Americans and the Holocaust exhibit travels to Juneau

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

    The exhibit opened on November 1st.

    Andi Hirsh, who was the Outreach and Senior services librarian with Juneau Public Libraries, and is now transferred to Deputy Municipal Clerk with CBJ, talked about the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit visiting Juneau.

    "Americans and the Holocaust is a traveling exhibit that was put together by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Americans and the American Library Association. It is based off a larger exhibit that is at the DC United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. And this exhibit is traveling to 50 different libraries throughout the United States. And we are so thrilled and happy to be one of those libraries. The last day to see the exhibit is December 20th. It's at the Mendenhall Valley Public Library."

    Hirsh said what the exhibit focuses on.

    "The Americans and the Holocaust exhibit really focuses on American responses to nazism, genocide, and war. And less focuses on what happened in Europe during the Holocaust. I think it really makes a compelling argument that the Holocaust is not just kind of like a Europe story. And what actions the United States and individuals within the United States decided to take or not take really impacted people's lives. In addition to hosting the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit, which includes a panel about Japanese and Japanese American incarceration in the United States, we put up a couple of the empty chair exhibit panels which highlight the Juneau families."

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

    Over the course of the exhibit, community events will also be hosted.

    One program is coming up this Thursday, November 17th. There will be a lecture and drop-in sessions available at the APK building on the State Library's floor. Hirsh gave the details.

    "Eric Schmalz is the Community Manager for the History Unfolded Project. History Unfolded is a project run by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that looks at what did Americans know? Like what was reported in the newspapers at the time that certain events happened? Alaska newspapers that are not included because they're only available on microfilm. So they haven't been digitized yet. Anybody can drop in anytime. 10:15 to 11:45 in the morning, or 1:30 to 4 pm in the afternoon, at noon, he's going to do a talk. I think one of the hopes is we're certainly not going to finish, right? It's a huge time range. And so I think one of the goals that we would like is the Alaska State Library is open all the time to Alaskans or anyone who's here to do research, so if somebody learns how and they get really interested and invested, perhaps they would come back on their own time. To see what was available in various newspapers that are really not available, except by going to the Alaska State Library."

    There will also be a lecture by Dr. David Noon, a history professor at UAS, about the history of Holocaust misinformation and denialism on Tuesday, December 6th at 6:00 p.m.

    On December 20th, the last day of the exhibit, the Mendenhall Valley will feature Juneau resident stories at 6:00 p.m.

    "Family Stories, Juneau and the Holocaust highlights four Juneau residents, Rebecca Braun, Eva Bornstein, Helena Fagan, and Sheryl Weinberg. Who are each going to share a personal family story and a connection to the Holocaust."

    Hirsh said they are also doing other events not open to the public, such as school field trips, and teacher workshops.

    Kids in grades 8-12 will come to the Valley Library and watch a documentary and look at the exhibit.

    Teachers from all over the state are coming to participate in the library's training workshop, which is Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th of November.

    Hirsh said they have two people flying in from DC and one person flying in from Bethel to help put on the teacher training workshop, and lunch will be provided.

    The workshop is free, and open to any K through 12 educators. Educators are to sign up in advance by clicking here.

    The exhibition was made possible by lead sponsors Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine. Additional major funding was provided by the Bildners, Joan and Allen, Elisa Spungen and Rob, Nancy and Jim, and Jane and Daniel Och.

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