Exploring our common ground: a visit to the Florida Holocaust Museum

12 Feb
holocaust museum

March of the Living and Young Ambassadors delegations at the Florida Holocaust Museum

On a particularly spacious charter bus, the March of the Living delegation drove towards St. Petersburg with this year’s Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors. We sought our destination: another bus, one whose reputation in tasty Mexican cuisine precedes itself. As the bus sped on, we played “Two Truths and a Lie,” a simple ice-breaker to get to know one another.  Though many of us had known each other beforehand, we took some time playing this game to explore what made us unique and human.

After lunch and socializing under the watchful gaze of a 6’ wood-carved caballero, we arrived at the Florida Holocaust Museum, a museum dedicated to “The teaching of the inherent worth and dignity of human life.” As our two docents toured us through the museum, a parallel became evident. On the highest floor of the museum lay a different type of exhibit. Wooden reliefs of adults, boys, and girls alike, lined the walls, filled with color, a golden halo behind every head. We were asked by our docent to pick any one, and to only remember a name.

Adolf Eichmann, the man responsible for the systematic murders of millions, related in a chilling statement how, “A hundred deaths are a catastrophe, a million are a statistic.” Many of us had been to a Holocaust museum before, a few this same one. Regardless, we all left with a message; that Eichmann was wrong, and must be proven wrong a million times more. We must remember that every life is unique, special, and filled with this inherent worth, and will never be any less.

This was the first time that the March of the Living and Young Ambassadors delegations have formally participated in a pre-mission activity together. Many of us on the March have been on Young Ambassadors, and hopefully many of the Young Ambassadors will go on the March in subsequent years. It was a great way for us to connect, share our past experiences and future expectations, and learn together about something so relevant to all of us.

Alex E. is a member of the 2014 March of the Living Delegation and an alumnus of the 2013 Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program.

The March of the Living and Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program are presented in partnership with the Shapiro Teen Engagement Program (STEP) of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. 

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