The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is hosting a traveling Holocaust exhibit at the Edith Garland Dupré Library. The exhibit is titled “Americans and the Holocaust” and is sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.
According to the UL Lafayette website, the traveling exhibit displays the impact the Holocaust had on the United States, and what shaped Americans’ response to Nazism and World War II.
The exhibit will be on display at the Dupré Library from Nov. 9 to Dec. 8. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, the exhibit will specifically address American responsibilities in the Holocaust, and how citizens and important figures sought to create change and combat antisemitism, despite rescue not being a priority for the U.S. government.
Head of User Engagement and Instruction Librarian Tiffany Ellis described what events and material the exhibit covers.
“It talks about the Olympics and how that affected how Americans thought about the Holocaust and war, it talks about Pearl Harbor, looks at different newspaper articles and primary sources that show what Americans were being told by the media,” Ellis said.
Zack Stein, head of Special Collections at Dupré Library, also explained how the exhibit portrays contrasting perspectives from famous Americans on the Holocaust.
“It shows how certain celebrities react as well. There’s one panel that shows Charles Lindbergh who was famously antisemitic, but I believe in that same panel, they show Dr. Seuss drawings attacking Nazism. There’s even a panel that shows how Hollywood portrayed the events of World War II,” Stein said.
According to Ellis, along with the exhibit there will be several events, including a speech by a Holocaust survivor, a film screening of the three-part documentary “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” a teacher workshop to encourage ideas for Holocaust education and a book discussion on people leaving America and returning to Europe in order to fight in the war.
Richard Frankel, a professor of history at UL Lafayette, will be giving a speech at the exhibit. Frankel teaches classes on modern Germany, the Holocaust and German history. He gave an explanation of how his speech specifically highlights acts of antisemitism in the United States.
“I thought I would look at examples of antisemitic violence in both Germany and the United States, but with a little more emphasis on the United States because that’s less well known… it’s lots of examples of individual outbreaks of violence and small groups attacking Jews at different times,” Frankel said.
Frankel also highlighted how the exhibit offers a great opportunity for the Lafayette community to stay aware of the Holocaust and acts of ethnic violence.
“It is a great opportunity and awareness of the Holocaust here is growing… awareness works towards realizing the importance of tolerance and moving away from racism and violence and so forth,” Frankel said.
For more information on the “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibit, visit UL Lafayette’s website, as well as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum web page.