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The Marshalltown Public 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 library director Sarah Rosenblum. “We encourage community members to come explore it, and we’re excited to be partnering with the Marshalltown Community School District, Marshalltown Community College, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and the UNI Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education. 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 the Marshalltown Public Library, along with a series of related special events, from May 11, 2020 to June 22, 2020.
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.
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.
In addition to the traveling exhibition on loan, the Marshalltown Public Library will receive a cash grant to support public programs. One library staff member will also have expenses paid to attend an orientation workshop at the Museum.
For more information about Americans and the Holocaust and related programming at the Marshalltown Public Library, visit www.marshalltownlibrary.org. To learn more about the exhibition, visit ushmm.org/americans-ala.
Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries is an educational initiative of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.
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.