A traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will be at the Central Library in Fresno from Nov. 5 to Dec. 30. “Americans and the Holocaust” examines this country’s slow response to Hitler’s progress in early launching of a propaganda machine and military force. Before the actual outbreak of World War II, most Americans didn’t want to think about it, including a reluctant President Roosevelt.
Holocaust education is now a part of the curriculum in all California schools. This history teaches us many lessons: the result of prejudice when it is not opposed, how to identify fascism in its earliest forms and the need for our powerful nation to play a leadership role in resolving international problems.
From 1933 to 1940, Jews in Germany and then Austria were desperately fleeing for their lives from Nazi tyranny. The restrictive immigration policies made it extremely difficult to come to the United States.
Fast forward to today’s issues: refugees from authoritarian governments where their lives are endangered are being stopped at our borders again. The irony is that America was built by refugees. Each wave of immigrants brought their imaginations and energies, enriching this country.
Of particular interest in the exhibition is the role played by organizations such as the Bergson Group. Before World War II, it was lobbying the American government and making the public aware of the danger presented by the rise of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party and its conquests. The exhibit demonstrates how the Group’s efforts gradually showed results.
The Central Library is open 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon–5 p.m. on Sunday.
A series of public events will accompany the exhibition:
- Opening Ceremony: Nov. 5, 2 p.m., Central Library (2420 Mariposa St.)
- Remembering the WWII Past through Popular Media: Nov. 8, 5 p.m., Fresno State Library (5200 Barton Ave.)
- Fresno during WWII: Nov. 14, 7 p.m., Temple Beth Israel (6622 N. Maroa Ave.)
- Survivor Stories: Dec. 3, 2 p.m., Central Library (2420 Mariposa St.)
- Author Talk with Dr. Bradley W. Hart, Ph.D. (author of Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States): Dec. 5, 7 p.m., Woodward Park Library (944 E. Perrin Ave.)
- Author Talk with Dr. Bradley W. Hart, Ph.D.: Dec. 6, 7 p.m., via Zoom
For more information, contact 559-600-7323 or visit fresnolibrary.org.