The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The Museum is dedicated to teaching the members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides.
History of the Museum:
One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, the Florida Holocaust Museum is the result of Saint Petersburg businessman and philanthropist, Walter P. Loebenberg's remarkable journey and vision. Loebenberg escaped Nazi Germany in 1939 and served in the United States Army during World War II. Together with a group of local businessmen and community leaders, the concept of a living memorial to those who suffered and perished was conceived. Among the participating individuals were Survivors of the Holocaust and individuals who lost relatives, as well as those who had no personal investment, other than wanting to ensure that such atrocities could never again happen to any group of people.
To this end, the group enlisted the support of others in the community and were able to involve internationally renowned Holocaust scholars. Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List, joined the Board of Advisors and Elie Wiesel was named Honorary Chairman of this Holocaust Center.
In 1992, the Museum rented a space it could afford but would soon outgrow, on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center of Pinellas County in Madeira Beach, Florida, tucked away from the mainstream of Tampa Bay life. Starting with only one staff member and a small group of dedicated volunteers, it quickly surpassed all expectations.
Within the first month, over 24,000 visitors came to see Anne Frank in the World, the Center's inaugural exhibit. The Tampa Bay showing of this exhibition touched all visitors.
During the next five years, the new Holocaust Center greeted more than 125,000 visitors to view internationally acclaimed exhibits. Thousands more participated in lectures, seminars and commemorative events at the Center, which now reached directly into schools in an eight county area surrounding Tampa Bay with study guides, teacher training programs and presentations by Center staff and Holocaust survivors.
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