"Remember the Past, Transform the Future" is the vision statement of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
This message to all visitors, old and young alike, has relevance and meaning today as it did so many years ago.
As volunteers and docents at our museum, we often ask, "Why are YOU here today?"
Our guests often reply, "So we can learn from the past."
Indeed these lessons are heralded throughout our museum through the voices and memories of those who lived through this evil time.
We refer our thoughts and actions in our letter specifically to John Billis, whose letter to the editor on June 13th said "enough about teaching about the Holocaust."
In 1863, George Santayana, a Spanish philosopher and author said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
In a perfect world free of racism, prejudice, anti-semitism, and Genocide, perhaps we could look at the horrors of the Holocaust as pure history. But our communities and nations continue to demonstrate ignorance of these important lessons.
These lessons are simplistic and difficult at the same time. Let each of us find the strength to make a difference. We each have the power to promote the lessons that tolerance and universal humanity will create a world where human dignity and human rights are inherent to all.
Through the education and lessons of "Remember the Past, Transform the Future," our visitors have a clear understanding of their responsibility to themselves, to each other, and to our world.
Rita and Sidney Mathias