Imagine yourself as a 5-year-old child, living in a safe home with your loving family. Suddenly, you’re ripped away from your parents, uncertain you’ll ever lay eyes on them again — a terror we are witnessing once again today. For Beatrice Muchman, known by many as Trixie, this was a reality. Her family fled their home in Berlin during Kristallnacht (“The Night of Broken Glass.”) As part of the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” her parents were forced to part with their only child as her only chance for survival. They were then sentenced to Auschwitz.
On Sept. 9, Muchman addressed over 2,000 supporters at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s (USHMM) “What You Do Matters” Risa K. Lambert Chicago Luncheon.
“This very museum is the keeper of our memories, the narrator of our stories,” said Muchman, sharing her story as a Holocaust survivor and the urgency to preserve its legacy. “That is why surviving artifacts remain the witnesses long after we are no longer able to be the spokespeople.”
The annual luncheon raised over $4.8 million in support of the museum’s efforts to preserve the history and lessons of the Holocaust for generations to come.
The USHMM in Washington D.C. welcomes thousands of visitors each day, at no cost. “Its outreach in 15 foreign languages fights prejudice and ignorance all over the world,” Muchman said. “That is the shared goal that we need to support.”
The 2019 luncheon was hosted by the youngest group of co-chairs in event history: Carly Bernstein, Highland Park; Scott Bernstein, Highland Park; Danielle Rudas Goodman, Northbrook; Jordan Goodman, Highland Park; and Aaron Tucker, Highland Park.
Demonstrating the compassion and commitment of the next generation, each co-chair shared a deep connection with the museum and its mission.
“I understand the importance of preserving Holocaust history, not only for my family’s story, but for all survivors; and not only for our three sons, but for all the children that need to understand this history,” said Goodman, daughter of Holocaust survivor Tom Rudas.
The event honored former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a loyal friend and supporter of the USHMM, for his commitment to advancing the mission of Holocaust education and remembrance, and for his dedication to countering rising anti-Semitism.
Former President Bill Clinton shared a special video message leading up to the presentation of the Museum’s National Leadership Award to Emanuel.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, and keynote speaker Dr. Deborah Lipstadt were among the special guest speakers at this year’s luncheon.
Lipstadt is the author of “Antisemitism: Here and Now,” which explores how and why this ancient hatred is reemerging with a vengeance and how we can respond and stop the rhetoric. The author and historian is widely known for her successful defense in a lawsuit brought by a Holocaust denier.
Muchman’s story is one of countless survivor stories around the world that will live on; preserving the history of the Holocaust and inspiring future generations to rise against all acts of hatred. “Our stories are being digitized and preserved, made available to students, teachers and scholars on the museum’s website,” she said. “I go on it regularly and encourage you to do the same.”
By supporting Holocaust museums and memorials, we support future generations of “upstanders,” who condemn all acts of anti-Semitism, racism, genocide, and bigotry.
Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
The future lies in our hands.
For additional resources and information on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, visit the website.
Emily Stone earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work has been published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.