPEN?

I'M NOT SAYING THAT TOUGH TIE IT TO CURRENT EVENTS OR NOT, BUT I THINK ALSO UNDERSTANDING HOW IT GOT TO THIS POINT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED.

SO, WE ACTUALLY BROUGHT MONTANA TO LEARN ABOUT KRAKOW AND JEWISH LIFE FIRST.

WE PRODUCED THE SERIES WITH SOUL SHOP, AND THEY HELPED US BRING ON J ROOTS, WHICH IS AN AMAZING HIGHLY EDUCATED GROUP OF TOUR GUIDES FOCUSED ON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION.

WE BROUGHT THE BEST, BEST GUIDE TO COME WITH US AND HELP US DIVE INTO THE HISTORY, DIVE INTO MONTANA'S FAMILY HISTORY, AND THE LARGER JEWISH HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST.

SO ZACK JEFFY WAS THERE WITH US ON THE GROUND, AND TOOK US OUR FIRST THREE DAYS THROUGH KRAKOW LEARNING ABOUT JEWISH LIFE BEFORE THE WAR AND HOW BEAUTIFUL AND THRIVING IT WAS, AND JEWS FOR A PART OF EUROPE AND WERE THRIVING AND HAD STORES AND WERE JUST REGULAR PEOPLE AMONG THE SOCIETY IN MANY WAYS.

AND WE LEARNED TOGETHER, AS THE AUDIENCE WITH MONTANA, ABOUT HOW HITLER AND THE CHANGING GOVERNMENT AND THE CHANGE IN LAWS AND RESTRICTIVE LAWS AND RACIST LAWS CAME TO BE BETWEEN 1933 UNTIL THE START OF THE WAR.

AND HOW THAT CHANGED THE CLIMATE AND LAID THE GROUND WORK.

WE ALSO SPENT A LOT OF TIME FOCUSING ON HOW SMALL INSTANCES OF HATE ARE WHAT BUILT UP TO MOMENTS LIKE THIS, RIGHT?

MOMENTS IN MYSTERY LIKE THIS.

SO IT'S NOT NECESSARILY JUST LEARNING ABOUT THE CATTLE CARS BRINGING JEWS TO AUSCHWITZ.

WE ALSO TALKED ABOUT INDIVIDUAL MOMENTS OF HATRED IN A SOCIETY THAT LEAD TO THINGS LIKE THIS.

WE ALSO SPEND A FULL EPISODE TALKING ABOUT RIGHTEOUS GENTILES, AND THOSE NONJEWS WHO RIGHTEOUSLY RISKED THEIR LIVES TO SAVE JEWS.

MY GRANDFATHER WAS ONE OF THOSE SAVE BY A POLISH CHRISTIAN FAMILY, AND WE HAVE A WHOLE EPISODE HONORING THEM.

THE TEN EPISODES EACH WITH DIVERSE, FOCUS ON A DIFFERENT ASPECT OF PREWAR, DURING THE WAR, POST WAR, WHO WERE THE HEROES?

WHO WERE THE VICTIMS?

AND ULTIMATELY CULMINATE WITH THIS REALLY, REALLY POWERFUL MOMENT WITH MONTANA AND HER MOTHER IN AUSCHWITZ, LEARNING ABOUT MONTANA'S GREAT GRANDPARENTS' FATE.

SO IT'S A VERY, VERY POWERFUL AND RICHED SERIES WHEN WATCHED IN TOTALITY.

IT'S THE GREATEST PROJECT I'VE EVER WORKED ON, AND MONTANA IS AN ABSOLUTE HERO FOR POSTING IT.

I WANT TO SPEND A SECOND SAYING MONTANA IS A HERO FOR DOING ESSENTIALLY A TAKEOVER OF HER PLATFORM AND SPENDING EVERY DAY, INSTEAD OF THE REGULAR CONTENT THE VIEWERS WANT OR THE BRAND DEALS SHE SOUGHT AFTER TO POST THIS AND STAND UP TO ANTI-SEMITISM, STAND UP TO HATRED, CREATE EMPATHY.

AND IT'S JUST UNBELIEVABLE.

THE WHOLE WORLD IS LUCKY THAT MONTANA WAS GRACEFUL AND JUST BEAUTIFULLY WILLING TO DO THIS.

THANK YOU.

OF COURSE.

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, DEFINITELY THANK YOU BOTH FOR THIS SERIES.

I DO HAVE ONE FINAL QUESTION, BECAUSE WE'RE COMING UP ON THE END OF OUR TIME.

BUT THAT IS -- OKAY, SO WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, AND OF COURSE AS YOU MENTIONED RACHEL, THE LOSS OF SO MANY SURVIVORS IN REALTIME, HOW DO YOU SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS EXISTING IN A WAY WHERE A KIDS CAN EASILY REFERENCE IT, TEACHERS CAN REFERENCE IT.

BECAUSES YOU MENTION, THERE ARE SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT AREN'T REQUIRING THIS TO BE TAUGHT.

THIS COULD BE SOMETHING THAT SHOWS UP ON SOMEBODY'S FOR YOU PAGE ORGANICALLY, HOW CRITICALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU SEE THAT?

RACHEL, I'LL START WITH YOU.

IF WE'RE NOT BRINGING OUR STORY TO THE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO HEAR THEM, NO ONE WILL BE LISTENING.

AND HOLOCAUST EDUCATION, THE IMPORTANCE OF IT, CANNOT BE UNDERESTIMATED.

IT IS RELEVANT TO EVERYONE, NOT JUST JEWS.

IT IS RELEVANT TO EVERYONE.

THIS IS THE MOST -- ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENTS IN RECENT HISTORY WHERE WE SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HATE GOES UNCHECKED, AND KIDS, ADULTS, EVERYONE IN BETWEEN CAN LEARN FROM THIS SERIES, ABSOLUTELY, AND IT'S JUST CRITICAL THAT WE BRING IT TO KIDS WHERE THEY ARE.

DOCUMENTARIES STILL NEED TO HAPPEN.

HOLOCAUST EDUCATION IN THE CLASSROOM STILL NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

BUT I'M COMMITTED, MONTANA'S COMMITTED, WE'RE COMMITTED TO BRINGING THESE PROJECTS DIRECTLY TO GEN Z AND THOSE ON THE SOCIAL PLATFORMS.

MONTANA, LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

FOR PEOPLE WHO WANTED -- WHEN THEY SEE ANTI-SEMITISM OR HEAR, THEY'RE NOT SURE, IS IT MY PLACE TO STEP UP AND SAY SOMETHING?

WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO PEOPLE WHO AREN'T QUITE SURE WHAT TO DO OR WHAT TO SAY?

I THINK IT'S MOST IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT JEWISH SPEAK UP AND SAY SOMETHING.

I THINK IT'S MOST IMPORTANT.

BECAUSE WE ALL NEED TO COME TOGETHER IN A TIME LIKE THIS.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE THAT ANY FORM OF HATE TOWARDS ANY RELIGION, RACE, SEXUAL PREFERENCE, SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED.

NOT JUST IN THE JEWISH RELIGION, ANY RELIGION.

THE FACT THAT THIS IS HAPPENING TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE CURRENTLY IN 2022 WHEN THE HOLOCAUST EXISTED, WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN AGAIN.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO STEP UP AND DO THEIR PART.

IT CANNOT JUST WITH THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO STEP UP, AND THAT'S WHY THIS SERIES HAS BEEN SO POWERFUL BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN SHARE BY SO MANY PEOPLE ALREADY.

YES, THAT ARE JEWISH, BUT IT HAS BEEN SHARED BY SO MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT JEWISH SAYING, THANK YOU FOR THIS.

THANK YOU FOR EDUCATING ME.

I WILL SHARE THIS NOW.

AND IT'S BEEN SHARED THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS.

IT HAS BEEN SHARED BUT GRNGS EN-Z, BUT NOW AGES 10 TO 70, AND SO THAT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT EVERY AGE GROUP IS SEEING THIS AS WELL.

ABSOLUTELY.

WELL, UNFORTUNATELY, WE'VE RUN OUT OF TIME, BUT MONTANA TUCKER AND RACHEL KASTNER, THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR NOT ONLY CREATING THIS SERIES BUT AS RACHEL SAID, POSTING ON MONTANA'S SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.

I AGREE THAT'S A CRITICAL AND IMPORTANT WAY TO REACH YOUNGER PEOPLE, SO THANK YOU BOTH FOR THIS WORK.

THANK YOU SO MUCH AND THANK YOU FOR COVERING THIS.

THANK YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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