6 Million People

Six Million People

A friend of mine Jacob Rome sent me an invitation for a group on Flickr called 6 Million People. Recently there has been some conversations going on in places on Flickr about Nazism and censorship and I think that in part this group represents an ambitious project to try and honor the 6 million who were killed in Nazi Germany and remind people of what a horrible thing in history that the Holocaust was.

From the group description:

“Please help us remember the holocaust dutifully and respectfully by adding your self-portrait, or a photo of a person you love, to our pool. Add as many photos as you want, but please submit no more than 1 picture of any person, so that in the end we will have close to 6 million pictures of people, with a different person the subject of each picture. It’s going to take a long time to add up to 6 million pictures—that’s 200,000 Flickr pages with 30 images each—but our goal is 6 years or less. When we complete the project, it will be a memorial to those who died, and will provide us a with a way to visualize all those people. Thank you for helping and supporting us in our goal.”

So far it looks like this group is off to a somewhat slow start — about 152 images in 5 weeks, quite a ways away from 6 million.

But this is where the power of the internet and the blogosphere and social networking and all of that can change things. I have no doubt that if the word is spread on this project that it can be realized and so here I’m asking for your help.

If you support this remembrance and project then I’m asking that you join me in joining this group on flickr and posting a self portrait to this pool (my self portrait is above).

And more than this I’m asking that you spread the word, in your flickrstream, on your blog, with your friends. If this happens, this would be one of the largest movements in the blogosphere yet and certainly the most important thing that’s been done with Flickr to date. Things like this are possible because we all are connected. Let’s make this group’s vision happen.

To get even more visibility for this project digg this story here.

Update: Certainly it’s not only the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust that are worth remembering. Please note this passage from the group description:

“Although Jews were the primary victims of Nazi racism, others targeted for death included tens of thousands of Roma (Gypsies) and at least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled people. As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe, the Germans persecuted and murdered millions of other people. More than three million Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or died of starvation, disease, or maltreatment. The Germans killed tens of thousands of non-Jewish Polish intellectual and religious leaders, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet citizens for forced labor. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, homosexuals and others deemed to be socially unacceptable were persecuted. Thousands of political dissidents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses) were also targeted. Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment.”

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  1. Bob says:

    Thanks for highlighting this. I never use my Flickr account, but that just got me to uploaded some photographs.

  2. Thomas Hawk says:

    Thanks Bob. To put this project in perspective, at present there are a little over 7 million people on Flickr. A pool of 6 million portraits would be a monumentous feat. And quite a statement to the world. To see this project completed would be quite a testament to the 6 million Jews who died as well as the millions of other non-Jews who died. It would also be something to see this completed through the power of social networking in all its forms, blogging, photography, twitter, digg, reddit, podcasting, etc. To see these tools accomplish something like this would be pretty amazing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would prefer to remember all 11 million that died in the Nazi concentration camps. Not just one group in particular.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Thomas

    This is a nice gesture, but as an Israeli, and a Jew, I would like to note that outside of the 6 million jews that were killed, there were also aprox 3 million gypsys, polacks, etc.

    I think this is worth a mention

  5. Anonymous says:

    More then 6 million people died. Maybe I’ll remember them while you ignore them. Don’t post blog spam on Digg.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Blog spam sucks.

  7. Why is it always about the Jews and the Nazis?

    History, especially the 20th century, is rife with other examples of mass murder–Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Rwanda, Armenia. Why not remember their victims too?

  8. Bill says:

    Thomas – Love your work. I’ve been lurking for months…this post prompted me to set up a Yahoo ID, join flicker, join the 6 million group, and post a self portrait (a blatant copy of your example!) But, my gosh, is flicker messed up, I can’t figure out how to add my picture to the group. Maybe it’s the hour, but seems to me it should be more obvious if it’s there at all.

  9. to robert krueger:
    That’s like going to the Vietnam Wall and complaining because it doesn’t memorialize those who died in the Civil War.

    THIS is in memory of the Holocaust, not “everyone who’se ever died in some terrible atrocity.”

    Furthermore, the Holocaust explicitly refers to Hitler’s much-too-successful attempt to wipe Jews off the planet. The concentration camps were set up for this purpose. That the Nazis used them to kill others with them is appalling as well, and deserves every bit of attention and awareness. But, as I said above, this is not “memorialize anyone the Nazis killed”, this is about the Holocaust.

  10. Jeremy: My point is, why do we need another Holocaust memorial? There are more movies, books and memorials dedicated to this specific atrocity than all the rest put together.

    To carry your analogy a little further, it would be like having 38 Vietnam Walls, nothing for the Civil War, and then someone starts crowing about V-Wall #39 going up.

    Maybe it’s because we love to believe Hitler was an aberration, a one-off, rather than accept the crushing reality that this goes on with great regularity, that the ability to be this evil resides within a pretty good chunk of the human race.

    I think once upon a time the Holocaust really did inspire people to say “Never again” and mean it. But now it seems to be becoming a more and more isolated meme, people just aren’t connecting it to the need to speak up for those dying in places like Darfur and Tibet.

  11. Jake says:

    Just an update. We now have nearly 4000 members and more than 21,000 photos. We’re growing faster every day. And today we’re pleased to announce the opening of Spotlight Seven, which each week will feature 1 photographer and 10 of his or her best portraits. Check it out!