Americans and the Holocaust


Exhibition & Program Series
April 1-May 3

About the Exhibit

Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library is one of 50 U.S. libraries, and the only library in North Dakota, selected to host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum that examines the motives, pressures, and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

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.

Americans and the Holocaust will be on display in the lower level of the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library during regular library hours. The exhibition is self-guided. Group visits are welcome with advance notice.  For assistance please contact Sarah Matthews at or 701-355-1485.

Program Descriptions


Dr. Seuss Goes to War
Monday, April 4, 7:00 PM - Meeting Room A 
Dr. Perry Hornbacher - Professor of History, Bismarck State College
Dr. Hornbacher will look at Dr. Seuss’ career from 1941 to 1943 when his cartoons dealt with the issues of World War II. During that time, Dr. Seuss put his name to more than 400 editorial cartoons published in PM, a New York magazine tabloid, almost all of which dealt with issues of foreign policy. Many of the distinctive characters from his children’s books were used to illustrate important messages in support of going to war when America was still battling a powerful isolationist viewpoint. When America did join the war after December 7, 1941, Dr. Seuss’ editorial cartoons spoke out on many of the issues that faced a nation at war.

Thursday, April 7, 6:00 PM - Meeting Room A 
Join us for a viewing of Casablanca directed by Michael Curtiz. Warner Brothers, 1942. A cynical American expatriate struggles to decide whether or not he should help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape French Morocco during World War II.

Book Discussion - Those Angry Days by Lynne Olson
Thursday, April 7, 1:00 PM - Missouri River Room
The first meeting of the History Book Club will discuss Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight over World War II, 1939-1941 by Lynne Olson (New York: Random House, 2013). The definitive account of the debate over American intervention in World War II—a bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation and ultimately determined the fate of the free world. At the center of this controversy stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt and aviator Charles Lindbergh. Contact the library if you need help obtaining a copy of the book. 

Fort Lincoln Internment Camp
Wednesday, April 20, 7:00 PM - Meeting Room B 
Dr. Perry Hornbacher - Professor of History, Bismarck State College
In 1942 Ft. Lincoln, just south of Bismarck, was converted into the largest male internee camp during World War II. Those interned included German seamen and enemy alien internees of Japanese descent rounded up after Pearl Harbor. Dr. Hornbacher will discuss this history in our area. 

Thursday, April 21, 6:00 PM - Meeting Room A
Join us for a viewing of Race directed by Stephen Hopkins. Forecast Pictures, 2016. Jesse Owens' quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy.

Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Program
Tuesday, April 26, 12:00 PM - Bismarck State College, Bavendick State Room

The Mission of Herman Stern
Thursday, April 28, 6:30 PM - Meeting Room A
Art Phillips Director/Producer Video Arts Studio & Carl Oberholtzer, History Scholar and Producer
The historical decision made by Herman Stern to aid over 125 Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during a very dark moment in world history provides a unique and compelling story of a North Dakota citizen who left his mark on the world. The program will include viewing the 32-minute film "The Mission of Herman Stern: The Rescue of Many...An Army of One". The film will be followed by a discussion by the film's Director and Producer, Art Phillips and Carl Oberholtzer, History Scholar and Producer.

A Conversation with Dina Butcher, Holocaust family story
Sunday, May 1, 2:00 PM - Meeting Room A
Dina Butcher in conversation with her daughter Marnie Piehl will discuss her family's past. From a letter Dina wrote: Much is being written about Auschwitz, the “showcase” of the Holocaust where 1.1 million, mostly Jews, were killed, as 75 years have passed since the Russians liberated it. My grandmother, Goldina Schoenthal, was 65 when she was sent there from hiding in Holland along with her three daughters, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in 1943. My father had begged her to sail with them when he, my mother, and three siblings aged 7, 4, and 2 escaped from Germany in November 1939.


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 exhibit was made possible by the generous support of lead sponsors 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.