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2017-05-05 digital edition
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May 5, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Int’l Remembrance Day event to continue under new banner

After announcing last month that an International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony held in Tampa for the past five years was coming to an end, Vincent Genovese, who organized the event, announced May 3 that the event is back on again under a new flagship organization.

Genovese, who was consular correspondent for Italy, had called off future ceremonies after Al Savage, dean of the Tampa Bay Consular Corps (TBCC), notified him that it was the organization’s policy “not to endorse any particular event or cause.”

Savage praised the work that Genovese had done on the event, but said he had been told in the past it could not be held under the TBCC banner.

It could have ended there, but did not. Genovese said he received an “overwhelming number of messages … expressing their support and asking to continue hosting the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

He added, “International Holocaust commemoration will continue now under the banner of the International Diplomatic Corps of Florida, an organization recently registered in the state of Florida.” The announcement noted that Genovese is the executive director of the new organization.

Genovese announced the date and location for next year’s event, Jan. 21 at the Italian Club in Ybor City – where it has been held in the past – and said details about the program for the event will be announced later.

The five previous events were attended by diplomatic officials from a variety of nations, local elected officials, military leaders from MacDill Air Force base and visiting foreign military officials. Holocaust survivors from the Tampa Bay area and at least one death camp liberator spoke at past events which drew as many as 400.

Already for the 2018 Remembrance Day program, Genovese provided a list of career and honorary consuls who have agreed to support and participate. The list includes career consuls from 12 nations, including Israel, and 19 honorary consuls or honorary vice consuls who represent 17 nations.

“I am very pleased to hear that the diplomatic corps was able to find a solution and we look forward to supporting it next year as in past years,” said Elizabeth Gelman, executive director of the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.

Adamantia Klosta, consul general of Greece, also said she is pleased the event is back on. “It is a very significant event and Vincent [Genovese] has done a great job of putting it together,” she said, adding that there is “strong support among the Tampa Bay consular community” for the event to continue.

Klosta said her predecessor supported and attended the first year’s event and that since she arrived in Tampa in 2013, she has supported and attended it. She said it is important for those in the Jewish and non- Jewish community to come together to remember the Holocaust and for newer generations to know about what happened to Jews during World War II.

“It is very moving to hear from the Holocaust survivors” she said.

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