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'Americans and the Holocaust' exhibit coming to Henderson Library at Georgia Southern
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Photo courtesy of STEVE PRESSMAN/U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Children aboard the President Harding look at the Statue of Liberty as they pull into New York Harbor. They were brought to the United States by Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus.

Georgia Southern University’s Henderson Library is one of 50 U.S. libraries selected to host “Americans and the Holocaust,” a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

The touring library exhibition — based on the special exhibition of the same name at the museum in Washington, D.C. — will travel to U.S. libraries from 2020 to 2022.

“We are so proud to be selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants to host this important and powerful exhibition,” said Dr. Lisa Carmichael, dean of Libraries at Georgia Southern University. “We encourage community members to come explore it, and we’re excited to be partnering with local organizations, as well. The exhibition will challenge people to not only ask ‘What would I have done?’ but also, ‘What will I do?’”

“Americans and the Holocaust” will be on display at Henderson Library on Georgia Southern University’s Statesboro campus, along with a series of related special events on both campuses from February 1 to March 11.

Based on extensive new research of that period, the exhibit addresses important themes in American history, exploring the many factors — including the Great Depression, isolationism, xenophobia, racism and antisemitism — that influenced decisions made by the U.S. government, the news media, organizations and individuals as they responded to Nazism. This exhibition will challenge the commonly held assumptions that Americans knew little and did nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Jews as the Holocaust unfolded.

Drawing on a remarkable collection of primary sources from the 1930s and 40s, the exhibition focuses on the stories of individuals and groups of Americans who took action in response to Nazism. It will challenge visitors to consider the responsibilities and obstacles faced by individuals — from Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt to ordinary Americans — who made difficult choices, sought to effect change, and, in a few cases, took significant risks to help victims of Nazism even as rescue never became a government priority.

In addition to the traveling exhibition on loan, Henderson Library received a cash grant to support public programs. The grant also covered one library staff member’s attendance at an orientation workshop at the museum. The exhibit is free and open to the public. 

For more information about “Americans and the Holocaust” and related programming at Georgia Southern University, visit georgiasouthern.libguides.com/aath. 


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