Museum curators, educators, and researchers presented their work in Boca Raton, Florida, on Sunday, December 9. The first stop in the Museum’s national tour to mark its 20-year milestone was not only educational, but also poignant and personal. The programs captivated the diverse audience of more than 2,100, which included nearly 300 Holocaust survivors and 175 World War II veterans.
“Nobody understands freedom more than the people in this room,” said Museum Director Sara J. Bloomfield during the tribute to the wartime generation. “That is why the Museum is here today […] to pledge to you that we will forever remember your experiences and teach the world the truth about the Holocaust and its lessons for humanity.”
Throughout the day, participants grappled with enduring lessons and unanswered questions about the Holocaust with historians, journalists, and Museum experts. They met with curators to discuss family photographs, documents, and artifacts they brought to the event, including a precious Kiddush cup and menorah. They conducted research in Museum archives to learn new facts about the experiences of family members and view documents from their own past—in one case, a birth certificate for a survivor who had never known where she was born.
At the closing tribute ceremony, educator Rebecca Dupas reinforced the event theme, "Never Again. What You Do Matters," when she said, “The Museum taught me that if I don’t speak for others, there will be no one left to speak for me … . Silence can never be my choice.”
Photo: In Boca Raton, a Holocaust survivor pins his location at the end of World War II. US Holocaust Memorial Museum