Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)

Holocaust Issues

JCRC’s Role

Since 1996, the JCRC has been the key organization in Chicago when it comes to handling issues pertaining to Holocaust-era assets. The JCRC is responsible for organizing and informing JUF’s affiliated agencies-- the primary source for Holocaust survivor services in the Metropolitan Chicago area. Next to California, New York and Florida, Illinois has one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations. JCRC also works on behalf of Holocaust survivors and the Jewish community by speaking out on the lessons and meaning of the Holocaust and other genocides.  JCRC has taken an active role organizing the Chicago Coalition to Save Darfur

  • The JCRC advocates for legislation that protects the rights of survivors with respect to Holocaust-related assets.
  • The JCRC has initiated language for a resolution on Holocaust-related assets passed by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)
  • The JCRC serves on the JCPA's task force regarding Holocaust-related assets.

Holocaust Commemoration

Every year, Holocaust memorial services take place in the Chicago area and in Springfield.

The Annual Holocaust Memorial Service, organized by Sheerith Hapleitah, takes place on the Sunday closest to Yom HaShoah at Congregation Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob in Skokie, IL.

Together with Jewish Federations of Illinois and the Illinois Governor’s Office, JCRC organizes the Annual Statewide Holocaust Memorial Observance at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, IL.

Read about the observances that took place in 2017.

If you have questions, please contact the Jewish Community Relations Council at JCRC1@juf.org or 312-357-4770.

Watch a video clip from the event in 2013.

Holocaust Services

  • Council for Jewish Elderly
  • Jewish Child and Family Services
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS Chicago)

Holocaust Victim Information

For millions of Jewish families, the Internet is a connection to the past. Using the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum website, users may search in Hebrew or English for a person killed in the Holocaust. With only a last name, or just the name of a town, searchers can find a list of the people who came from that family or community. Holocaust survivors and their relatives around the world can and should fill out the Pages of Testimony to help complete this historic project.

Holocaust Education

Worldwide Jews and Christians observe Yom Ha'Shoah, a day in remembrance for those who died in the Holocaust. The State of Illinois holds an official Yom Ha’Shoah observance, which the public is invited to attend. The ceremony, held each year in Springfield, is jointly sponsored by the State of Illinois and the Jewish federations of Illinois, and organized by the JCRC.

Illinois Holocaust Education Mandate

Initiated And Drafted By The Holocaust Memorial Foundation Of Illinois In Cooperation With State Representative Lee Preston And Senator Arthur Berman. Section 27-20.3 was added to "The School Code" and approved March 18, 1961. It reads as follows:

  • (Ch.122, new par.27-20.3) Sec. 27-20.3. Holocaust Study.
    • Every public elementary school and high school shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of the Nazi atrocities of 1933 to 1945. This period in world history is known as the Holocaust, during which 6,000,000 Jews and millions of non-Jews were exterminated. The studying of this material is a reaffirmation of the commitment of free peoples from all nations to never again permit the occurrence of another Holocaust.
     
  • The State Superintendent of Education may prepare and make available to all school boards instructional materials which may be used as guidelines for development of instruction under this Section: provided, however, that each school board shall itself determine the minimum amount of instruction time which shall qualify as a unit of instruction satisfying the requirements of the Section.
  • Sec. 2-3.110 took effect January 1, 1990. Unit of instruction reports.
    • The State Board of Education shall, for both the 1993-94 and 1994-95 school years, conduct a statistical, random sample of school districts in every educational service region that will enable it to determine the manner in which the Holocaust, Black History, and History of Women unit of instruction studies required by Sections 27-20.3, 27-20.4, and 27-20.5 are being implemented in the common schools.
    • The State Board of Education shall file with the General Assembly a report of its findings for each school year with respect to which the statistical, random sample is required to be conducted under this Section not later than October 15 of the calendar year in which that school year ends.
    • The report shall include, for each of the 3 units of instruction categories, the findings of the State Board of Education with respect to the average amount of instruction time qualifying as a unit of instruction and the curricula and grades in which that instruction is being offered. 
     

Other Holocaust Resources

  • The Holocaust Educational Foundation is a is a private, non-profit organization established in 1980 by survivors, their children, and their friends in order to preserve and promote awareness of the reality of the Holocaust. The Foundation helped found the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.  The Center teaches about the Holocaust and the dangers of unchallenged hate to approximately 30,000 students each year. 
  • Yad Vashem in Jerusalem serves as a memorial to those murdered in the Holocaust and is the world’s largest repository for Holocaust information.  Yad Vashem is home to the International School of Holocaust Studies and the Institute for Holocaust Research. 
  • Voices of the Holocaust is a documentary project of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).  In 1998 IIT uncovered interviews by Dr. David Broder, a psychology professor at the university who was the first researcher to travel to Europe after World War II to record Holocaust survivors’ testimonies. 
  • Confronting the Holocaust Fifty Years Later: Reflections on a visit to Lithuania and Poland by Michael C. Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.