The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center exists to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust inspire action today. HHC educates about the Holocaust, remembers its victims and acts on its lessons. Through innovative programs and partnerships, HHC challenges injustice, inhumanity, and prejudice, and fosters understanding, inclusion, and engaged citizenship. HHC impacts more than 180,000 individuals each year.
The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center was formed by a passionate group of Holocaust survivors and their families, and opened its doors in 2000. The organization’s opening was the realization of a dream nurtured more than 35 years by several predecessor organizations.
In the years following the Holocaust, hundreds of survivors, primarily from Eastern Europe, began new lives in Cincinnati. They formed the Jewish New American Society, serving to help the survivors integrate into the local Jewish community and foster community with those who had been through similar experiences. Later, this organization was reorganized under the name Jewish Survivors of Nazism. The group’s primary purpose was to provide social opportunities and Jewish connection through events, holiday parties, picnics, an annual Liberation Ball, and a special spring Yizkor Service commemorating the Holocaust. In addition to these events, from its earliest organizational meetings, the group discussed the appropriate way to preserve the memories of those they had lost.
In 1994, the aging of the leaders of the Jewish Survivors from Nazism led them to approach the children of local survivors to take over and reenvision the organization. Thus, a new group was born called The Combined Generations of the Holocaust. It included children of survivors and others interested in a wider mission of developing and delivering educational, outreach, and social programs promoting Holocaust history, understanding, and preservation.
In 2000, after much consideration, the Holocaust and Humanity Center (HHC) opened on the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. The space included offices and a resource library for teachers. The Center expanded the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration to include a series of Holocaust Awareness programs across the Tri-state, including presentations by educators and authors, concerts, films, and exhibits.
During 2001 and 2002, HHC developed and funded a permanent exhibit geared toward young people called “Mapping Our Tears,” which opened to the public in 2003. The exhibit combined audio and video testimonies with artifacts and memorabilia of more than 60 local eyewitnesses. Since its creation, more than 20,000 students and community members have toured the exhibit.
After years of nurturing from HUC-JIR, HHC was now capable of standing on its own and re-launched as an independent organization. In 2007, HHC successfully made the transition to an independent not-for-profit organization.
In October 2009, HHC moved to Rockwern Academy in Kenwood. The location was mutually beneficial for both HHC and Rockwern, which enabled it to flourish for nearly a decade. In 2018, it was renamed the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, honoring lead supporters.
In 2019, HHC relocated to the prominent Cincinnati landmark, Union Terminal. This unique partnership is the first of its kind in the United States, putting Cincinnati on the map for bringing the lessons of the Holocaust into the civic conversation.