A Letter from The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Board Chair and Executive Director

The events at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh were devastating. Worshipers who had come to synagogue to pray and to rejoice in a family celebration were targeted and murdered because of their faith. This is reported to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.

The Florida Holocaust Museum mourns with our community, and the rest of the civilized world. For a link to commemorations and vigils for the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting, please visit https://www.thefhm.org/about/commemorations-for-victims. While we grieve, we also remember another of the primary lessons of the Holocaust.

People must not remain silent when they are confronted by prejudice. Each year, we continue to see the horrific results of unchecked hatred. It is time we learn from history and put an end to bigotry and intolerance.

Over the past few days, people of all faiths and backgrounds have been asking, “What can I do?”

When people visit the Museum, they are greeted by a quote from Elie Wiesel: “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander.”

In the wake of this tragedy, we have two options: we can remain silent, or we can take action. The Florida Holocaust Museum challenges every Floridian to do his or her part to make sure that love, respect, and hope conquer hate. Here are a few suggestions:
-Volunteer at the Museum, your local house of worship or civic organization.
-Contact schools and your children’s teachers to let them know about The FHM’s Teaching Trunks and other FREE resources and programs created to combat hatred, bullying, prejudice and propaganda.
-Arrange for your school or civic organization to participate in our Skype With A Survivor program.
-Contribute to support our mission, your local Holocaust center or other nonprofit that is working to educate your community and create a more respectful society.

Our goal at the Museum is to give people tangible tools that they can use to make their schools, communities, and the world a better place.

Please know that #TheFHM continues to hold the safety of its visitors as a top priority. In the wake of other tragic shootings and attacks throughout Florida and the nation, we have hardened our security over the past years, and our local police forces have visibly stepped up their presence around the Museum area.

We will continue to stand with the victims, their families, the congregation, the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, and all others who are subjected to hate. The world must know that we are not bystanders. WE ARE ALL UPSTANDERS.

Show the world that you are an upstander by posting the good you do on social media using #IAmAnUpstander.

On behalf of The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Board and Staff, we thank you for your support.

Michael Igel, The FHM’s Board Chair

Elizabeth Gelman, The FHM’s Executive Director