Americans and the Holocaust Exhibit


Americans and the Holocaust


The Lydia M. Olson Library is hosting  "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.

In partnership with the Peter White Public Library, the Olson Library was selected as one of 50 U.S. libraries to present the touring version of the Americans and the Holocaust special exhibition, which opened in April 2018 at the Museum in Washington, D.C., during the Museum’s 25th anniversary.

"Americans and the Holocaust" will be on display at the Olson Library until October 23, 2022. Admission is free. To learn more about the exhibition, visit

Educators are welcome to incorporate the exhibit and Classroom Ready Content and Lessons into their curriculum. In addition, the Olson Library holds thousands of items in our Holocaust Collection with the aim of providing educators, students, and the community with a record of information about the Holocaust and to promote both awareness and an understanding of the event and its significance for all humanity, now and for the future.

"Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries" is made possible by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.


Schedule of Events

Opening Reception and "Genocidalism" talk by Dr. Robbie Goodrich

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Opening Reception and exhibit introduction by Dean Leslie Warren 6PM EST, Lydia M. Olson Library Atrium

Genocialism talk, 7PM EST, Lydia M. Olson Library, Harden 224

This presentation is an attempt to develop a more complete understanding of how the term "genocide" or comparisons to historical genocides are (ab)used, usually to promote specific political agendas where the use/comparison is dubious at best. It will seek to show how the Holocaust in particular, but also genocide more commonly, is often not only denied (genocide denialism) as a sort of "sin of omission", but how it is also inappropriately appropriated as a sort of "sin of commission." Trivial examples may include such things as calling the police officer who write you a ticket a "Nazi"; more serious cases are the mobilization of organized forces on the basis of claims that they are fighting "Nazis" (as Russia is currently doing) in order to, in a worse-case scenario, actually perpetrate ethnic cleansing. In short, "genocidalism" is an empirical and rhetorical fallacy, one that obscures our ability to assess real genocidal threats past and present and trivializes the actual experience of genocide.

Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" Film Screening

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022, 6:30PM-8:30PM EST, Peter White Public Library, Community Room

Chaplin’s cinematic take-down of Adolf Hitler.  No admission charge. 

"Swastika Nation" talk by Arnie Bernstein

Thursday, October 13th, 2022, 7-8PM, 111B Harden Hall or Zoom (Meeting ID: 993 7828 4266; Passcode: 076340)

A discussion of "Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of The German-American Bund" with writer, teacher and speaker, Arnie Bernstein. 

Recording will be available after the talk.

"America and the Holocaust" Film Screening

Monday, October 17th, 2022, 7PM-8:30PM EST, Peter White Public Library

A 1994 film from PBS. "Weaving together interviews, official photos and documents, home movies, and archival film, this 90-minute film explores the complex social and political factors that shaped America's response to the Holocaust. The story of Kurt Klein, who struggled with State Department red tape to free his parents from Europe, represents America's reaction to European Jews clamoring for rescue."

Band of Brothers, Episode 9 Screening with presentation by Janeen Rastall

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022, 6:30PM-8:30PM EST, Peter White Public Library, Community Room

Band of Brothers miniseries, episode 9: Why We Fight depicts the liberation of a Nazi Concentration Camp. Following the screening, presenter Janeen Rastall will share her father's (Colonel David E. Pergrin) memories on the liberation of the concentration camp, Dachau, while the 291st was attached to the 99th Infantry Division. She will discuss this event’s lasting effect on his life.  No admission charge.  

History Unfolded: How Local Newspapers Covered Key Holocaust Events

Thursday, October 20th, 2022, 7PM EST, Lydia M. Olson Library, Harden 224.

Samantha Pynnonen, Catherine Oliver, and NMU students will present a local initiative of the History Unfolded project. History Unfolded is a citizen historian initiative to gather data on how local newspapers mentioning the Holocaust. Participants look in local newspapers for news and opinion about 46 different Holocaust-era events that took place in the United States and Europe, and submit articles they find to a national database, as well as information about newspapers that did not cover events. 

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