Pinellas County Teachers Visit The FHM

IMG_6927  Kristen Wright, The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Writer and Digital Content Manager

Teachers from Pinellas County Schools visited The Florida Holocaust Museum today as part of the Summer Institute for Elementary School Teachers program.‪ Holocaust Survivor‬ Ellen Bernstein spoke to the teachers and shared her Survivor Story.


Ellen Bernstein Nee Herschmann was born in Bonn, Germany. Hitler came into power when she was five years old and what was a happy normal childhood began to change. In 1934 relatives from the United States came to visit Ellen’s family and told her father to let them know if and when he wanted to come to America. At the time there was no reason to pick up the family and move to another country. Ellen’s father was a furniture salesman and one day one of his good customers and friend told him he could no longer buy from him because he was a Jew. Ellen’s father came home very upset and said they must leave.

Ellen’s family arrived on the Aquitania, N.Y. on August 31, 1938. They came to the U.S. just two months before Kristallnacht, which was very fortunate for her father who had been made stateless because he refused to fight against America in WWI and would have been one of the first to be transported to a concentration camp. While Ellen’s parents and her older sister lived in New York, her grandfather was unable to get a visa at the same time because he had come from Lithuania. He was however fortunate to join them in the U.S. a few weeks later. Ellen’s mother’s sister, husband, and children, along with many, many cousins had perished in concentration camps.