Chattanooga Public Library is proud to be one of 50 U.S. libraries selected to host Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The exhibition will be on display on the 3rd Floor of the Downtown Library from January 27, 2023, to February 27, 2023.
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.
To enhance the public’s experience, the Library is offering five educational programs for a variety of ages.
Thursday, January 26, 2023 | Opening Night: Special Preview for Sponsors and Partners
Author/Speaker Peter Hayes will deliver a talk, “Why wasn’t the Holocaust prevented or stopped?”
January 27 – February 27, 2023 | Exhibition open to the public
Educational initiatives including school field trips, teachers’ guides, and library events and activities for 8th – 12th grades.
Thursday, February 2, 2023 | Americans and the Holocaust: Scholars’ Panel
Featuring Daniel H. Magilow, Professor of German, UTK; Robert J. Norrell, Professor & Bernadotte Schmitt Chair of Excellence, UTK; John C. Swanson, Guerry Professor of History, UTC; and Alison Vick, Historian, Tennessee Holocaust Commission. Moderated by Linda Moss Mines, Chattanooga & Hamilton County Historian.
Monday, February 6, 2023 | Paper Clips Project
Presentation and Q & A by current Whitwell Middle School students about the project that created a monument for the Holocaust victims of Nazi Germany.
Thursday, February 9, 2023 | History Unfolded
Presented by the Library’s Local History and Genealogy Department, an interactive research sprint finding how local newspapers covered the Nazi threat and how Americans reacted.
Thursday, February, 16, 2023 | The Shoah Songbook with Likht Ensemble and Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra
Jaclyn Grossman and Pianist Nate Ben-Horin accompanied the Chattanooga Symphony event at UTC Hayes Concert Hall.
Friday, February, 17, 2023 | The Shoah Songbook with Likht Ensemble Encore Performance
Jaclyn Grossman and Pianist Nate Ben-Horin at the Downtown Library Auditorium.
Thursday, February 23, 2023 | Special Guests Michael Bornstein with Debbie Bornstein-Holinstat
Two special presentations by the author of Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz. Bornstein survived for seven months inside Auschwitz, where the average lifespan of a child was just two weeks. Six years after his liberation, he immigrated to the United States. 10 AM for students and 7 PM for general public, both at The Chattanooga Convention Center.
Monday February 27, 2023 | Last day of exhibition
About the Exhibition
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.
Americans and the Holocaust is co-presented locally by The Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga and the Tennessee Holocaust Commission. Additional support comes from ArtsBuild, EPB, Truist, McGriff Insurance, Lyndhurst Foundation, Patten & Patten, CHI Memorial Hospital, First Centenary United Methodist Church, Southeastern Trust Company, Helen Pregulman, The Herb Cohn Family and the Chattanooga Public Library Foundation.
Volunteer to be a Docent