Holocaust museum has lessons for today

It has been 100 years since the world staggered from the bloodbath of World War I and marched onward, barely pausing, into the carnage and atrocities of World War II. Sadly, today, much of the world seems to be rushing headlong into yesteryear. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself because memories are often short and bad habits are often long.

But today, I have hope that remembrance and truth will prevail. Twenty-five years ago, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened its doors and a riveting history lesson was made available to the world on a scale never before imagined.

To date, 99 heads of state have come, as have 3,500 officials from 132 foreign countries.

And more than 50,000 survivors, witnesses to this crime known as the Holocaust, speak through video and audio recordings to those who come to see and hear and learn.

When my wife Diane and I were introduced to the U.S. Museum, it was little more than a hole in the ground. I donated all royalties from my first historical novel, "Remember This Dream," and Diane, co-chaired the museum's first fundraising luncheon. Today that same luncheon attracts over 2,000 guests. Today there is in every nation, every metropolis, almost every home and hovel, a resource that enables every man and woman, those who lead and those who are led, to be a witness to this history.

That is what the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum does - and Chicagoans should be proud that they made it happen.

Hal Gershowitz

Oak Brook

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