The Delray Beach Public Library will house “Americans and the Holocaust,” a traveling exhibition and educational initiative from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association, from October 6 to November 17. The exhibition examines the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, World War II, and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibition and subsequent programming are free and open to the public, but registration is required.
“Americans and the Holocaust” is based on the special exhibition of the same name which opened in April of 2018, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibition will travel to libraries across the country from 2021 to 2023.
“At a time when antisemitic incidents are on the rise, the ‘Americans and the Holocaust’ takes the lessons of the Holocaust from our museum’s walls in Washington, DC, to the South Florida community via the Delray Beach Public Library,” said Robert Tanen, the museum’s Southeast regional director. “We hope that people of all ages and backgrounds will come and learn what Americans knew during the Holocaust, how they responded, and think about what it teaches us about our own roles and responsibilities in society today.”
Based on extensive research of that period, the exhibition addresses important themes in American history, like attitudes during the Great Depression, isolationism, xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism that influenced decisions made by government, news media, organizations, and individuals as they responded to Nazism.
“We are honored to be one of only 50 libraries and one of only two Florida sites selected to host the ‘Americans and the Holocaust’ traveling exhibition,” said Karen Ronald, executive director of the Delray Beach Public Library. “We are excited that thousands of South Floridians will explore this exhibition on America’s role during the Holocaust and be challenged to think about both the missed opportunities to save lives and the impact of those few individuals who took action. We hope that it leads to fruitful conversations in our community and prompt questions like, ‘What would I have done?’”
Delray Beach resident and Konover South CEO David Coppa and his family were some of the original donors of the “Americans and the Holocaust” special exhibition in Washington, DC.
“Our grandfather Simon Konover not only survived the Holocaust, but also became one of the original supporters of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,” said Coppa. “My family and I continue to be significant supporters of the Museum and we are proud that our gift to the ‘Americans and the Holocaust’ exhibition and initiative has led to this incredible opportunity to take these critical lessons on tour nationwide, starting in my very own community of Delray Beach.”