The Peoria Holocaust Memorial – a collection of 11 million buttons, 6 million for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and 5 million for other enemies of the Nazi state – is one of the most unique remembrances of and lessons on this tragic, horrific and cruelest extermination of human life.
Now the “Button Project” idea – conceived in 2001 and delivered in 2003 with the opening of the original Peoria Holocaust Memorial – is preparing for a momentous rebirth.
After changes at the original location of the Memorial, a conversation began about seeking a new site that would promote ever greater awareness. The search ignited a remarkable discussion about creating the ultimate learning and historic experience in one location.
The Peoria Riverfront Museum was ultimately chosen. An unused section of the Museum grounds proved to be the perfect size and setting for the relocation of the Memorial – as if it were bashert (destiny) – meant to be.
Many individuals and groups worked on the first memorial to make it a reality, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of visitors saw the unique display of stars and triangles lled with buttons of every size, color and shape, each representing a human life extinguished by the Nazi regime.
A new generation is joining the evolved mission to keep the message alive and in front of countless more visitors. The deepened commitment to edu- cating people about the horri c consequences of intolerance, bigotry, hatred and prejudice is even more relevant today in a world that struggles with these issues.
Let us remember: what hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.
– Elie Weisel