Alex Sternberg
A Jewish Activist

The Sad State of Holocaust Education in Florida

The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida has a new exhibit teaching the lessons learned from the Holocaust by focusing on the murder of George Floyd.

Yes, you read it correctly!

Lisa Bachman the assistant director of education at the Florida Holocaust Center  attempted to explain the controversial pairing of the death of 6 million Jews with the death of George Floyd, by stating that the mission of the Museum is to: “stimulate thinking about the nature of prejudice, bigotry, antisemitism, hate, and extremist ideologies”  She failed to explain, however, what the death of Floyd, a man with a robust criminal history who was killed during a police matter that went terribly wrong, has to do with “stimulating thinking about antisemitism, hate and extremist ideology”.  I am confused-was Floyd a victim of anti-Semitism? Extremist ideology?

The truth is, that this exhibit is nothing but an example of progressive, political overreach.  Furthermore, it’s a disgrace to the memory of the victims of the Shoah, something the Center was established to honor.

Bachman insists that her misguided exhibit does not intend to make any comparisons, all the while continuing to compare the situation of Jews in the 30’s to victims of prejudice today. Her intention, she explained in an article in TOI, was to ensure that what happened to the 6 million victims of Nazism will not happen to anyone today. Apparently, the public outrage forced our education director Lisa to pen an article pleading with us   to not believe “our lying eyes”. The deluge of criticism, Bachman claims, come from those who misunderstood her intentions. But,  no amount of pleading has quieted the outrage down.

As every decent person in the world, I too, was saddened and outraged following the death of George Floyd. His death, due to the use of excessive force at the hands of a rogue policeman, was tragic. But it never occurred to me to compare that senseless murder with the wanton, intentional murder of my 14 month-old brother in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1944. Deniers of the Holocaust have claimed for years that the stories of the Shoah have been exaggerated. And now,   a Holocaust Center is giving fuel to such claims with such a foolish comparison.  My parents, both Holocaust survivors, who lost their entire families to the murderers of the German Nazis and Hungarian fascists, would find this comparison obscene!

The direction of Holocaust education is undergoing revision and change. But no one is suggesting that  we refocus the lessons of the Shoah by shining the spotlight onto areas that confuse and water down the very lessons we are trying to teach.

‘The Florida Holocaust Education Center knows it’s doing something right when its work draws the ire of detractors“, Bachman bragged.

Judging by the overwhelming outcry against this exhibit, the good folks in the Florida Center should be quite satisfied.

The only decent thing that the Board of Directors can do, is to immediately withdraw this unfortunate exhibit.

As that old adage admonishes, “ when everyone tells you you’re drunk…….Lie down!

Jewish victims of Nazism and anti-Semitism.
About the Author
Born in Hungary, emigrated to US 1961. Became USA Karate Champion and teacher. Joined the Kahane led JDL, teaching karate and becoming an activist. Received doctorates in physiology and Public Health (SUNY College of Medicine), was the Director of the Pulmonary Function and Exercise Physiology Lab at Downstate Medical Center for 30 years. President and founder of the Center for Hungarian Holocaust Education. Presently, an author and teacher of Jewish history and the Holocaust (RAMBAM Mesivta LI). Author of "Recipes from Auschwitz-The Survival Stories of Two Hungarian Jews with Historical Insight". Amazon.