FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas’ Mullins Library will 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.
According to a press release from the university, Mullins is one of 50 libraries in the country selected to host the exhibit. The touring library exhibition — based on the special exhibition of the same name at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. — will travel to U.S. libraries through 2022.
“We are privileged to be selected from more than 250 applying entities to host this important and powerful exhibition,” said Jason Battles, dean of University Libraries. “We encourage community members to come explore it, and we’re excited to be partnering with our colleagues at the Pryor Center and Fayetteville Public Library in hosting associated events. I am certain that it will be an impactful experience for those that engage with the exhibition.”
“Americans and the Holocaust” will be on display in Mullins Library, along with a series of related special events, from November 10 to December 8. Based on extensive new research of that period, “Americans and the Holocaust” 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,” according to the university. Drawing on a 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 President 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,” the press release states. In addition to the traveling exhibition on loan, the University of Arkansas Libraries received a cash grant to support public programs.
The grant also covered one library staff member’s attendance at an orientation workshop at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. To learn more about the exhibition, visit ushmm.org/americans-ala.