University Libraries at Virginia Tech will host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that examines the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped American’s responses to Nazism, war, and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s, from March 24-May 4.

The touring exhibition — based on the special exhibition of the same name at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. — is on Newman Library’s fourth floor next to the Prototyping Studio. Throughout April, the University Libraries will sponsor programming exploring American themes as they relate to the Holocaust.

Anthony Wright de Hernandez has taken the lead to bring this exhibition to campus. As the University Libraries’ community collections archivist, he strives to make connections and promote understanding among diverse campus groups.

“We were scheduled to host this exhibit in the spring of 2020 and had just put it up in the library when everything shut down for the pandemic,” said Wright de Hernandez. “Ultimately, the entire exhibit tour was delayed, but the American Library Association and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum wanted to be sure that all the libraries chosen as host sites had a chance to host the exhibit while they were fully open. So we are welcoming the exhibit back and inviting people to come and learn.”

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.

The exhibit asks questions, it presents facts and stories, and it leaves conclusions to the viewers. 

“This exhibit was designed to bring the unique and authoritative content curated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to parts of the country that have limited access to primary sources related to the Holocaust,” said Wright de Hernandez. “We're actually the closest host site to the museum itself, being only five- or six-hour drive from Washington, D.C., yet that drive is still a significant barrier toward accessing the museum and its educational opportunities. Having the exhibit here makes those educational opportunities available locally for people who might not be able to make that trip.”

Events scheduled in conjunction with the exhibit include:

Monday, April 4, 1-2:30 p.m.
Newman Library, Multipurpose Room and Zoom
Queer Conspiracies?: Lesbian and Gay Men in Nazi Germany
In association with the Americans and the Holocaust: Traveling Exhibition and Virginia Tech Pride Week 2022, guest speaker Samuel Clowes Huneke will discuss lesbian and gay experience in Nazi Germany.

Tuesday, April 5, 6-8 p.m.
Lyric Theatre (135 College Ave.)
Film Screening: "Night Will Fall"
The Lyric Theatre will host a special free showing of the movie "Night Will Fall" with a post-screening discussion led by Virginia Tech Senior Instructor in the School of Performing Arts Karl Precoda.

Tuesday, April 12, 6-8 p.m.
Blacksburg Library (200 Miller St. SW)
Film Screening: "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust"
University Libraries will host a special free showing of the movie "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust" at the Blacksburg Public Library with post-screening discussion led by Virginia Tech Public Services and Reference Archivist Marc Brodsky.

Thursday, April 21, 1-2:30 p.m.
Newman Library, Multipurpose Room and Zoom
American Immigration and Refugee Policy Throughout the Holocaust
Guest speaker Kathryn Perry Walters will discuss American immigration policy throughout the Holocaust, specifically focusing on refugee practices. The government’s role in the Jewish Refugee Crisis of the 1930s and 1940s is a contested historical subject. This talk will elaborate on existing debate by examining the proposal of the Wagner-Rogers bill and the creation of the War Refugee Board to analyze the methods in which the U.S. approached refugee assistance. It also will provide background on where today’s anti-foreigner attitudes evolved from and how refugee need had been downplayed, but also how it had been fought for, and demonstrate Americans’ role in international human rights protection.

Thursday, April 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Virginia Tech Pylons (601 Drillfield Drive)
Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - Reading of the Names
This program by Hillel at Virginia Tech commemorates Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Volunteers will read aloud the names of both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals who perished during the Holocaust.

Learn more about the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit and related programming at Virginia Tech.  

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation for library sponsored events, please email during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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 is made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor Jeannie & Jonathan Lavine. Additional major funding was provided by the Bildners — Joan & Allen z”I, 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.


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