The Courage to Remember, the Courage to Create Change
Naples and South Florida Welcomes Much-Needed Messages of Tolerance and Acceptance as the World-Renowned “Courage to Remember” Holocaust Exhibit Comes to Collier County
As the state of Florida and the nation reel from the murder of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by a member of a neighborhood watch group while walking home late last month, many are left wondering, was this yet another incident resulting from discrimination and racism?
It may have been more than 75 years since the atrocities of the Holocaust put their black mark on history, but a wave of anti-Semitism, hate and violence has seemingly swept across Florida communities in recent years. Violence motivated by race and ethnic background make up more than half of all hate crimes in the state, and more than 65 percent of anti-religious hate crimes are against Jews, vastly more than any other religious group.
In the last year alone, a Naples resident reported receiving religiously motivated hate mail, two gay men were violently beaten, and one man had swastikas painted on his garage in an upscale gated community. It seems it’s becoming hip to hate.
So how can teachers, parents and the next generation of young people combat the dangerous impact of bigotry and ignorance? Education, of course.
From March 26 through April 6, with an opening ceremony event slated for March 27 at 4 p.m., North Collier Regional Park will host an important tool of Holocaust education and remembrance, which uses history to empower generations to resist ignorance, fight discrimination and stand up for what is right. “The Courage to Remember: the Holocaust 1933-1945” traveling exhibition, produced by the Museum of Tolerance, the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, brings a universal message of tolerance, hope and acceptance to Naples, chosen as just the second stop in Florida this year.
Featuring more than 200 exclusive photographs that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world, the exhibit offers unique insight into the Holocaust, while paying tribute to the millions of victims and their families. Divided into four distinct themes — Nazi Germany, 1933-1938; Moving Toward the “Final Solution,” 1939-1941; Annihilation in Nazi-occupied Europe, 1941-1945; and Liberation, Building New Lives — the effects are powerful. Just ask any one of the tens of thousands who have visited the exhibit in other cities — the impact and inspiration that comes from seeing “The Courage to Remember” lasts long after you leave.
“Two decades after we first designed this exhibit, its lesson is still vital to peace at home and abroad,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, explains. “We hope that by sharing ‘The Courage to Remember’ and its messages of hope, survival and courage with people across the country, we can inspire new generations of forward-thinkers and help prevent a similar catastrophe.”
Since it began touring last fall, the exhibit made 15 stops in California and Florida, with 25 additional venues already on the books for 2012, and more being added each day. With a large Jewish population and recent swell in racially and religiously motivated incidents, Naples is a perfect destination. The Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida was also instrumental in bringing the exhibition to town.
March 27 marks the opening ceremony event for the exhibit in Naples. Held at 4 p.m. at the North Collier Regional Park Exhibit Hall (15000 Livingston Road, 34119), the special launch event will feature a host notables who are coming speak and show support for Holocaust education and remembrance, including Mayor John Sorey, members of the Collier County District Board of Trustees, members of local Jewish congregations, local business owners, Holocaust survivors, and more.
Following the opening ceremony event, “The Courage to Remember: the Holocaust 1933-1945” will be on display at North Collier Regional Park through April 6. The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where is “The Courage to Remember” stopping next? Visit www.couragetoremember.com or follow twitter.com/courageremember for more information on the exhibit, its partners and schedule, and to see photos and videos from the opening events.