Holocaust Memorial Center
The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. (By Dave Parker via Wikimedia Commons)

The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills provides an educational opportunity for Sheriff Bouchard’s new senior staff members.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard brought his senior command staff from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to visit the Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC) in Farmington Hills on Monday, March 2.

For Bouchard, the goal was to not only learn the history of the Holocaust, but also to understand the dangers of anti-Semitism.

“I personally have been to the Holocaust Memorial Center numerous times and have also visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem in Israel,” Bouchard said. “I have always found this opportunity to be impactful, and each time I walk away with a new and deeper understanding of the Holocaust.”

Bouchard and his senior staff members have visited the HMC in the past, but decided to coordinate a tour for new staff members with HMC CEO Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld.

Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld and Michael Bouchard
HMC CEO Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. Courtesy of Leslie Pardo

“I wanted to expose some of the new lieutenants and captains to this experience,” Bouchard said. “I think it is as important as ever because of the great anxiety and concern over the hate that is in today’s world regarding faith, race and sexual orientation. I want my senior command staff to understand the history of the Holocaust so we can better prepare ourselves to not let history repeat itself.”

The 35 staff members took a tour of the museum and explored a special exhibit on the capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann. The group also listened to Holocaust survivor Edith Maniker speak about her experience.

“One of the most penetrating messages that I got from the museum were the images of German police who not only stood by, but participated in rounding up Jewish people,” Bouchard said. “So my message to my senior staff is that we have to always hold paramount that we are the line that stands between the evil and their potential victims.”

Mayerfeld encourages local law enforcement to come for tours and participate in deeper education about the Holocaust.

“With the rise of anti-Semitism both internationally and nationally, but also with the rise of hate, these are important steps for law enforcement to take to learn these lessons,” Mayerfeld said. “People must understand that anyone is capable of doing horrible things, but we are also capable of doing amazing things. It is up to us to make those choices.”