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Americans and the Holocaust

Milwaukee Public Library is one of 50 U.S. libraries selected 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. This exhibit is an educational initiative of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.

Americans and the Holocaust will be on display at Milwaukee Central Library from October 30, 2023 to January 5, 2024. Related events are scheduled throughout this time. Programming is co-sponsored by the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC).

PRESS RELEASE


Opening Reception of Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries
Centennial Hall - 733 N. Eighth St. 
Thursday, November 9 | 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Register Here

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?" 

  • 5 p.m. - Tour of the exhibit with Dr. Daniel Greene begins
  • 5:45 p.m. - Reception in Centennial Hall 
  • 6:30 p.m. - Keynote speaker - Dr. Daniel Greene with Kristallnacht Commemoration
Wisconsin and the Holocaust Panel
Milwaukee Central Library - Rotary Club of Milwaukee Community Room
Sunday, November 12 | 1:30-3:30 p.m. | Register Here

Discussion with HERC staff and the Wisconsin Historical Society's Kurt Griesemer, an Emmy Award-winning creator and producer of Wisconsin Biographies and co-author of the 2nd edition of Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story, from the Wisconsin Historical Society to explore Germans in Wisconsin prior to, and after, World War I as well as what Wisconsinites were doing as the Holocaust was unfolding.     

The US & the Holocaust: Old Debates & New Approaches
Virtual via Zoom
Tuesday, November 14 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Register Here

In the wake of the successful "Americans and the Holocaust" exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the recent PBS documentary "The U.S. and the Holocaust," a new consensus is emerging regarding the role of the US in Nazi Germany's efforts to exterminate European Jewry. In this talk, historian Barry Trachtenberg, author of The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance (Bloomsbury, 2018) and The Holocaust & the Exile of Yiddish: A History of the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (Rutgers, 2022), will discuss the historical controversies that have occurred around the questions of America's role in the Holocaust and point to new and promising avenues for inquiry.

Barry Trachtenberg is the Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History and Professor of History at Wake Forest University. He is the author of three books, The Holocaust & the Exile of Yiddish: A History of the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (Rutgers, 2022), The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance (Bloomsbury, 2018), and The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (Syracuse, 2008). He serves on the Board of Scholars of Facing History and Ourselves and the Academic Advisory Board of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Young Professionals Happy Hour
Milwaukee Central Library - Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room
Wednesday, November 29 | 5-6 p.m. | Register Here

Connect with other Milwaukee area young professionals with a complimentary drink, an exclusive look at Milwaukee Public Library's Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room, and a tour of the Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibit. The Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibit is part of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's ground-breaking exhibit which is now visiting local libraries across the country. The Milwaukee Public Library is one of 50 libraries that was chosen for this traveling exhibit.         

The U.S. and the Holocaust Film Screening
Centennial Hall - 733 N. Eighth St. 
Thursday, December 7 | 6:30-8 p.m. | Register Here

Attend the 45-minute screening of the groundbreaking PBS documentary, "The U.S. and the Holocaust," directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. HERC was the lead sponsor in Wisconsin when the documentary debuted in September 2022. It tells the story of how the American people grappled with one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century, and how this struggle tested the ideals of our democracy.     After the screening, we will be joined virtually by Sarah Botstein from Florentine Films for a Q+A session. The "U.S. and the Holocaust" documentary was Sarah's co-directorial debut. She has also produced some of the most popular and acclaimed documentaries on PBS. Her work with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick includes "Jazz" (2001), "The War" (2007), "Prohibition" (2011), "The Vietnam War" (2017), "College Behind Bars" (2019), and "Hemingway" (2020).  

Stories of Survival and Hope:
An Afternoon With Holocaust Survivor Eva Zaret
Milwaukee Central Library - Rotary Club of Milwaukee Community RoomSunday, December 10, 2023 | 1:30-3:30 p.m. | Register Here

Samantha Abramson, HERC's Executive Director, will facilitate a conversation with local Holocaust survivor Eva Zaret. Eva will share stories of her time during the Holocaust in the Budapest Ghetto, how she got caught in the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution, and what made her find hope again to love everybody and choose kindness. 

 


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.