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The Illini Hillel Holocaust Education Endowment Fund

New research has demonstrated that Holocaust Education and Literacy in Illinois and in the United States are shockingly lacking. We created the Illinois Holocaust Education Fund increase the quality and quantity of Holocaust Education. 

Hillel at the University of Illinois (Illini Hillel) is the first Hillel in the world. Illini Hillel took a lead role in educating Jewish and non-Jewish students and staff at the University of Illinois about the atrocities of the Holocaust as early as the 1950’s. Over the years Hillel hosted survivors, researchers, performers and exhibits about Holocaust as a way of sharing with the University community the story of the Holocaust and its lessons.


In recent decades, as collective memory moved further away from WW2 and the Holocaust, less and less students are getting involved with Holocaust Education. As the generation of Holocaust survivors and rescuers got older and began to die, there were less opportunities to offer firsthand testimonies about the Holocaust. Though the state of Illinois implemented the Holocaust as a mandatory part of schools’ curriculum in the state, knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust has been on the decline. A survey done by the Claims Conference found that 59% of the respondents from Illinois could not name a single concentration or death camp. 44% of respondents did not what Auschwitz was.

Simultaneously, Antisemitism is on the rise across the country. From the same survey, 53% of respondents from Illinois witnessed Holocaust denial and 57% have seen Nazi symbols online or in their communities. The ADL’s 2021 report confirms that this trend continues to worsen, with close to 10,000 antisemitic incidents reported around the US in the past year. To respond to the growing ignorance of the Holocaust and intolerance against Jews, Hillel at the University of Illinois made the decision to increase the quality and quantity of Holocaust education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As part of its centennial campaign, Hillel seeks to develop an endowment fund that would fund Holocaust education for generations to come. Events and initiatives supported by the fund will give our students deeper understanding of their past and tools to educate others about Jewish history. The existence of such a fund for Hillel would cement the memory of the Holocaust in the first Hillel in the world, and set an example for other Jewish organizations to follow.


A $100,000 endowment gift would provide Hillel with approximately $5,000 of funding each year to hold these programs. Without this fund, our impact on campus would be severely limited.

Make a Pledge or a Donation Today:

To keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and combat antisemitism on campus and beyond, please: 

  • Send your generous donation to Hillel at the University of Illinois, 503 E. John Street, Champaign, IL and write “Illinois Hillel Holocaust Education Fund” in the memo.

  • You can also make a secure online donation here.

  • For multi-year pledges, stock donations, or putting the fund in your will, contact Erez Cohen, 217-819-3625

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