Bay Area Holocaust survivor’s collection to be housed at Florida Holocaust Museum, USF St. Pete

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - St. Petersburg will soon become home to a new piece of history.

The Florida Holocaust Museum and USF St. Petersburg have been chosen to house the entire personal collection of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner. The Elie Wiesel Foundation announced the decision this weekend.

Wiesel held a special connection to the Florida Holocaust Museum and the St. Petersburg area before his death in 2016. Wiesel attended the ribbon cutting at the Florida Holocaust Museum when it opened in 1998.

RELATED: Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, visiting professor at Eckerd, dies at 87

Michael Igel, the board chair of the Florida Holocaust Museum, said bringing the Elie Wiesel collection to the museum is a full circle moment.

<div>Pictured: Elie Wiesel.</div>
Pictured: Elie Wiesel.

"He was an inspiration," Igel said. "He was what we call an upstander. He made sure that people knew that the lessons of the Holocaust, the most important one is that you cannot be silent."

Igel said some called Wiesel the messenger of mankind.

He said Wiesel’s lessons will now live in the Florida Holocaust Museum forever through the artifacts and personal items Wiesel left behind. Igel said the collection will center around a recreation of Wiesel’s office.

MORE: Tampa Holocaust survivor remembered after life spent fighting tyranny

"Professor Wiesel, in every one of his offices, had a photo of the house he was born in, and it was on his desk," Igel said.

The collection will also include Wiesel’s Nobel Prize.

USF St. Petersburg will also house documents, manuscripts, photos and videos – some of which have never been seen before.

"We think we can weave Elie Wiesel’s message about humanity into curriculum, into programming, into lectures," said Thomas Smith, the vice provost for Academic Affairs at USF St. Petersburg.

The collection will be available for researchers at the university as well in the Elie Wiesel Center for Humanitarian Ethics.

READ: 'I live with this': Holocaust survivor living in Tampa remembers liberation of Auschwitz 78 years later

Smith said this will also carry out Wiesel’s legacy as an educator. He was a visiting professor at Eckerd College for 24 years.

"This is really Elie Wiesel’s message, and it’s one of hope," Smith said. "It’s one of humanity, and it’s against hate."

As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, Igel said the meaning that bringing the Elie Wiesel collection to St. Petersburg holds is difficult to put into words.

"People often think of the Holocaust, and they think only of the worst in people," Igel said.

Igel said this collection will help keep every Holocaust survivor’s story alive.

"He’s already taught millions of people, and now we’re going to be teaching millions more," Igel said.

The Florida Holocaust Museum will also create a traveling exhibition of the Elie Wiesel collection. The museum and USF St. Petersburg are working to create and build the collection in phases.