Mati Kochavi on the Modern Teaching on History

How do you make studying the past a relevant and intimate experience if you know that it starts to lose both qualities the very second after an event takes place? The Holocaust is a grim historical chapter, a story that needs retelling across the generations and is no less relevant today than it was the moment the guns went silent back in 1945. Mati Kochavi’s journey and the desire to preserve the immediacy of this historic event started with a desire to update the ways in which we engage with history. This is particularly important for the generation of digital natives who speak the high-tech language of ones and zeros.

Mati Kochavi’s story is one about a man’s desire to repackage history without losing an iota of its fidelity and message.

Digital Life Teacher

Back in 2019, Eva stories by Mati Kochavi took the world of history buffs, academia, and tech futurists by storm. Kochavi already left his mark in the world of technology as a visionary entrepreneur and was ready to take on Time and Memory as challenging opponents. His mission: to refresh the collective memory of the Holocaust in line with the motto of history being a “life teacher”, yet with a help of the technology of today. This time, history delivered its lesson on Instagram, a social platform one would hardly mistake for a history book.

Yet, Kochavi had the courage to make Eva Heyman, a 13-year old Jewish Holocaust victim, tell her heart-wrenching story in the format of fictional Instagram posts which follow her journey from an idyllic pre-war life in Romania to the barbed wire in Auschwitz, her final resting place. Initially considered too delicate a historic topic to be presented on Instagram, Kochavi’s story of Eva first swept away the young audiences who often see history as a sleep-inducing school subject. They were followed by the experts and critics who awarded it with two Webbys, affectionately known as the Oscars of the Internet.

One for the Eternity

So, how did Kochavi reconcile the more academic mission of history and the need for it to be engaging and personal? The first segment was handled in the background – Kochavi and his team went through countless historical pages to deliver an authentic experience of “living” Eva’s reality together with her and her Instagram posts.

Despite the “unreality” of Eva’s having an Instagram account in times of WW2, her life problems felt relatable and presented in an accessible technological format paired with a glossy veneer of A-film level of production Kochavi secured for the project.

This combo is the secret success ingredient Kochavi added to Eva Stories, informed by the years of his experience in the world of tech and media. With the marriage of academic merit in researching the topic and the storytelling potential of the new media, it was possible for a Holocaust story to reignite the younger generation’s passion for the eternally relevant messages sourced from our troubled history.

Yes, the history which, while appearing as a sequence of tragedies, has the potential to at least inspire some among more than a million of Eva’s Instagram followers to try to remodel the future in line with its valuable lessons.  

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