Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibition coming to Marshalltown Public Library

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Marshalltown — 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 2023.

“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 and others who are interested to come explore it. The exhibition will challenge people to not only ask ‘what would I have done?’ but also, ‘what will I do?’”

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Americans and the Holocaust will be on display at the Marshalltown Public Library, along with a series of related special events, from March 21 to May 6, 2022.

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 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.

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As a part of the exhibition, the Marshalltown Library will have Auschwitz survivor Michael Bornstein speak at the Marshalltown Performing Arts Center at Marshalltown High School on Thursday, March 31 at 10:00am. 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.

The Marshalltown Library will have guided tours in Spanish available from trained student docents. People can call or email [email protected] to ask about times available.

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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.

Additional programming support was made possible, in part, by The Thaler Foundation Holocaust Remembrance Fund of Cedar Rapids.

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