Illinois Holocaust Museum Brings Focus to the Plight of Soviet Jews
Megan Goldish is an established Cook County, Illinois, judge who has had a highly decorated career over nearly two decades. Community focused, Judge Megan Goldish supports a variety of social programs, as well as institutions such as the Illinois Holocaust Museum.
In September 2022, the museum launched a new online experience focused on the Chicago-area survivors of an oft-forgotten chapter of the Holocaust that occurred in the then-Soviet Union. On June 22, 1941, Operation Barbarossa, one of the largest 20th century military invasions, pitted Germans against the Soviets in Ukraine. Following this battle, on September 29–30, the Germans massacred 33,000 Jewish people of all ages at Babi Yar, a ravine situated in a Nazi-occupied part of Kyiv. Babi Yar was the single largest mass gravesite in the Soviet Union and became the site of a Holocaust memorial center, which, as it happened, was bombed by the Russians early in the modern Ukraine war.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum’s virtual exhibition also spans the narrative of Jews in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, who often faced punishment and severe privations if they attempted to emigrate. Decades of concerted effort finally led to a relaxation of emigration restrictions in the late 1980s, with Chicago-area Holocaust survivors playing an essential role in the successful resettlement of “Refuseniks.”