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PSC will host ‘Americans and the Holocaust’ exhibit

The library at Prairie State College will be hosting “Americans and the Holocaust,” a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, that will open Wednesday, March 22, and continue through April 27.

The exhibit 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 at the college, 202 S. Halsted St., is based on the special exhibition of the same name at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The college is also hosting a series of related special events.

“We are thrilled to be selected from a pool of more than 250 libraries and to be one of only two locations in Illinois to host this important and powerful exhibition,” said Valerie Moore, PSC Outreach and Engagement Librarian and assistant professor. “We are partnering with our local schools to host field trips with hopes that the community will also come out to explore and learn. The exhibition will challenge people to ask: ‘What would I have done?’ and ‘What will I do?’”


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 anti-Semitism — 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.

The exhibit 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, the Prairie State College 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 holocaust museum.

For more information about “Americans and the Holocaust” and related programming at the Prairie State College Library, visit To learn more about the exhibition, visit

“Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries” is an educational initiative of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.

Programming support was made possible, in part, by American Library Association, National Council of Jewish Women South Cook County and Prairie State College Foundation.

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