Troy University’s 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, visiting the TROY library in 2021.
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. The exhibit is made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine. Additional major funding was provided by the Bildners — Joan and Allen of blessed memory, Elisa Spungen and Rob, Nancy and 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.
Alyssa Martin, instruction and reference librarian at the University’s Montgomery Campus library, wrote the successful grant application.
“We are very proud to be one of only 50 libraries selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants to host this important and powerful exhibit,” said Dr. Chris Shaffer, Dean of Library Services. “We encourage our students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the community to come explore this challenging and thought-provoking exhibit when it arrives in 2021.”
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, Troy University libraries 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.