SKOKIE – To help ensure that Illinoisans for generations to come remain aware of the lessons of the Holocaust, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $1 million grant to support construction of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. The museum is expected to host 250,000 school children each year. The Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 6 million Jews, remains the world’s worst example of intolerance, hatred, and violence in history.
“It’s been sixty years since the Holocaust. It’s important that our children learn about what happened and understand the struggle, hope, and courage of the Holocaust victims and survivors, because the more we remain aware of the human potential for genocide, the stronger we remain on guard against it. This museum will keep these memories alive to teach the world important lessons about hatred and survival,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The new museum is designed to further the goals of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, an organization which brought Holocaust survivors to Midwest schools and their Skokie facility for the last 25 years. The museum will allow the organization to reach a larger audience and introduce historical artifacts to their collection. Gov. Blagojevich joined the Foundation along with other Illinois dignitaries for the groundbreaking of their museum June 22, 2006.
“The Holocaust museum will open the eyes of all those who visit. The stories visitors have heard and the facts they have read will all come to life as the travesties of the Holocaust are laid before them. The Governor and I believe that teaching the Holocaust’s gruesome history to Illinois youth is crucial to honoring the victims’ memory and struggling against hate,” said State Representative Lou Lang (D-16).
The funds awarded today were included in the state’s Fiscal Year 2007 budget passed earlier this year by the Illinois General Assembly. The $25 million facility adjacent to the Edens Expressway is scheduled to open to the public and school groups in 2008.
“We are ever closer to bringing the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center to life, and applaud Governor Blagojevich for his leadership and vision in authorizing state funds for this project. For so many students across Illinois, the enormity of the Holocaust and genocide is beyond comprehension. The new Museum and Education Center will bring the universal lessons of this tragic period into contemporary focus, teaching respect for human dignity and advancing human understanding. This powerful institution will be a symbol of hope for the people of our great state,” said Richard S. Hirschhaut, Project and Executive Director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center / Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois.