“We must learn from the Holocaust, especially as you see what is happening around the world today with bombs, international tensions, and crimes against humanity,” said Avner Avraham in a press release from The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM.) Avraham is the curator of Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann – a new and compelling exhibition on display at the world-renowned museum, Feb. 10 to July 15, 2018. “This exhibition illustrates what we are talking about when we say ‘never again.’ That message is even more important as survivors turn 80 and 90 years old because they will not be able to tell their stories forever,” Avraham said.
Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann tells the dramatic story of how one of the world’s most notorious escaped Nazi war criminals was brought to justice.
Adolf Eichmann stood trial in 1961 for transporting millions of European Jews to death camps. The trial captivated millions world-wide, and was one of the first in history to be broadcast on television in its entirety. For many viewers, it was their first exposure to the horrifying details of the Holocaust.
“There was a march of survivors, I would say approximately 100 survivors, who came into the witness box and told the story of what happened to them. And people watched them and listened to them and heard them in a way they hadn’t heard them before,” said Deborah Lipstadt, renowned historian and professor of Religion and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, in a press release from The FHM.
Named “Operation Finale” after the code name of Israel’s effort to find Eichmann, the exhibition reveals the compelling story of his capture, extradition and trial through recently declassified artifacts from The Mossad – Israel Secret Intelligence Service and co-producers of the exhibition along with Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv, Israel and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Cleveland, Ohio.
Unique to the exhibition at The FHM will be commentary of three local survivors who will share their reactions to Eichmann’s capture and trial.
The interactive exhibition includes artifacts, photographs, Telly Award winning films and audio made available outside the country for the first time, including the iconic bulletproof glass booth in which Eichmann sat in during his trial.
Over the past seven years, Avraham met with thousands of people collecting documentation and interviewing those involved in the operation.
Avraham to Speak at the Annual Gala
Avraham will also serve as the Keynote Speaker for the museum’s annual gala on Feb. 10, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, entitled To Life: Honoring the Past; Empowering the Future! Highlights of the gala include an appearance by a special guest who has attended each of the museums five main education and outreach programs including Law Enforcement and Society, Teaching Trunks, Summer Institute for Teachers, the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award program and Speak Up, Speak Now!
The gala will also feature stories from the museum’s 25th anniversary oral history series, 25 Survivors, 25 Stories… Celebrating 25 Years! Produced in partnership with Eckerd College, the series showcases a different Holocaust survivor on the 25th day of each month for 25 months.
One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The FHM honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. On any given day at the museum, local survivors come and tell their stories to visitors and groups.
From the Kindertransport in Vienna to Clearwater, Florida
Lisl Schick, a 90-year-old Clearwater resident, recently told her survivor story to a group of middle schoolers at The FHM.
“I’m going to take you back to Vienna. It is April of 1939. It’s exactly one year since Hitler came into Austria.” she said. Her family had lived a “comfortable life,” she said. “Their only crime was the fact that they were born Jewish.”
She went on to share what she witnessed as an 11-year-old girl before escaping deportation and genocide with her 7-year-old brother on the Kindertransport that saved some 10,000 children like her.
The signs in her neighborhood park that declared, No Jews or Dogs Allowed.
The hulking portraits of Hitler that replaced the crucifixes hung in every classroom.
Public transportation, libraries and swimming pools suddenly became off limits, and she was shunned by friends who started calling her names like, “dirty Jew.”
The aftermath of Nazis wreaking havoc in the streets, setting fire to their synagogues and looting stores owned by Jews.
And the neighbors who started disappearing – sent off in droves to the concentration camps.
By 1945, she and her brother were miraculously reunited with their parents in the United States.
“I’ve always said our parents gave birth to us twice. Once when we were actually born and the next time when they had the foresight and the courage to put us on the train to safety to England,” she said. “I’ve been very very lucky all my life. Hitler took away all our material things that he could take away. Nobody can ever take away what’s in your head and in your mind.”
Visit Us – Share Your Story
Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann opens to the public on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at The Florida Holocaust Museum, located at 55 5th Street S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
To Life: Honoring the Past; Empowering the Future! Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, located at 2900 Bayport Dr., Tampa, FL 33607. Gala tickets are sold out! To be added to the waiting list, contact Terrie Maines, 727.820.0100 ext. 249. For additional information, please visit: www.TheFHM.org/to-life-annual-benefit.
If you’re a local survivor and want to share your story, contact Erin Blankenship, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, please visit www.flholocaustmuseum.org.