Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries

Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries. What did Americans know? What more could have been done?

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office invite public and academic libraries to apply to host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition that examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. 

The special library exhibition — based on the exhibition at the USHMM in Washington, D.C. — will travel to 50 U.S. public and academic libraries from 2020 to 2022.

Read the project guidelines and apply online by August 9, 2019.

The Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibition addresses important themes in American history, including Americans’ responses to refugees, war and genocide in the 1930s and ‘40s. 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 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 USHMM and ALA PPO hope to challenge people to not only ask “what would I have done?” but also, “what will I do?”

Questions? Contact ALA's Public Programs Office.

Americans and the Holocaust was made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor Jeannie & Jonathan Lavine. Additional major funding was provided by the Bildners — Joan & Allen z”l, Elisa Spungen & Rob, Nancy & Jim; and Jane and Daniel Och. The Museum's exhibitions are also supported by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund, established in 1990.