St. Petersburg, FL -- Less than two weeks after White House Spokesman Sean Spicer apologized for insensitive comments about the use of chemical weapons during the holocaust, comes Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Monday, at ceremonies around the world, people stopped to honor those murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
At the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, they chose a particularly poignant use of social media to pay respects to Holocaust victims.
For seven hours, between 10 am and 5 pm, dignitaries, civic leaders and volunteers stepped up to a microphone, and live on Facebook, read aloud - name after name after name of people who died in the Holocaust.
“It is the most concrete example we have, the most detailed research example of what happens when you stop treating people as people,” said the museum’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Gelman.
Yom HaShoa, Holocaust Remembrance Day, falls on the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Widely regarded as a day of defiance and heroism even in the face of almost certain death.
The Florida Holocaust Museum offered free admission to visitors Monday.
To learn. To understand. To Never forget.
“Our whole goal is to use the lessons of the past to create a better future for all,” said Gelman.
With anti-Semitism on the rise, museum visitors said it's important people see the atrocities that can come with unchallenged prejudice.
“And we realize that the times that were living in there's circumstances that are very difficult also,” said museum visitor Michael Incavido.
Donna Arnold said the museum was emotionally moving, and recommended others visit.
“It's very alarming of what can happen. But it's also very interesting to see and let others know that you have to be aware,” said Arnold.
John Rinde, A Holocaust survivor who lost several members of his own family, addressed museum visitors. Rinde says he considers it an obligation now to share his story.
“Our numbers are dwindling. And the number of deniers, is still there,” said Rinde. “So, we need to bear witness to what really happened.”
Even with the constant reading of names over the course of seven hours, it only represented about 1/10 of 1% of the 6 million Jews killed during the holocaust.
Museum officials say this is the first year that they've read those names aloud on the internet and social media.
Museum visitors, moved by the gesture, say they hope it won’t be the last.