Governor Bruce Rauner today
announced the appointment of members to the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide
Commission. The commission provides guidance on Holocaust and genocide
education and commemoration across the state. The governor will continue to
make appointments to this commission in the coming days.
Michael Bauer (Co-Chair)
Michael Bauer is an experienced
lawyer and political activist who has spent his life advocating for the Jewish,
gay and women’s communities. He served as the co-chair of fundraisers for the
New Israel Fund and the American Jewish Committee. He also served as chair of
the first gay and lesbian mission to Israel, as well as the first and only gay
and lesbian mission to the United States Holocaust Museum.
As the son of two Holocaust
survivors, Bauer has a deep understanding of the need for genocide education
and commemoration. Bauer has been honored by the American Civil Liberties Union
with its John R. Hammell Award, by CitiPAC with its Scoop Jackson Pro-Israel
Advocacy Award in 2003, and by the Anti-Defamation League with its Abraham
Lincoln Marovitz Civil Rights Award.
Keith Shapiro (Co-Chair)
Keith J. Shapiro currently
serves on the Jewish United Fund board and as Chairman of the Lawyer’s
Division. He is a Vice Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of Greater
Chicago and a member of its Development Committee, Executive Committee and
Regional Board, in addition to serving as an ADL National Commissioner. Shapiro
is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Theological Seminary
Shapiro serves on advisory
boards for DePaul University College of Law's Center for Jewish Law &
Judaic Studies, List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the St.
John’s University School of Law Bankruptcy L.L.M. Program. He previously served
on the Board of Directors of Chicagoland Jewish High School and was the
Founding Chair of the Law and Justice Committee of the United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum. He is a past recipient of the Simon H. Rifkind Award from the
JTS and has served as a co-chair of the JTS’ annual dinners in Chicago.
Goldie Langer was born to two
Holocaust survivors in Feldafing DP Camp in Germany. Her mother was the only
survivor of her family, and her father’s first wife and four of his six
children were killed in concentration camps. Langer was a teacher for a number
of years before joining the AJC, a global Jewish advocacy organization. Its
mission is to advance human rights and democratic values for all people. Langer
worked at AJC for nearly 20 years as the Assistant Director of Development and
Kelley Szany currently serves as
the Director of Education at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
She is a leading Holocaust and contemporary genocide educator, speaking to
audiences on the Holocaust; the genocides of Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda
and Darfur; and the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central
America and South America. She also speaks and educates on the power of social
change and youth activism. Szany was recently awarded with the 2014 Carl
Wilkens Fellowship, a year-long program where she will work alongside national
leaders to create and strengthen a permanent anti-genocide constituency through
both advocacy work and influence of U.S. policy. She serves on the Board
of Directors for the Unsilence Project and Educators Institute for Human
Fritzie Fritzshall currently
serves on the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and is
the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center President.
She is also a Holocaust survivor, and her husband served the United States on
the Pacific front in WWII. Fritzshall has dedicated her life to teaching
lessons of the Holocaust.
Alison Pure-Slovin currently
serves on the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and is the Midwest
Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. She was also the first woman to
become President of the Standard Club. Pure-Slovin is formally the Midwest
Regional Director for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. She also worked
for the Simon Wisenthal Center, which is a global Jewish human rights
organization. Pure-Slovin began her career as a non-news producer at WMAQ in
Chicago and later formed her own video production company.
Susan Abrams is currently a
member of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and serves as the
Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Prior to joining the Museum, Abrams served as the COO for JCC Chicago. She has
also served as Director of Program Review at Northwestern University and as
Vice President of the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Danny Cohen currently serves on
the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and is an assistant professor at
Northwestern University where he specializes in the design of Holocaust and human
rights education. He teaches undergraduate courses on education and program
design, including "The Holocaust and Education," "Holocaust
Memory, Memorials, and Museums," and "Program Design and
Implementation." Cohen’s research focuses on best practices for
teaching about the Holocaust and genocide. He is also a fiction writer whose
debut novel Train
is set in 1943 Berlin. The book is accompanied by new educational programming
that supports educators to integrate Roma, disabled, homosexual, and other victim
narratives within and alongside the Jewish Holocaust narrative. Cohen is also
the founder of Unsilence Project, a Chicago-based non-profit that creates and
delivers compelling learning experiences that address hidden, marginalized, and
taboo narratives of the Holocaust, atrocity, and human rights.
Rick Hirschhaut is currently a
member of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and has been a human
rights advocate for more than three decades. He currently serves as
Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives for the American Jewish
Joint Distribution Committee, a leading global humanitarian organization.
Hirschhaut was the founding Executive Director of the Illinois Holocaust
Museum and Education Center. He has also served as a consultant to Aegis Trust,
which is dedicated to the prevention of crimes against humanity. As
Director of International Outreach for Kwibuka20, he focused on building
support for the 20th Commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi in
Rwanda. Spending more than two decades with the Anti-Defamation League,
including ten years as its Midwest Director, Rick built bridges between
Jewish and African-American communities and worked closely with law
enforcement on issues of anti-Semitism and extremism.
Sanja Seferovic Drnovsek
currently serves on the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and is the
Director of the Bosnian-American Genocide Institute and Education Center
(BAGI). That organization is the American branch of the Institute for Research
of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law at the University of Sarajevo.
Drnovsek is dedicated to raising awareness about the Holocaust and other
genocides because of its underrepresentation or misrepresentation in media,
education and among the public. She is an educator at Aspira Haugan Middle
School in Chicago and at Triton College.
Sean Tenner is currently a
member of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission and is the President
of KNI Communications. He has worked closely with Sudanese refugees in the
Chicagoland area since 2007. He helped establish the first office of the
Sudanese Community Association of Illinois and pass groundbreaking divestment
legislation to fight the genocide in Darfur. He is the Executive Director
of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, created by Paul Rusesabagina – the
hero of the Rwandan genocide who was portrayed in the acclaimed film “Hotel
Rwanda.” Along with escaped former slaves from the West African nation of
Mauritania, he helped create the Abolition Institute, dedicated to helping
hundreds of thousands still trapped in descent based slavery.
currently serves as a member of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission
and is Professor Emerita of Northeastern Illinois University (1975-2013). She
also serves on the Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation - USA, Inc.,
is a member of multiple Executive Boards in the Ukrainian community of
Chicago and suburbs, and serves on the National Education Council of
Ukrainian Schools in U.S.A.