In partnership with The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida
June 28, 2018 [St. Petersburg, FL] – The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) has released 15 of the 25 stories in a 25th Anniversary oral history series titled “25 Survivors, 25 Stories… Celebrating 25 Years!”
The last three stories have featured Holocaust Survivors residing in Naples, Florida. James ‘Sam’ Parish, Director of Operations/Education Specialist at The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida, connected The FHM to the Survivors who were interviewed for the series. Interviews were conducted in partnership with Eckerd College. Ten stories remain in this series and will include stories of two additional Survivors from Naples.
“The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida serves a critical role in educating students in Collier County. It is a privilege for us to highlight a few of the many Holocaust Survivors who continue to share their important stories with the Naples community,” said Elizabeth Gelman, The FHM’s Executive Director.
Over the next 10 months, the Museum’s oral history series will feature a different Holocaust Survivor on the 25th of every month. Each Survivor brings to the series an individual voice that enlivens our understanding of the Holocaust; the war’s effects on individuals, families, and communities dispersed across the world; and its reverberations into the present moment.
The fifteenth story was released on June 25th and features Holocaust Survivor Steen Metz of Naples, Florida. An excerpt from the piece is as follows:
The family had thirty minutes to prepare to leave. Steen and his mother were allowed to go by the bakery, with the Gestapo still waiting at the apartment, to buy food for the journey. Steen, not entirely certain of what was happening, played with other kids at the bakery while his mother got bread. The baker gave them plenty, knowing what was happening. Steen later learned that while he and his mother were there, the baker offered to help the two of them escape capture. His mother declined the offer, fearing what would happen to her husband if they vanished and reluctant to endanger the baker.
That day, the family was herded into box cars, which Steen refers to as “cattle cars.” The car was filthy inside, and Steen and his family spent three days and nights inside it. Since Steen didn’t know he was Jewish at the time, he was all the more confused about what was going on. He was frightened, and his parents equally so; they never thought their situation would come to this.
The inside of the car was completely dark, with no benches, blankets, food, or drink provided. Since Steen was only eight years old he was small enough to lie down, but older people had to stand. Steen’s family had food from the bakery and many people brought sandwiches, which were sometimes shared amongst the group. Steen and his family didn’t know anyone else in the car, which made the atmosphere extremely tense. He found out much later that one person in a neighboring cattle car committed suicide, and many others brought poisonous pills for themselves, though they didn’t use them…
The Florida Holocaust Museum is located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
About The Florida Holocaust Museum
2017 marked a monumental milestone for The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) as the Museum celebrated 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.
Photos and credits
Eight year old Steen Metz in Denmark before deportation in 1943.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Steen Metz
Steen Metz in 2018.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Steen Metz