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Traveling exhibition ‘Americans and the Holocaust’ opens March 22 with full program

Albertsons Library at Boise State is among 50 public and academic libraries in the country that will host “Americans and the Holocaust.” The traveling exhibition from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association Public Programs Office will be open to the public on the first floor of the library from March 22 to April 26.

The exhibition examines Americans’ responses to refugees, war and genocide in the 1930s and ’40s. It challenges common assumptions that Americans knew little and did nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Jews during the war. “Americans and the Holocaust” tells the stories of Americans who did take action — in some cases at great personal risk.

Organizers said they want the exhibition to “challenge people to not only ask ‘what would I have done?’ but also, ‘what will I do?’”

“I’m proud that Albertsons Library was selected to host the exhibit. This is a recognition of Boise State’s ability to facilitate important conversations on the exhibit’s themes with our students, campus and community,” said Gwyn Hervochon, a professor, librarian and archivist at Albertsons Library. “Dr. Tromp noted in her state of the university speech that the role of higher education is to work on ‘hard questions’ and that’s what the creators of this exhibit have challenged us with as well.”

Exhibition programs

Monday, March 27 – Exhibition opening

Open house with light refreshments at 5 p.m. Welcome remarks from Boise State President Marlene Tromp, and the library’s Dean Tod Colegrove at 6 p.m. A presentation and community conversation with Rabbi Daniel Fink, Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel will follow.
Location: Albertsons Library, first floor

Thursday, March 30 – Germany Calling: What Americans Heard Over the Airwaves

David Walker (Department of History) will discuss the content of German radio broadcasts to the United States during the Second World War, focusing on the intent of the broadcasts, any information concerning the Holocaust that those broadcasts conveyed and the broadcasters themselves.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor

Monday, April 3 – Film screening and panel discussion – “Casablanca”

Come watch and discuss one of the most famous films of the 20th century, winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1943, which also gives a media portrayal of Americans’ knowledge of the Holocaust. Join three Boise State faculty members, Ryan Cannon and Rulon Wood (film and television arts) and Beret Norman (German, world languages), for the post-screening discussion. This program was made possible with support from the Department of World Languages at Boise State University.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor

Monday, April 10 – How did young Americans respond to the Holocaust?

While growing up in a time of racial segregation and the Great Depression, some young Americans looked beyond the struggles of their own nation to respond to the Nazi threat in Europe. Amid a tumultuous nationwide isolationist student movement in the 1930s, college students debated aiding Jewish refugee students in their escape to the United States. School children nationwide participated in a week-long “crusade” for children abroad. American exchange students in Germany wrote increasingly frantic letters home about what they were seeing. Historian Rebecca Erbelding (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum) will share how American youth responded to the Holocaust as it was happening.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor

Thursday, April 13 – Higher Education Under Fascism: Between Individual Choice and Totalitarian Force

The Nazification of German society was marked by a tension between individual choice and totalitarian force. At German universities, Jewish students were exposed to violence, intimidation, and stringent quotas. Non-Jewish students, however, were confronted with a range of individual decisions about how to respond to rising authoritarianism. This talk by Adam Knowles (Department of Philosophy, University of Zurich) explores the way students in Germany responded along a spectrum between consent and resistance. Presented in partnership with the Department of History at Boise State University and the Judaic Studies Program at the College of Idaho.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor

Tuesday, April 18 – Holocaust Remembrance Walk

Join fellow community members for an event honoring Yom HaShoah (annual Holocaust Remembrance Day). The Walk begins at the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit at Albertsons Library, and departs from there at 5:30 p.m. Our first stop is the Keith and Catherine Stein Luminary in Boise State’s Center for the Visual Arts. Participants will have an opportunity to experience videos and interactive exhibits from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in the Luminary’s all-digital museum space. The Walk will depart from the Luminary at 6:45 p.m. for our final gathering point: the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. At 7 p.m., Rabbi Daniel Fink will lead us in a thoughtful reflection of the past, with collective hope for the future. Total walking distance from Albertsons Library to the Anne Frank Memorial is approximately one mile. In partnership with Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, and Boise State’s Stein Luminary.
5:30 p.m. – Depart Albertsons Library
6:45 p.m. – Depart the Stein Luminary
7 p.m, – Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial

Thursday, April 20 – Film screening and panel discussion – “Betrayed: Surviving an American Concentration Camp”

Come watch and discuss this documentary about Minidoka, the Japanese concentration camp established in the Idaho desert during WWII. The screening will be followed by a panel conversation with Minidoka survivors and staff from the Minidoka National Historic Site and Friends of Minidoka. Told through the voices of survivors of Minidoka, Betrayed explores the unconstitutional suspension of civil rights and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The film examines the long-lasting impact incarceration has had on the Japanese community, the rise of Japanese American activism in defense of the rights of others, and the relevance of this story today. This event is made possible with cooperation from North Shore Productions.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor

Monday, April 24 – Sustaining Jewish Culture through Music

Jewish life in pre-Holocaust Europe was rich with music, including klezmer and Yiddish song. Jewish immigrants brought this music to the United States before the war, and it flourished at celebrations and in the theater in both Europe and the United States, where it continues in both its evolution and preservation of tradition. Join local klezmer band the Moody Jews as they trace the roots and development of this music, exploring an important link to a culture that was diminished, but not destroyed, by the Holocaust.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor

Wednesday, April 26 – From History to Today: Shared Legacies, Shared Aspirations

**Advance registration required. More information soon.**

Join a community conversation on the last evening of the exhibition. The program will include a short presentation by U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho Joshua D. Hurwit on the United Against Hate platform, followed by an hour-long panel discussion with leaders representing local Jewish, Black, and Japanese American communities. Presented in partnership with the Pacific Northwest Anti-Defamation League, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho, and Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel.
6 p.m. Albertsons Library, first floor