Chicago marks Holocaust Remembrance Day in Skokie
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Ever since the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center was built two years ago, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has commemorated the city’s Holocaust Remembrance Day there.
“Each year, this day serves as a reminder of a tragic time in history that this generation should not be allowed to forget,” city organizers said.
Holocaust survivor Beatrice Muchman served as a keynote speaker last week at the ceremony held Thursday in Skokie.
Born in Berlin in 1939, she fled with her parents and four relatives to Brussels to escape the Nazi regime. But in 1942, Germany occupied Belgium putting the family’s lives in danger.
While Muchman and her cousin were protected in the home of two Catholic women, her parents were killed. She survived the war and was ultimately adopted by an aunt and uncle in Chicago.
Muchman said she grew up under the erroneous belief that her Jewish parents had abandoned her. But she learned differently in 1990 when she ran across a box containing faded letters, documents and old photographs inside her uncle’s home.
The letters were written by her parents in the 1940s when at the time their safekeeping had become so so compromised.
“I was finally able to discover, in a deep, fundamental way, that my parents loved me more than life itself,” she said,
It’s not surprising that Mayor Daley decided to move the city’s annual commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day to Skokie.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center is the largest facility in the Midwest dedicated to preserving the memories of those lost in the Holocaust and to teaching current generations to fight hatred, indifference and genocide in today’s world. The museum takes a global perspective by exploring issues of genocide and human rights around the world and throughout history.
As part of the education process, many high school students from area public and Catholic schools attended the commemoration and six students participated in the candle-lighting ceremony as witnesses to the six million lives lost in the Holocaust.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center reaches approximately 100,000 schoolchildren throughout Illinois and across the Midwest every year.
Invited guests last week included members of the Chicago City Council; sister agency officials; Chicago appointed officials; the Chicago Consular Corps; museum members; Skokie officials, members of Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies; and representatives of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.