Illinois Holocaust Museum Trains Descendants of Survivors to Share Stories, to Make Sure We Never Forget

SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — Thursday was Holocaust Remembrance Day – a day promised to “never forget” the Nazi mass murder of millions.

As Holocaust survivors age, what will Holocaust education look like in 10 years? As CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported Thursday night, the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center has started a project to keep memories alive.

This is called the 3 Gs, and it means that the children and grandchildren of survivors will take on the responsibility of witnessing and sharing the Holocaust. It happens at the museum – with families trained to learn and tell the stories of survivors.

At the museum, Chicago resident Fritzie Fritzshall tells the story of her survival in Auschwitz, a forced labor camp.

But Fritzshall died in 2021 at the age of 91. She appears as an interactive hologram, where you can keep asking her questions.

At the Illinois Holocaust Museum, his story lives on.

“It is the intention of the survivors to educate – not about the atrocities, but about their stories – and to show what they have been through, and to hope that you will learn and be inspired to be a better representative in the world. within your community,” said a museum associate. Director of Development Allie Block.

Block toured Perlman around the museum, where each artifact is from a Holocaust survivor from the Midwest.

Meanwhile, a virtual reality experience takes visitors to concentration camps, guided by survivors who lived through them.

Perlman asked Kelly Szany, vice president of education and exhibits at the museum, what the next generation can do given that we won’t have Holocaust survivors to talk about first-hand forever.

“Ask the questions of family members who we know were not only involved in the Holocaust, but in any major historical event,” Szany said.

Szany says the museum is now training descendants of survivors to share stories – fulfilling the promise of “Never Forget” and also, “Never again”.

It’s a more pressing issue now, as the number of anti-Semitic incidents across the state has increased 15% in the past year.

Szany says it’s the kind of story we can never repeat.

“I think what education can enable us to do is to understand that the Holocaust is one of the ultimate examples where we see unchecked hatred and bigotry being unleashed,” she said. .

The latest examples of anti-Semitic acts were within 10 miles of the Illinois Holocaust Museum. In Highland Park and Glencoe, neighbors found anti-Semitic leaflets containing hate speech in several driveways.

The city of Highland Park condemned the acts and pledged to act, and said police and the FBI have been notified and are investigating.


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