ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Holocaust Museum is one of three accredited museums of its kind in the country. Its mission: to teaching the members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides.
But leaders say the brutal Hamas attack on Jews in Israel is a reminder: it can happen again.
“I say to myself, you’re not supposed to be here. What are you going to do today?” said Mike Igel, the board chair, who said he’s alive today because non-Jews in Germany helped hide his grandparents from Nazis trying to hunt them down.
“I am living proof of the wonderful things that happen when people who don’t have to care, who could’ve turned their backs, don’t,” he said. “Today, it’s me. Tomorrow, it could be you, and you deserve me, as a fellow human being, you deserve to have me by your side.”
Inside the museum is a train car thought to have carried Jews to concentration camps. Beneath it, a ring thought to belong to a young girl which was found years later. The entire museum is meant to serve as an education on the Holocaust, and a warning about what can happen when hate is allowed to prevail.
“I say ignorance is not a bad word,” Igel said. “Ignorance means you didn’t know. That’s OK, as long as you’re willing to learn.”
The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 55 5th Street South in St. Petersburg.