Gregg Rickman

Special Envoy to the U.S. State Department to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism

Guest Speaker

Yom HaShoah – Annual Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust

Sunday May 4, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Deborah German, MD, Dean of the UCF College of Medicine

Honorary Chair

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida’s annual community wide observance of Yom HaShoah, the Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, will be held on Sunday, May 4, 2008 at 4pm in the gymnasium of the Jewish Community Center, 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. The program is open to the entire community with no admission charge.

The Yom HaShoah commemoration honors the memory of the six million Jews who perished during the 12-year reign of German Nazi terror.

Dr. Gregg Rickman, the United States Secretary of State’s Special Envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, will be the speaker for the Yom HaShoah Commemoration. Dr. Rickman, responsible for global monitoring of acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement and the creation of policies to combat such acts, will present a look at world wide anti-Semitism today and how his office is responding to it.

The legislation to create the Special Envoy position, introduced in 2004 by U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-Calif), requires the U.S. government to monitor and report on anti-Semitism around the world. It also mandated the appointment of an ambassador to focus on fighting anti-Semitism.

In his swearing–in ceremony Dr. Rickman stated, “….It must be clear that there is no place in the world for this most ancient form of prejudice and bigotry. I want you to know that I will do all that I can to make it clear that in order for freedom and democracy to prevail, anti-Semitism in all its forms must be prevented. One important way is through education aimed at instilling democratic values, including tolerance for those of all religions. If we have learned anything from the past, it is that anti-Semitism left unchecked results in disaster. I was taught this much by my grandfather who fled the pogroms and revolution in the Russian empire in 1919…….and was given a safe haven in this country.”

He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Miami.

Dr. Rickman directed the three –year United States Senate Banking Committee investigation, including five Congressional hearings, into the deposition of assets of Holocaust victims held by Swiss banks since World War II, ending with a $1.25 billion settlement on behalf of the survivors.

He is the author of two books, Swiss Banks and Jewish Souls, 1999 (Transaction), and Conquest and Redemption, A History of Jewish Assets from the Holocaust, 2006 (Transaction).

Deborah German, MD, Dean of the UCF College of Medicine, will serve as Honorary Chair.

Chair of the Yom HaShoah Committee is Valerie Kahn. Also serving on the committee are:, Patricia Ambinder, Irena Dolinskiy, Randye Falk, Dr. Terri Fine , Lisa Ferrigno, Helen Greenspun, Paul Hansman, Aaron Hilbun, Dr. Philip Kalfin, Father Larry Lossing, Sandy Oser, Dr. Laurence Ruggiero, Pamela Skipper and Dr. Stan Sujka.

On display at the Holocaust Memorial center will be the exhibition Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk.

At the Yom HaShoah observance awards will be presented to the winners of the Center’s Annual Student Creative Arts Contest. The theme for this year’s contest, “Never Again?”, challenges students to consider the goal of making the phrase “Never Again” a reality instead of only a dream. It also asks students to consider questions of “why prejudice, discrimination and even genocide continue to plague the world?” Last year over 600 students from the tri county area participated in the contest.

The commemorative event also includes lighting of memorial candles and a musical performance by David Bjella, cello professor at Stetson University and Joni Hanze-Bjella, Associate Concertmaster, Orlando philharmonic Orchestra.

This program is supported through generous grants from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, Darden Restaurants Foundation and Dr. Mitchell Shapiro Memorial Fund. This project is also funded by the United Arts of Central Florida. Inc, State of Florida, Department of State – Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.

The Holocaust Memorial Center is open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday – Thursday, 9 am to 1 pm on Friday and 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday.

For information: 407-628-0555