Holocaust Museum shines light on Armenian Genocide

The Illinois Holocaust Museum will sponsor a major exhibition on the Armenian Genocide in 2015 to mark its 100th anniversary, museum next month will host a two-day conference, “The Ottoman Turkish Genocides of Anatolian Christians,” Executive Director of the Museum Rick Hirschhaut said, Skokie Review reports.

“Our young people – our future – must be a bridge to the future, and ensure that we realize the lessons that were set forth by us, by the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and all such terrible atrocities,” Rick Hirschhaut said.

Esteemed Armenian Genocide scholar Dr. Peter Balakian spoke Sunday to more than 250 people, mostly of Armenian descent, about the Armenian Genocide of 1913-1925 and how Lemkin came to address it. Sunday’s event was a meshing of anniversaries of sorts – the fourth anniversary of the museum’s opening in Skokie and the 98th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide.

“We must speak for those whose voices were silenced and for those who survived so we may remember and pledge never to forget,” Hirschhaut said. “Today, at this gathering, we are reminded of a history that must be recognized, and remembered, and calls to the importance of lighting the torch of truth for the world community.”

Shining a light on the Armenian Genocide keeps alive the mission of the museum, which has always been dedicated to educating not just about the genocide of World War II but about genocides all over the world.

But there is another reason the subject is such an ideal fit for the Illinois Holocaust Museum. When Hitler invaded Poland, launching World War II in 1939, he defended his actions and, in retrospect, the atrocities he would commit with these chilling words.

“I have placed my death-head formations in readiness — for the present only in the East — with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language,” he said. “Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

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