"Mr. Tuck had my son thinking all day about what he heard in school. He told me later that night about his one piece of bread in the morning and night. I am thankful for the hand out that was brought home, so I can read his story. This has been a priceless experience for my son, and I am so thankful that Mr. Tuck was able to visit. ~ A Perkiomen Valley HS parent

Museum History

The Jewish Identity Center's Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center, America's first Holocaust museum, is 45 years young. Yaakov Riz, the museum's founder, was a Holocaust survivor who lost 83 members of his family in Hitler's death camps. Riz vowed that if he survived he would dedicate his life to establishing a museum that would memorialize the millions of Jews and Non-Jews who perished at the hands of Nazi barbarism. Initially, the museum was housed in the basement of Riz's home. The museum's genesis, its growth and its struggle against intolerance are the realization of his dream, his courage and his commitment.

In the five-county area that we serve, the museum's educational and community outreach is ecumenical and comprises a population that ranges from elementary school school (grade 5) to senior citizens. Many of the students we work with come from disadvantaged homes. Some of our students are newcomers who have fled countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Serbia.

During the last 45 years, tens of thousands of students have visited the museum. We, in turn, have presented thousands of Holocaust programs in schools and to community groups and organizations. Our efforts are designed to emphasize the message that racial, ethnic, and religious hatred are the social poisons that weaken the American democracy.

Accomplishments

During the last 45 years, more than 100,000 students and adults have participated in museum programs. Many students and their teachers have visited the museum, and the museum has hosted many adult community groups as well. The staff takes its outreach programs into public, archdiocesan, and private schools. Home-schooled students and their parents have also visited the museum. Our outreach program has taken us to federal installations, senior citizen retirement communities, nursing homes, and universities in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A brief sampling of our constituencies include: Swenson Arts and Technology High School; Rutgers University; Mayfair Elementary School; Rush Middle School; North Penn High School; St. Maximillian Kolbe Elementary School; U.S. Defense Supply Center; Temple University; and St. Joseph's Manor (Holy Redeemer Hospital).

Students and teachers have listened to the life experiences of Holocaust survivors, liberators -- American GIs -- who liberated the concentration camps, and resistors. Because many of our speakers are into their 70's, 80's and 90's, we are currently videotaping their stories.

During the 2014/2015 school year, our Educational Programs reached more than 48,000 students and adults in 248 schools, organizations, and businesses.