Tallahassee.com

The Holocaust hurts:

Find the 'Courage to Remember' Exhibit makes its Florida debut at TCC


Soft conversation and murmurs filled the Holocaust exhibit at Tallahassee Community College on Tuesday evening as visitors quietly meandered through the display. Some spoke to one another softly, some pointed to a photo or a quote. Some simply, silently, took it all in.

"The Courage to Remember," a world-traveling exhibit, showcases more than 200 photos from 1933 to 1945. Following an opening ceremony, Tuesday marked the Florida debut of the exhibit.

"We believe that knowledge of the Holocaust is more important today than it ever has been," said Alfred Balitzer, chairman of the Foundation of California, which sponsors the exhibit, adding that hatred and bigotry continue to be present. Education is a powerful tool, he said.

"These things persist around us," Balitzer said. "Things like the exhibit continue to be important as a way of teaching people about the horrors — and the lessons we can learn from those horrors."

About 100 attended the opening ceremony, including Leon County Commission Chairman Akin Akinyemi, City Commissioner Andrew Gillum and Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, who all spoke on the importance of remembering the Holocaust.

Holocaust survivor and cantor Emil Levy was also present at the ceremony. Levy, who was born in former Czechoslovakia, remembers running across Europe with his family, sleeping in graveyards and finding sanctuary wherever they could. The blessing of having survived the Holocaust — although much of his extended family did not — led him to a life of service to his fellow man, he said.

"I give my life to make sure that my brothers and sisters and the Jewish people will never again have Holocaust," Levy said, "and do everything in my power to bring this world to love each other."

The exhibit, from the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in California, has been to more than 73 locations — including in Africa and Asia. TCC President Jim Murdaugh said "The Courage to Remember" was free for the school and was the result of a faculty member with a connection to the exhibit.

"You can't see this sort of thing and not be moved," he said. "And college is where we want students to have those kinds of experiences. We want them to see things they would not ordinarily see, and have them shape the kinds of people that they become."