Some high-powered Silicon Valley executives were scheduled to host intimate receptions at their homes this week in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
YouTube’s Jewish CEO, Susan Wojcicki, was named among a handful of Bay Area tech titans who planned to open their living rooms to hear stories from Holocaust survivors, according to a press release from the Israel Collaboration Network, or ICON, a nonprofit that links Silicon Valley companies with Israeli tech innovators. The speakers were to be followed by an “artistic performance” and a discussion with attendees, according to the release.
WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, Houzz founder Adi Tatarko and ICON CEO Yasmin Lukatz planned to participate in the program, called Zikaron BaSalon, which translates to “remembrance in the living room.”
Lukatz hosted the first event on Monday night, which was attended by about 30 people. Holocaust survivor Ben Stern addressed audience members who gathered around him on sofas and folding chairs. Additional Zikraon BaSalon events were planned for later in the week, according to Dvir Assouline, a spokesperson for ICON.
Zikaron BaSalon, a partnership of the Israeli American Council, is an annual event that takes place on Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, or Yom HaShoah — this year to be marked on April 20 — and on other dates around the world. It’s described as a social initiative that offers a “meaningful and intimate way to commemorate [Holocaust Remembrance Day] and address its implications through discussions at home among family, friends and guests.”
The events were closed to the press, ICON said.
The initiative was brought to Silicon Valley by Lukatz, a former tech entrepreneur who now heads the nonprofit. She cited the loss of Holocaust survivors and an “alarming increase in anti-Semitism around the world” as motivations for creating the event.
“While creating and exporting innovation worldwide, Silicon Valley also has a responsibility … to promote values of morality and justice,” she said, via the release.
This year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.