Since 1988 the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida has annually hosted a fundraising Dinner of Tribute. Over the years, dozens of honorees have been selected for their philanthropy, for their political leadership, and for their passion for creating a more tolerant, more just community.
Few, if any, of them have been more deserving of tribute as this year’s honoree, Helen Greenspun. A Holocaust Survivor from Poland, she has devoted her life to sharing her story on behalf of the Holocaust Center. She has traveled to schools, met with students at the Center, and granted an extraordinary number of interviews by journalists, students, and community members. In spite of the personal cost of telling her painful story – the murder of her parents and younger siblings, the series of concentration camps and death camps, and a final death march – she continued to speak so that a new generation, seemingly far removed for the Holocaust era, would have the benefit of her first-hand account. When asked what has motivated her to continue sharing her testimony, she simply says, “I tell my story for all the people who did not live to tell theirs.”
At this year’s Dinner of Tribute, held at the Rosen Plaza on April 17th, over 600 people were able to better appreciate the importance of Helen’s contributions through a special production reflecting on her life. Two young actors, Sydney Raine Garick and Sinclaire Shaffer, presented a moving drama based on Helen’s testimony in schools. This was followed by a special performance by the Orlando Ballet dancing to Requiem for a Dream. As they danced, a series of stark photographs were projected overhead, depicting the sorrow and desperation that touches so many lives. The program ended on a hopeful note with images of those who reach out to comfort and protect others.
Mark Freid, the Vice President of the Center’s Board of Directors, urged attendees to continue their support for the Holocaust Center beyond the dinner. His own commitment to the organization, he says, is because of his great desire to create a better world for his children and generations to come. In addition to donations made directly to the Center, attendees were encouraged to make donations to the new Helen Greenspun Endowment for Holocaust Education at the Community Foundation of Central Florida.
As part of the event, Mitchell Bloomer, Resource Teacher for the Holocaust Center, paid tribute to Helen on behalf of the Center’s Board and staff. Honoring her, he said, serves as a reminder that all those whose lives were changed by the Holocaust, victims and well as survivors, were people just like everyone else, “ people who embrace life – with family and community, with religion and culture, with hopes and dreams and accomplishments – and who have given us a legacy worthy of remembrance.”
Pam Kancher, Executive Director of the Center, said she was overwhelmed by the response to the Dinner. “We had an amazing number of emails and phone calls the next morning,” she said. “People couldn’t wait to tell us how inspired they were by the evening’s speakers, and how much they were moved by our beautiful tribute to Helen.”
June 17 to June 21
Register Now for the Eighteenth Annual Teachers Institute
May 15 to May 16
We will be closed May 15 and 16 for Holiday observances
May 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Book Club featuring Greg Dawson
Monday - Thursday 9 AM - 4 PM
Friday 9 AM - 1 PM
Sunday 1 PM - 4 PM
No admission is charged for visiting the Center or for attending commemorative programs and films. Scheduled school group may limit access to some parts of the museum.
The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida · 851 N Maitland Ave · Maitland, FL 32751 · Phone: 407-628-0555 · email@example.com