St. Petersburg, FL (April 20, 2010) – The Board of Directors and staff of the Florida Holocaust Museum mourns the loss of Edith Loebenberg on April 19, 2010. Edith and her husband, Walter, founded the Museum. The couple and a group of community leaders conceived the idea of creating a living memorial dedicated to those who suffered and perished during the Holocaust. Their goal was to ensure that such atrocities could never again happen to any group of people.
Edith Loebenberg (nee Lowengard) was born in Darmstadt, Germany. Due to rising antisemitism, in 1938, the Lowengard family left for New York City. They subsequently moved to Chicago where her father became a night watchman and her mother opened a dining room featuring German style cooking. Edie married Walter Loebenberg in 1948. They settled in St. Petersburg, Florida and had three children, eight grandchildren and one great grandson.
In 1992, due to Edie and Walter Loebenberg’s vision and philanthropy, the Holocaust Center rented space in Madeira Beach. Over the next five years, more than 125,000 visitors viewed internally acclaimed exhibits, participated in lectures and seminars and attended commemorative events. In 1998 the Center moved to St. Petersburg and in 1999, officially changed its name to the Florida Holocaust Museum.
One of the Museum’s major accomplishments came in 1993 when it played a critical role in shaping legislation that made Florida the nation’s first state to mandate Holocaust education in the public schools.
In 2003, the Loebenberg Humanitarian Award was established to honor the couple's accomplishment of making a Holocaust museum a reality. Each year, the Award recognizes an individual(s) who has made an outstanding contribution to the Museum and whose vision, foresight and dedication has furthered the Museum’s mission.