Americans and the Holocaust exhibit travels to Juneau

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Mendenhall Valley Library is showing the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit through December 20.

The exhibition opened on November 1st.

Andi Hirsh, Librarian for Outreach and Senior Services at Juneau Public Libraries and now Assistant Community Clerk at CBJ, spoke about Americans and the Holocaust exhibit that Juneau visited.

“Americans and the Holocaust is a traveling exhibition put together by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Americans and the American Library Association. It is based on a larger exhibit housed in the DC United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. And this exhibition travels to 50 different libraries in the United States. And we are so excited and happy to be one of those libraries. The last day to see the exhibition is December 20th. It is in the Mendenhall Valley Public Library.”

Hirsh said what the exhibition focuses on.

“The Americans and the Holocaust exhibition really focuses on American responses to Nazism, genocide, and war. And less on what happened in Europe during the Holocaust. And what actions the United States and individuals in the United States have chosen to take or not take has really impacted people’s lives. In addition to hosting the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit, which includes a panel on the imprisonment of Japanese and Japanese-American Americans in the United States, we put up a couple of empty-chair exhibit plaques highlighting the Juneau families.”

Hirsh said the Empty Chair Project has taken place in multiple locations in Juneau over the years.

Community events will also be held during the exhibition.

A program is coming this Thursday 17th November. A lecture and drop-in sessions will be offered in the APK building on the State Library floor. Hirsh announced the details.

“Eric Schmalz is the community manager for the History Unfolded Project. History Unfolded is a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum project that examines what Americans knew? For example, what was being reported in the newspapers at the time certain events happened ? Alaska newspapers that are not included because they are only available on microfilm, i.e. not yet digitized Anyone can come by anytime, in the morning from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. or in the afternoon from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m he’s giving a lecture. I guess one of the hopes is that we sure as hell won’t finish, right? It’s a huge amount of time. And so I think one of the destinations we’d like to have is Alaska. The State Library is always open to Alaskans or anyone who’s here to do research, so if someone’s learning how to do it and they’re really interested and invested, he may come back to his own time to see what is available in various papers really not available, except when one has eaten to the Alaska St Library.”

There will also be a lecture by Dr. David Noon, history professor at UAS, on the history of Holocaust misinformation and denial

On December 20, the last day of the exhibition, stories from Juneau residents will be presented in the Mendenhall Valley at 6:00 p.m

“Family Stories, Juneau and the Holocaust features four Juneau residents, Rebecca Braun, Eva Bornstein, Helena Fagan, and Sheryl Weinberg. They will all share a personal family history and connection to the Holocaust.”

Hirsh said they also do other events that aren’t open to the public, like school field trips and teacher workshops.

Children in grades 8-12 come to the Valley Library and watch a documentary and view the exhibit.

Teachers from across the state are coming to attend the library’s training workshop on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November.

Hirsh said two people from DC and one person from Bethel are flying in to help conduct the teacher training workshop and lunch will be provided.

The workshop is free and open to all K to 12 educators. Teachers must pre-register by clicking here.

The exhibition was made possible by the main sponsors Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine. Other important funds were provided by the Bildners, Joan and Allen, Elisa Spungen and Rob, Nancy and Jim, and Jane and Daniel Och.

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