|April 21, 2020 [St. Petersburg, FL] — Michael Igel, Board Chair of The Florida Holocaust Museum issued the following statement today. |
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) began on Monday, April 20th at sundown. Over the past several years, to mark this solemn day, The Florida Holocaust Museum has asked people from our community to take part in reading the names of Holocaust victims. We start early in the morning and continue reading into the evening. It is through the names of victims that we individualize the tragedy. Only when we remember that each of the 6 million was a mother, a father, a child, a sibling can we begin to understand our responsibility to educate, and to make our voices heard so there is a better tomorrow.
In addition, without this Names Reading, some of these names might never be uttered again. Without our work, there would be no memory of them at all. These victims deserve the honor of having the world know that they existed, and that they are remembered. When we speak their names, they live on. Those who have participated in our Yom HaShoah commemoration, whether by reading or by visiting, routinely say there is nothing more meaningful or powerful.
The pandemic shut down the Museum to the public, creating a monumental challenge. Nevertheless, we quickly decided we would not let the day pass without honoring the memory of the victims. Testing the water, we reached out to people throughout the State of Florida asking them to participate in a virtual reading of names. The response was overwhelming. People from all walks of life, culture and background, from Holocaust Survivors, to national, state and local leaders, students, teachers, law enforcement and clergy asked to be included in this year’s Names Reading commemoration.
I recorded my reading early last week. As is my tradition, I read the names of the members of my family who perished, the lost family members of Bill Graham and then three pages of victim names and ages provided by the Museum. I read the names and ages of children, adults and senior citizens. It is always a vivid and emotional experience.
I know this is a difficult year and a difficult time for all of us. I ask you to please take a moment to stop by the Museum’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheFHM to help us remember the people on my list, and the millions of others who were killed. After today, this commemoration can be accessed under the video section on The FHM’s Facebook page.
Thank you for supporting The Florida Holocaust Museum and our work. A pandemic is not enough to stop our important work. We continue to remember and to educate throughout the State of Florida and beyond, even during these challenging times.
Michael IgelBoard Chair, The Florida Holocaust MuseumAbout The Florida Holocaust MuseumOne 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 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.