by George J Elbaum
The mission of Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is expressed in its founding principle: Remember the Past, Transform the Future. The Museum is thus dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Holocaust by honoring the memories of its millions of murdered victims, but also by teaching universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice, and indifference. As the second largest Holocaust museum in the United States, it not only honors the memory of the Holocaust’s victims but also salutes the courage and resilience of its Survivors. They are the people who rebuilt their lives and awoke the conscience of humanity, working tirelessly to tell their stories, so that none of us ever forget. It is for them that we carry out our founding principle.
The Museum, opened in 2009, is a culmination of 30 years of hard work by Chicago’s Survivor community, and it fulfills its mission through the exhibition, preservation, and interpretation of its collections; and through education programs and initiatives that foster the promotion of human rights and the elimination of genocide.
The Museum hosts approximately 40 programs annually. These sessions cover a wide range of topic areas, including the Holocaust, genocide, and contemporary social justice issues. One of these programs consists of over five dozen video interviews and stories of Holocaust Survivors, recorded on Facebook and YouTube and available for viewing to the general public. My presentation was a part of this program, and was organized by Amanda Friedeman, Assistant Director of Education of the Museum, and Sierra Wolff, its Communications Coordinator. My participation in the program was arranged by Julia Thompson, Education Program Manager of Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity