Illini Hillel to remember Holocaust with virtual event


The Daily Illini Photo File

The Illini Hillel is a center that welcomes students from all Jewish backgrounds. The center will be hosting a virtual ceremony in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance day on Thursday.

By Thomas DeMouy, Staff Writer

Illini Hillel will host an online program commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday afternoon.

The virtual ceremony will feature addresses from Chancellor Robert Jones, Mayor of Urbana Diane Wolfe Marlin, Mayor of Champaign Deborah Frank Feinen, other local community leaders and Holocaust survivors.

Erez Cohen, executive director of Hillel, highlighted the importance of the event within the University community as well as the broader Champaign-Urbana area.

“We created this event with the idea of giving our local community to share from their own perspective why it is important to remember and learn about the Holocaust,” Cohen said.

According to a press release, the virtual program will replace the originally-planned exhibit about art created in the Auschwitz concentration camp. It would’ve been its U.S. debut in Champaign but due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, the showing will be postponed to April.

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    Cohen also addressed the recent synagogue hostage crisis in Colleyville, Texas in mid-January.

    “This crisis shows that antisemitism is still alive in our country and around the world,” said Cohen. 

    The remembrance event will feature short videos by local community members which will discuss why it’s important to discuss the Holocaust.

    In addition to the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazi regime during World War II, this ceremony will also commemorate the lives of 5 million other civilians who were persecuted during the 5-year long genocide.

    “By bringing more information about the Holocaust to light, we are helping students remember family members and other Jewish communities that perished,” Cohen said.

    “We are helping connect the larger community to the concept of standing up against hate and being upstanders instead of bystanders.”

    The program will be hosted on Zoom at the Illini Hillel’s website.


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