Mally Rutkoff’s parents both survived the Holocaust.
So in 1993, when the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in Washington D.C., the Highland Park resident began volunteering in their Midwest chapter. Since then, she has visited the museum many times, and spoken about her parents’ experiences at various Chicago fundraising events.
On October 4, Mally (pictured above) and other supporters will gather at the museum’s 15th annual Risa K. Lambert Chicago Luncheon. Eli M. Rosenbaum, who has spent his career tracking down Nazi war crime suspects (23 of which he found in the Chicago area), will speak at the event. Chicago resident Frieda Weinberg, a 76-year-old Holocaust survivor, will also be honored at the luncheon, which is being held at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers.
So why are bigwigs from a D.C. museum coming all the way to America’s heartland? Because we like them here. Over 30,000 museum donors live in the Chicagoland area. So far, over 2,500 people have bought tickets, which cost a minimum of $250, to this year’s lunch. In fact, the lunch has been so well attended in the past that it has become the single largest fundraising event for the museum.
Mally points out that North Shore residents are blessed to have another memorial, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, located in Skokie, even closer to home. Mally, like many locals, supports both of the museums. “My father always said the world will pay attention to a museum in Washington,” she says. “When we support a museum in D.C. from the Midwest, we’re ensuring that their work will continue, and the lessons of the Holocaust won’t be forgotten.”
Mally’s father, who visited the museum before he passed away at the age of 90, was right. The world has indeed taken note of the museum. Since its opening, it has welcomed more than 30 million visitors, including more than 9 million school children and 90 heads of state.
Luncheon Vice Chairperson Cari Sacks champions the museum’s cause from her Highland Park home. “A national memorial belongs to and represents all Americans, just as its home, Washington, D.C., does,” Sacks says. “Education is the only real weapon we have to teach what can happen when human beings cease to act human.”
The luncheon will be held at noon on Monday, October 4, at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel and Towers. To purchase tickets, contact the Museum’s Midwest Regional Office Reservation Hotline at 847-604-1924 or by email at [email protected]
And check out this video from Unsolved History, in which Eli M. Rosenbaum explains how he finds suspected Nazis.