[Each One A Life]

Peoria Holocaust Memorial Rebirth

Origins: The Button Project

In 2001 in central Illinois plans were initiated to encourage a better understanding of the indelible lessons created by the horrors and magnitude of the number of lives lost during the Holocaust.

How could we visually teach our children and future generations about this dark chapter in human history? How does one show the staggering numbers of 6 million Jews exterminated and 5 million enemies of the state who lost their lives?
Undaunted by such an immense undertaking, a diverse group of people united to form 
The Peoria Holocaust Memorial Button Project: A Prevention, Education, and Awareness Project. 
The visual image selected: The simple button.

These would represent each life lost in the Holocaust. Thus was born The Button Project: “Joining Our Past to Our Future.”

 why buttons?


Each button is unique — like each person.

  • Buttons hold things together, an analogy to each individual who helped hold together their family, their community, and their society.
  • Buttons once opened, left the people vulnerable.
  • Buttons were a part of all the clothes left behind at the gates of the concentration camps, ghettos, and slave camps.
  • Buttons are enduring — they last long after garments have faded and unraveled to remind us of the lessons of the Holocaust.
  • Buttons are round and symbolize the cycle of life.
  • Buttons are symbolic of “Joining Our Past to Our Future.”


After more than 10 years at The Shoppes at Grand Prairie, the Peoria Holocaust Memorial was taken down for needed repairs and cleaning. During this work, an opportunity arose to move the Memorial to a new location at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. We are currently raising funds to refurbish & move the Memorial and to support ongoing educational programming at the Holocaust Memorial’s new location. 

Our greater Peoria community was again faced with the opportunity and responsibility to show that we will not stand by and forget the vital lessons of the past, as we readily accept the need and moral duty to enhance the lives of future generations. 

help the peoria holocaust memorial


Volunteers are needed to help sort and clean the buttons. If you or a group would like to volunteer, sign up here.
 More information on volunteering


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