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Governor appoints members to the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission

Governor Bruce Rauner today announced the appointment of members to the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

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 (JTS).

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

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 Donor Relations.

Kelley Szany

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 Rights.

Fritzie Fritzshall

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

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

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.

Daniel Cohen

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.  

Richard Hirschhaut

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 Drnovsek

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

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.  

Maria Korkatsch-Groszko

Maria Korkatsch-Groszko 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.

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