Forgetting Auschwitz, Remembering Auschwitz | The Webby Awards

Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

Describe your Webby-nominated project. What’s the elevator pitch?

On the Holocaust Remembrance Day, we invited some people in a tattoo shop and proposed them one they couldn’t expect: the identification number of one of the last Auschwitz survivors, Nedo Fiano. Then we told them his story: having dedicated his life to remembering that horror to let us know about it, Nedo is now losing his memory. Thus, it is up to us to remember for him. Then we invited the audience to visit a website named after the number tattooed on Nedo’s arm: a5405.com Here, the users had the chance to keep Nedo’s memory alive interpreting his pieces of memory as if they were their own. a5405.com has become a virtual archive of Nedo’s memory, preserving for the future generations.

Why this particular cause as the subject of your project/campaign? Was there a moment that inspired it?

In a world in the grip of populism, fanaticism, and racial hatred, it is crucial to keep the Shoah memory alive among everybody and pass it on to the new generations. Such a chance came up with Nedo Fiano’s story. Not only a chance to raise awareness on the importance of remembering the Holocaust with an emotionally striking stunt, but to involve the users and make them an active part in preserving and perpetuating the Shoah facts, too. The inspiration came through the story itself: Nedo's 19-year-old nephew posted his grandfather's peculiar condition on Facebook the previous Holocaust Remembrance day, and we were so touched by it that we needed to communicate and embrace it somehow.

What concerns were there about pursuing this idea? How did you get past them?

The responsibility of conveying Nedo's message was very big, and speaking of Shoah is always a very delicate matter. Being respectful with his story, his words (taken from his books and speeches), and his family was the first need. At the same time we knew we needed a powerful message and a strong and touching execution. We believe that we get past these obstacles with an ongoing dialogue with the two Associations and with the family. We got them involved in every single step of the creative process always respecting and considering their point of view.

What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project? What did you learn in the process that you didn't know/expect going into it?

When it comes to social causes and no budget in media it is very difficult to be sure of the succes of the project. But on a day that was already filled up with commemorative events, it captured the attention of the whole country with zero investment on media. It went viral in a few hours, being shared millions of times on social networks, magazines, and the major national newspapers. It ended up involving 140+ countries and millions of people. Many have decided to participate, interpreting Nedo’s memories on a5405.com. Among them Roberto Benigni, director and main actor of “Life Is Beautiful,” who had never endorsed any advertising, nor non-profit initiative before.

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project? Did the real-world impact meet your expectations?

We meant to spread the message of the importance of the Shoah memory everywhere, especially among the new generations, with an effective but respectful language, given the enormity of this tragedy. I believe we succeeded in our goal.

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

Books and films are no longer enough for the Shoah topic: To actively engage the new generations, we need to tell the Holocaust with a new language that takes advantage of the potentials of the new media. Thus, as we had them visiting a5405.com and interpreting Nedo’s memories, the users could experience first-hand the feelings of the Holocaust and become guardians of a memory too precious to fade.

Credits

  • CCO Giovanni Porro Havas Milan
  • Creative Director Selmi Barissever Havas Milan
  • Creative Director Lorenzo Crespi Havas Milan
  • Copywriter Chiara Monticelli Havas Milan
  • Art Director Salvatore Zanfrisco Havas Milan
  • Creative Director Digital Fabrizio Piccolini Havas Milan
  • Creative Director Digital Stefano Zanoni Havas Milan
  • Art Director Jr Francesco Sguinzi Havas Milan
  • Art Director Digital Marco Angelini Havas Milan
  • Art Director Digital Camilla Ricci Havas Milan
  • Web Developer Emanuele Grilli Havas Milan
  • Account Director Rosita Rafanelli Havas Milan
  • Account junior Alessandra Meghnagi Havas Milan
  • Producer Sara Poltronieri Havas Milan
  • Project Manager Daniele Silvestri Havas Milan
  • Editing video Stefano Vela Havas Milan
  • Translation Clara Barcucci Havas Milan
  • PR Rosanna D'Antona Havas PR
  • PR Marianna Lovagnini Havas PR
  • CDP Indiana Production Indiana Production
  • Director Tobia Passigato
  • Animation LSD LSD
  • Illustration Salvatore Zanfrisco Havas Milan
  • Composer Ferdinando Arnò Quiet Please!
  • Digital Production Uprising Uprising
  • CDP Basement Basement
  • CDP Case History E-Motion E-Motion

About the Public Service & Activism category

Reform-related sites, microsites, and rich media that serve to facilitate political change, public participation in civics, government policies/pursuits, or social activism.