|March 11, 2020 [St. Petersburg, FL] — Elizabeth Gelman, Executive Director of The Florida Holocaust Museum and Michael Igel, Board Chair of The Florida Holocaust Museum issued the following statement today.
The Florida Holocaust Museum applauds the Florida Legislature for passing House Bill 1213 and Senate Bill 1628 to establish accountability for school districts in implementing Holocaust education throughout the state. With this bill, Florida becomes the first state to hold each district accountable for providing uniform high-quality Holocaust instruction. We are grateful for the vision of Representative Randy Fine and his co-sponsor Representative Mike Caruso as they championed the bill in the House and for Senator Lauren Book’s passion and determination in the Senate. Thank you to Senators Ed Hooper, Kevin Rader, Lori Berman, Janet Cruz, Linda Stewart, and Jose Javier Rodriguez for co-sponsoring the Senate bill and Representatives James Bush III, Nick DiCeglie, Dane Eagle , Jason Fischer, Heather Fitzenhagen, Joseph Geller, Margaret Good, Blaise Ingoglia, Ralph Massullo, Scott Plakon, Tina Polsky, Holly Raschein, Anthony Rodriguez, Rick Roth, Emily Slosberg, Chris Sprowls, Jackie Toledo, Jennifer Webb, and Ardian Zika for co-sponsoring in the House. We also want to thank President Bill Galvano, Speaker Jose Oliva, Speaker -Designate Chris Sprowls, Minority Leader Ben Diamond and our Tampa Bay delegations for their steadfast support and advocacy. We also want to thank Commissioner Corcoran and the Florida Board of Education for showing such passion and commitment to Holocaust education and Required Instruction by taking assertive action to communicate its importance to all school districts. The Florida Holocaust Museum, one of only three accredited Holocaust museums in the country, looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Education on this critical mission. We teach about the Holocaust because it is the clearest example of where unchecked hatred and prejudice can lead. We believe that teaching students about the Holocaust is the best way to ensure the legacy and memory of our Survivors is never forgotten, and the important lessons of the Holocaust are passed down to subsequent generations. However, simply teaching about certain aspects of the Holocaust is not enough. The Holocaust must be taught in a way that is relevant and meaningful to students in order for them to integrate its lessons into their hearts and minds. This legislation takes a huge step forward in bringing these essential lessons to Florida’s students with consistency. It is not a coincidence that at this moment, when witnesses to the Holocaust grow fewer in number, antisemitism and Holocaust denial has begun to rise. Thank you to the Legislature for taking action to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust will be remembered and taught with proven methodology and best practice to Florida students.
Toni Rinde, a Holocaust Survivor and one of the founders of The Florida Holocaust Museum stated it best: Six million Jews and five million other victims are saying “thank you”. About The Florida Holocaust MuseumOne of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or 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.