Naples Daily News (FL) -- Holocaust photo retrospective opens in North Naples

Holocaust photo retrospective opens in North Naples


Photo by GREG KAHN, Naples Daily News

Greg Kahn/Staff Seasonal residents Sam Geist, center kneeling, and Bob Goodman, both of Canada, read display panels during the opening of "The Courage to Remember," a traveling Holocaust exhibit, which will be in Naples at the North Collier Regional Park Exhibit Hall until April 6. The display features 200 exclusive photos and is free to the public. See for more photos of the traveling exhibit.

Sabina Van Dam remembered the yellow Star of David in the old photograph is the same star her husband wore as a child during the Holocaust.

"I never wore one because I wasn't 6 yet, and I remember being mad that I didn't get one," said Van Dam, a Collier County resident and Holocaust survivor.

Van Dam was one of about 45 people who attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for the opening of "The Courage to Remember," a traveling retrospective of nearly 200 Holocaust photographs. The retrospective, which features about 15 panels of photographs and text, is on display through April 6 at North Collier Regional Park.

The exhibit is free to the public.

"Remembering is an introspective, important but passive activity," said Linda Medvin an educator and chairwoman of the state task force for Holocaust education. "But to not forget requires action. Every day there is new information from newly opened archives and new research.

"In order to not forget, we must use these resources to educate."

The retrospective is sponsored by the Holocaust Museum & Education Center of Southwest Florida, the Foundation for California and the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance.

For the survivors, community and religious leaders and scholars at the ribbon cutting, the importance of educating young people about this period in history was the top priority.

"There's a hunger for Holocaust education more than ever, and it's more important than ever due to this growing movement of anti-Semitism," said Alfred Balitzer, chairman of the Foundation for California. "According to the FBI, half of the hate crimes investigated last year were against Jews. You can't have a yamaka on and walk down the streets of Amsterdam without being harassed.

"Luckily it's not as bad here in the states, but we have our own homegrown anti-Semitics that are becoming a real problem."

Naples Police Chief Tom Weschler said anti-Semitism isn't as severe in Southwest Florida as it is in other places.

"We don't experience as much of it here on this coast," he said, "but we're diligent, we're aware of it and we work to be proactive."

After viewing the retrospective, Abe Price, an Auschwitz survivor, said people who deny the Holocaust are "just plain stupid."

"I lost over 200 members of my family," said Price, who still has "B3266" tattooed on his forearm from his time in the concentration camp. "I was in camps from the time I was 16 until I was 22, I spent the last six months in Auschwitz."