Laramie County 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. — is traveling to U.S. libraries through 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 Carey Hartmann. “Libraries play a critical role in society in ensuring we examine our past, not just through the eyes of our own experience or world view, but through the words and stories of those who lived in difficult and history-altering places and times. We encourage people to explore this world-class exhibition and attend events by University of Wyoming Professor Adam Blackler, HBO documentarian Steve Pressman, author Alan O’Hashi, and local Rabbi Moshe Raphael Halfon. 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 Laramie County Library along with a series of related special events, from July 18 to August 29.
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, Laramie County Library received a cash grant to support public programs. The grant also covered one library staff member’s attendance at an orientation workshop at the Museum.
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.