Continuing its annual tradition of support, seven members of Jesuit High School's Key Club served as ushers and participated in the candle lighting ceremony honoring survivors of the Holocaust during the 7th Annual International Holocaust Commemoration at the Italian Club in Ybor City on Sunday (Jan. 20).
The event is held each year by the International Diplomatic Corps of Florida on or near Jan. 27, which is recognized by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is estimated that between 1933 and 1945, more than 11 million were murdered in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. Approximately six million of these were Jews.
Representing Jesuit and the Key Club at Sunday's ceremony, at which Holocaust survivors shared their stories, were (L-R in the homepage photo) Key Club members Tommy Thiel '19, Diego Maldonado-Puebla '21, Logan Kant '22, Jimmy Grammig '21, Miguel Coste '19, Connor Murphy '19, and Tyler Petitt '19, along with Key Club moderator Amy Martin.
Additionally, several Jesuit students were presented with awards for their submissions in an essay contest hosted by the International Diplomatic Corps of Florida. This year's topic was personal and community responsibility, and winners of the contest received $300 (1st place) and $200 (2nd place) scholarships. For the senior category, Gregory Davis '19 won 1st place and Ryan Nelson '19 won 2nd, and in the junior category, Ryan Gallagher '20 won 1st place and Zachary Ellis '20 won 2nd place.
The MacDill AFB Color Guard and the Jesuit students initiated the candle lighting ceremony. The students brought a candle to each Holocaust survivor, with the lighting of the candle representing one of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, spoke at the event, remarking on the importance of remembering tragedies like the Holocaust in our community, before introducing survivor Rifka Glatz. In her keynote address, Glatz spoke about how in 1944, at the age of seven, she and her family were forced by Hungarian troops to leave their home and be transported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After enduring the camp for eight months, her family was transported to Switzerland, then Palestine in 1945. For the next three years, she was separated from her family and sent to work on a kibbutz, or communal farm. Glatz eventually immigrated to the United States in 1958.
View photos from Sunday's International Holocaust Remembrance Day event below: