The Holocaust was, without question, one of the worst atrocities in human history. By the end of World War II, the Nazis had systematically murdered up to 12 million people, including Jews, Russians, mentally and physically disabled, and a host of others. The Florida Holocaust Museum teaches its visitors about the atrocities and reminds them of the value and dignity of all humans.
In 1992, two German-born Jews (Walter and Edith Logenberg) rented a space at the Jewish Community Center and opened the Holocaust Center. It drew over 24,000 visitors in its first month, necessitating a move to a larger, more permanent facility. An Israeli-born architect (and Gulfport resident), Nick Benjacob, renovated a former bank into the newly-renamed Florida Holocaust Museum. Today, it is one of the largest Holocaust Museums in the United States and attracted over 65,000 visitors its first year.
Here are the two most important things you can do at the Florida Holocaust Museum:
- Learn: It is crucial that we understand our history and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. History, as they say, has a way of repeating itself. The Museum has a permanent exhibit on the first floor entitled “History, Heritage, and Hope,” which features important historical artifacts, such as Judaica, the yellow star of David which was sewn into clothing, and prison uniforms. The tour also includes Boxcar #113 069-5 and piece of track used in transporting prisoners to Treblinka killing center in German-occupied Poland. Finally, the tour concludes with an area called “Lessons for Today,” which teaches visitors about other genocides and act of hatred occurring in our modern world.
There are also temporary exhibits rotating in and out on the second and third floors, which are also worth a visit.
- Teach: It’s equally important that visitors take the lessons they’ve learned with them out into the real world, and to inform others about the atrocities that were (and still are) committed. 12 million people (Jews, Poles, Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others) died needlessly. We can’t let that happen again. Use your experience at the Holocaust Museum for the betterment of mankind.
The Florida Holocaust Museum is a sobering reminder of one of the worst atrocities every committed. It’s also a beautiful and moving tribute to those who lost their lives, to those who survived, and to those who continue to lose their lives in modern genocides. If you have school-aged children, it’s an especially important stop to augment what they’ve learned about the Holocaust in school. Don’t miss out on this essential educational experience, no matter how difficult it may be.
After the Holocaust Museum, it might be nice to get out and enjoy some fresh air. In previous posts, we’ve talked about the beauty on display at Sawgrass Lake Park, Clam Bayou Nature Preserve, and the Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg. All offer beautiful settings for a nature stroll, which can be a good way to process this dark period of history.
And then, when all is said and done, return to your room at the Historic Peninsula Inn. We offer a variety of beautiful accommodations, perfect for anything from a romantic getaway to a warm-weather family vacation. We also have an award-winning restaurant, Isabelle’s, specializing in New Southern cuisine.
If you haven’t already, make sure you download a copy of our Gulfport Vacation Guide. It’s chock full of helpful insider information so you can make the most of your trip.