The Museum to honor Holocaust Survivors at sold out annual gala
December 20, 2017 [St. Petersburg, FL] – The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) is moved and excited to announce this year’s Loebenberg Humanitarian Award winners, who will be honored at the Museum’s upcoming sold out annual gala To Life: Honoring the Past; Empowering the Future! Holocaust Survivors John Rinde, Toni Rinde, Lisl Schick, and Mary Wygodski will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to The FHM. These four awardees truly live the Museum’s mission.
All four of these deserving individuals have been part of the Museum since its beginnings, assisting in its very creation. As representatives of the Survivor community, they continue to serve on The FHM’s Board of Directors, the Advisory Committee, and the History Heritage and Hope investment board, helping to create and oversee the Museum’s strategic objectives and ensuring the Museum’s long-term stability and growth. All of the award recipients are prominent ambassadors for The FHM, sharing their stories with student and adult groups inside the Museum and throughout the state, in person, and through virtual appearances. In addition, they have encouraged their families to be involved with the Museum, and many of their children and grandchildren have also begun to share their families’ stories with students and visitors, shining examples of the next generations taking up the mantle of responsibility to pass on the important lessons of the Holocaust to future generations.
“I feel the most important aspect of The Florida Holocaust Museum’s mission is education. It is vital to teach both children and adults the horrific consequences of hatred, prejudice and racism. It is also important that a Holocaust survivor tells his/her story. It is one thing to read about history in a book, but a first hand account from somebody who has lived through this horror is much more effective. I will continue to share my story as long as I possibly can,” said Lisl Schick, Holocaust Survivor and Loebenberg Humanitarian Award honoree.
In 2003, the Loebenberg Humanitarian Award was established and named for Edith (of blessed memory) and Walter Loebenberg whose dream to establish The Florida Holocaust Museum became a reality through their vision and philanthropy as well as the support and generosity of local community leaders. Each year the Award recognizes an individual(s) who has made an outstanding contribution to The FHM and whose vision, foresight, and dedication has furthers the Museum’s mission.
“The Florida Holocaust Museum is dedicated to teaching the inherent worth and dignity of life. Acceptance, tolerance, and coexistence within the global society should be the goal of every human being and within our walls we educate to remember the past in order to ensure a better future. Thank you so much for this amazing honor. Supporting the Museum will hopefully ensure a path to a better and more gentle world,” said Toni Rinde, Holocaust Survivor and Loebenberg Humanitarian Award honoree.
Although The FHM’s To Life gala is sold out, written tributes may be purchased in advance to be shared during the program. Additionally, the Museum invites the community to attend numerous celebratory programs, events, and exhibitions, along with its daily educational and outreach efforts, throughout the upcoming year. For additional information on tributes and upcoming programs, please contact The FHM’s Special Events Coordinator Terrie Maines at 727.820.0100 ext. 249.
To Life: Honoring the Past; Empowering the Future will take place on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is located at 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, FL 33607.
For additional information on To Life: Honoring the Past; Empowering the Future, please visit www.TheFHM.org/to-life-annual-benefit.
The Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
About The Florida Holocaust Museum
2017 marks a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrates its 25th Anniversary. One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered of died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit www.TheFHM.org.
About the Loebenberg Humanitarian Award Honorees
John Rinde was born in Przemysl, Poland and came from an upper class Orthodox Jewish family. He was only four and a half years old when the war began. In 1941 when the war between Russia and Germany started, he and his family were herded into the Lvov ghetto. They escaped from ghetto and moved to Lublin. There he survived the war using an assumed name, masquerading as a Catholic. His family was liberated in 1945 by the Russian Army and remained in Poland for two years. He lived in France from 1946 to1952 and emigrated to the United States in January 1952.
Toni Rinde was born in Przemysl, Poland. As a toddler, she was hidden by a Polish family from 1941 to 1945. Provided with false papers and the name Marisha, Toni was raised as a Catholic. After the war, she was reunited with her parents and attended school in the United States. The Rindes met in New York in 1957 and have resided in the Tampa Bay area for many years.
Lisl Schick was born in Vienna, Austria and came from an assimilated Jewish home. She was raised with one brother. Her family was aware of antisemitism in Vienna and anticipated trouble after Kristallnacht. Her parents sent her with her younger brother to England on the Kindertransport in April 1939. There she attended boarding school assisted by B’nai B’rith. Due to German shelling, they were evacuated from the east coast of England to Wales. She moved several times and arrived in the United States in December 1944 via convoy to Halifax and then a train to New York. Lisl was one of ten percent of Kindertransport children to be reunited with their parents.
Mary Wygodski was born in Vilna, Poland, the eldest of three sisters and one brother raised in a traditional middle class Jewish family. After Nazi occupation, her family was sent to the Vilna Ghetto. In 1943, she was separated from her mother and two sisters at a boxcar and never saw them again. Mary was transported to the Kaiserwald Labor Camp in Riga, Latvia and then to the Stutthof Camp in Germany. From there she was transferred to Magdeburg Labor Camp where she made artillery shells in the Polte factory. After the war, she learned that her father and brother had been executed in a concentration camp in Klooga, Estonia.
Photos and Credits
Holocaust Survivors Toni and John Rinde at The Florida Holocaust Museum in 2015.
Photo credit: The Florida Holocaust Museum
Pre-war photograph of John Rinde taken between 1936-1939.
Photo credit: The Florida Holocaust Museum, courtesy of John Rinde
Toni Rinde with the cat of her rescuers during the Holocaust in Poland.
Photo credit: The Florida Holocaust Museum, courtesy of Toni Rinde
Lisl Schick speaking to students at The Florida Holocaust Museum in 2015.
Photo credit: The Florida Holocaust Museum
Lisl Schick and her brother, Walter Porges, in April 1939.
Photo credit: The Florida Holocaust Museum, courtesy of Lisl Schick
Mary Wygodski with Eckerd College students at The Florida Holocaust Museum in 2017.
Photo credit: Eckerd College
Mary Wygodski at displaced persons camp after she was liberated in 1945.
Photo credit: The Florida Holocaust Museum, courtesy of Mary Wygodski