Fact check: Image of mother and child before Holocaust slaughter is from 1980s television series

The claim: Image shows a Jewish woman holding her child during the Holocaust

As Jewish people around the globe observed Yom Hashoah, the Hebrew word for Holocaust Remembrance Day, a disturbing and misleading photo is circulating online. The image shows a naked woman clinging to a child in a field of dead bodies as armed guards stand behind her.

“A Jewish mother hugs her daughter one last time before they are both shot & killed by Nazi officers,” reads text above the image. “Never again!”

Among other remembrance-related posts, prominent creator Hananya Naftali shared the image to Facebook on April 8. Naftali is an Israeli media personality known for creating online videos about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Naftali’s post was quickly met with hundreds of shares and comments. Moving as this image may be, it is not authentic. 

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He did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment. 

April 6, 2021: Visitors walk from the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance centre, on the eve of the ceremonies marking the Holocaust remembrance day in Jerusalem. (Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND, AFP via Getty Images)

Image comes from a 1988-1989 series 

The image does not show an actual event during the Holocaust, rather it is a still from a 1988-1989 television miniseries. 

The series “War and Remembrance” followed an American Navy family through World War II. Scenes in the series follow American domestic life, military campaigns and violence at concentration camps.

The image comes from the seventh episode of the 12-episode series.

The series was filmed in color, however, the viral image has been edited to appear as if it was taken in black and white.

Snopes debunked the same image in 2016 after it spread on social media in a similar manner. 

The Tower of Faces, a permanent exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Miriam Lomaskin)

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Our rating: False

A photo that purports to capture a Jewish mother and child moments before they were killed during the Holocaust is actually from a 1980s miniseries about World War II. We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by our research. 

Our fact-check sources:

  • United State Holocaust Memorial Museum, accessed April 8, “Remembrance Day Calendar”
  • IMDB, accessed April 8, “War and Remembrance”
  • Snopes, April 28, 2016, “Jewish Mother Hugs Toddler Before Holocaust Murders?”
  • YouTube, Hananya Naftali, accessed April 8, YouTube channel

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook. 

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