Continuing its annual tradition of support, six 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 8th Annual International Holocaust Commemoration on Sunday (Jan. 19) in St. Petersburg.
After many years at the Italian Club in Ybor City, this year's commemoration moved across the bay to Pinellas Technical College. 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, and approximately six million of these were Jews.
Representing Key Club at Sunday's ceremony, at which Holocaust survivors shared their stories, were club members Ryan Curtis '21, Nico Machado '21, Nick Asher '21, Riley Buchanan '20, Jimmy Grammig '21, and Adrian Cancio Rodriguez '22. Grammig also represented Key Club at last year's commemoration.
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 six survivors recognized during the candle lighting were Sonia Fuentes, Betty Grebenschikoff, Emil Herman, Halina Herman, Toni Rinde, and Dr. Michael Vermess.
Among the many who spoke at the emotional event were Rabbi Anne Feibelman, who has a filmmaking degree from Stanford University and for years has interviewed Holocaust survivors for international archives, and Dr. Joseph Smiley, Dean of Social/Behavioral Sciences and Human Services at St. Petersburg College. Three Pinellas County judges read proclamations: Hon. Christopher Labruzzo, Hon. Fred Pollack, and Hon. Josh Riba.
The Holocaust commemoration was part of a big weekend for Jesuit's Key Club. On Saturday (Jan. 18), the club hosted its annual Putt Putt Fundraiser at Malibu Grand Prix in Tampa. The event generated $1,500 for the Children's Cancer Center
View below a photo slideshow from Sunday's International Holocaust Remembrance Day event, and below that is a photo slideshow from the Putt Putt Fundraiser: