History Comes to Life With Tweets From Past

tags: historians, history, tweets




LIKE watching a building collapse in slow motion, a Twitter account run by a group of German historians provides hour-by-hour updates of the horrors of Kristallnacht, which culminated in a night of anti-Jewish terror 75 years ago in Nazi Germany that plunged the country on a path to the Holocaust.

The account, @9Nov38, for the date of the widespread violence and destruction of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses across Germany and Austria, is practicing what could be called “historical tweeting” — using the brevity and immediacy of Twitter to recreate events from the past as if they were playing out before our eyes.

“Most people in Germany know very much about the topic because of school,” said Moritz Hoffmann, a 29-year-old history graduate student at the University of Heidelberg, who is one of the five historians who operate the Twitter feed, which is in German. Despite that awareness, the 140-character format still manages to stir people. “We got a lot of responses from people who actually wanted to research their own families’ historical role in Kristallnacht — their own story of Kristallnacht in their town,” he said, “which is all I want.”...



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