Florida Keys Community College hosted the only public stop of U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s Holocaust Survivors Florida Keys Tour on Monday, March 22 from 9:30 am to 11 am in the Tennessee Williams Theatre on the college’s Key West campus. The Congresswoman, accompanied by eight Holocaust survivors, traveled down the Keys beginning March 18, stopping and visiting local high schools, middle schools, and synagogues.
FKCC’s session gave the community the rare opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from eight individuals who survived Nazi concentration camps as adolescents. They shared their personal stories of courage, strength, and perseverance in the face of one of history’s worst genocides that resulted in the death of approximately six million Eastern European Jews during World War II. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen discussed her role as the Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee and the numerous bills she has introduced condemning global anti-Semitism and helping the survivors and descendents of the Holocaust. Representatives from the American Red Cross were also be on hand with information about their Holocaust and War Victims Tracing services.
This semester, the college is offering a European History course that focuses on the Holocaust, taught by Professor Sharon Farrell.
“Studying the Holocaust demonstrates that we must always be vigilant; we must never forget, and we must never take democracy for granted,” says Farrell. “This is an incredible opportunity for my students to hear the living testimony of survivors of this catastrophic event in history.”
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is a strong supporter of the southernmost college. She was instrumental in securing a $2.24 million Department of Defense appropriation for the college to develop a high-tech underwater port security training program—by far the largest earmark awarded to any community college in the nation this year. Last March, Ros-Lehtinen, a former teacher, was proclaimed an “Honorary FKCC Faculty Member” after teaching a lesson on American Government and Politics to FKCC students and community members in the college’s Library. This May, she will give the commencement address to the graduating class.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Debbie Leonard, FKCC Executive Director of the President’s Office at 305-809-3531.