Witness to the Holocaust
Survivors who worked to build the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center reflect on what the new museum means to them.
A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing Sara Bloomfield, the executive director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, express the long-range plans then under consideration for her institution. She focused on the fact that what the Museum had meant and done to date needed to be exchanged for a much different role, looking decades ahead when eyewitnesses would long be gone and when the history of the Holocaust would need to be portrayed as history and no longer as a quasi - "current event."
That time has also arrived for what some courageous and devoted founders had established in Skokie and in Illinois. Time has elapsed since that meaningful founding and here too what were live events are becoming "history.” It is therefore time to offer to the present and future population of the Midwest a suitable facility of education and enlightenment, which presents the Holocaust meaningfully both as history and also as a reminder that its tragedies and atrocities are a matter of the past, which should be ominous warnings to future generations to honor and respect humanity, no matter what the aims of misguided non-believers.
In my view that is what the planners of the new Illinois facility have in mind and rightly so. In other words, we are not leaving the scene, just passing the baton. Mazel tov.