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Americans and the Holocaust Exhibition

About the Events

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Libraries are sponsoring the following events most of which are open to the public. Some events require registration in advance.

"Americans and the Holocaust" Teacher Workshop

Date/Time: March 17th. 9:00am – 4:00pm

Location: Furman University. James B. Duke Library. 041

Audience: K-12 Greenville County School District Teachers. Registration Closed

Description: This workshop for K-12 teachers will be centered on the key themes of the traveling exhibition: Americans and the Holocaust which will be hosted by Furman University Libraries, March 22 – April 25, 2023.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the SC Council on the Holocaust and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

During the workshop, teachers will be engaged in exploring how America reacted to the events in Europe as the Holocaust progressed and will be provided with free resources from the United States Holocaust Museum including lessons that they can use in their classrooms.  Additionally, teachers may also be able to get an early glimpse of the exhibition Americans and the Holocaust before it is opened to the public.

Exhibition Opening Reception

Speakers: President Elizabeth Davis and Rabbi Samuel Rose

Date/Time: March 24th, 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Location: Furman University. James B. Duke Library. Atrium

Audience: Open to the public. RSVP recommended.

Description: An opening reception to officially commemorate the exhibit's opening. The event will begin with brief opening remarks from Furman President Elizabeth Davis and Rabbi Samuel Rose from Temple of Israel. The remainder of the time will allow visitors to interact with the exhibit and talk.

CLP - IBM and the Holocaust: Big Blue's Role in the Genocide

Speaker: Edwin Black

Moderator: Caroline Mills

Date/Time: March 28th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Audience: Open to the public. No registration required.

Location: Furman University. Younts Conference Center

Description: IBM and the Holocaust will be a presentation by best-selling author Edwin Black on his research into the role that IBM played in the persecution and genocide of Europe's Jews.  This presentation will be part of the traveling exhibition, "Americans and the Holocaust", that the Library will be hosting from March through April, 2023.  The "Americans and the Holocaust" exhibition is sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.  

CLP - Teaching The Holocaust: Stories of Survival

Speaker: Frank Baker and Esther Greenberg

Moderator: Melinda Menzer

Date/Time: March 29th, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Audience: Open to the public. No registration required.

Location: Furman University. Johns Hall. Room 101

Description: Frank Baker and Esther Greenberg will give a presentation that addresses the challenges and opportunities of teaching about the Holocaust by focusing on the stories of Holocaust survivors Felix and Bluma Goldberg. The Goldbergs were originally from small towns in Poland, and met after the war in a displaced persons camp in Germany. They eventually made their way to America and settled in Columbia, SC to start a new life together. This talk will draw from Frank Baker’s YA Graphic novel “We Survived the Holocaust”, from Esther Greenberg’s personal experiences, and from the website Stories of Survival, which features video testimonials, an interactive map, and primary sources materials.

Sales of the YA graphic novel "We Survived the Holocaust" will be available after the CLP, along with an author book signing.

CLP - Film Screening: The U.S. and the Holocaust, A Film By Ken Burns, Lynn Novack, and Sarah Botstein

Date/Time: March 31st, 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Panelists: Jason Hansen, Johannes Schmidt, Jessica Foster

Location: Furman University. Plyler Hall, Room 126 (Patrick Lecture Hall)

Description: This is a 45 minute screening version of the 6 1/2 hour documentary film of the same name. "The U.S. and the Holocaust" examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south. It also sheds light on what the U.S. government and American people knew and did as the catastrophe unfolded in Europe. The film was inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition and supported by its historical resources. The film was created by Ken Burns, Lynn Novack, and Sarah Botstein, and was written by Geoffrey Ward.

Following the 45 minute screening, three expert panelists will spend 45 minutes discussing the film and answering audience questions. Panelists include Dr. Jason Hansen, professor of History at Furman University; Dr. Johannes Schmidt, Professor of German at Clemson University; and Jessica Foster '20, Doctoral Student in Digital History at Clemson University.

Viewer Discretion: This film contains mature content and graphic violence.

CLP - Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe

Speaker: Rebecca Erbelding

Moderator: Jason Hansen

Date/Time: April 3rd, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Audience: Open to the public. No registration required.

Location: Furman University. Furman Hall. McEachern Lecture Hall (Room 214)

Description: For more than a decade, a harsh Congressional immigration policy kept most Jewish refugees out of America, even as Hitler and the Nazis closed in. In 1944, the United States finally acted. That year, Franklin D. Roosevelt created the War Refugee Board, and put a young Treasury lawyer named John Pehle in charge.

This talk discusses the work of War Refugee Board, describing how Pehle pulled together a team of D.C. pencil pushers, international relief workers, smugglers, diplomats, millionaires, and rabble-rousers to run operations across four continents and a dozen countries. Together, they tricked the Nazis, forged identity papers, maneuvered food and medicine into concentration camps, recruited spies, leaked news stories, laundered money, negotiated ransoms, and funneled millions of dollars into Europe. They bought weapons for the French Resistance and sliced red tape to allow Jewish refugees to escape to Palestine. In this remarkable work of historical reclamation, Holocaust historian Rebecca Erbelding pieces together years of research and newly uncovered archival materials to tell the dramatic story of America’s little-known efforts to save the Jews of Europe.

Americans and the Holocaust: Explorations of an Exhibit

Speakers: Christy Allen and Alyssa Nance

Date/Time: April 15th, 10:30am - 11:30am

Location: Furman University. James B. Duke Library. Room 043

Audience: Open to the public. Registration Required.

Description: Furman's James B. Duke Library is one of 50 U.S. locations selected to host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibit sponsored by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association. In this presentation, Furman librarians, Christy Allen and Alyssa Nance will provide additional context for understanding the exhibit. Topics will include: major themes and historical information, related events and resources, and its impact on Furman and the greater Greenville community. Attendees will then receive a guided tour of the exhibit housed in the Duke Library's atrium. For accommodations, please contact Christy Allen at

CLP - The Holocaust by Bullets: A Family's Story

Speaker: Melinda Menzer

Moderator: Libby Young

Date/Time: April 17th, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Location: Furman University. Furman Hall. McEachern Lecture Hall (Room 214)

Audience: Open to the public. No registration required

Description: Before World War II, Lithuania was a great center of Jewish life and learning, and yet Americans today know very little about the destruction of the Jewish community in Lithuania or what Patrick Desbois has called “the Holocaust by Bullets.” Dr. Melinda Menzer of Furman University, will be recounting her family's story. In 1941, the German army invaded Jurburg, Lithuania the town where Dr. Menzer's grandfather and his family lived. Over the course of four months, the 2,000 Jewish Lithuanians of Jurburg, including her grandfather's family, were violently murdered by a Nazi mobile death squad and Lithuanian collaborators, and their community destroyed. Dr. Menzer will also discuss how the U.S immigration quota system of the early 20th century affected her family, making it possible for her grandfather to come to the United States while denying entry to his relatives and so many other Eastern European Jews.

CLP - Myths and Realities: Jews of the “Greatest Generation"

Speaker: Diane Vecchio

Moderator: Christy Allen

Date/Time: April 19th. 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Location: Furman University. Furman Hall. McEachern Lecture Hall (Room 214)

Audience: Open to the public. No registration required.

Description: During World War II rumors spread across the United States that Jews lacked patriotic fervor, that they evaded the draft and that they shunned wartime service.  In a presentation based on a chapter in her upcoming book, Dr. Diane Vecchio disputes these anti-Semitic charges using her research on upstate South Carolina's Jewish men in uniform. 


The 45 minute presentation will be followed by 15 minutes of moderated Q/A.

CLP - Fighting on Two Fronts: African Americans Respond to the Holocaust

Speaker: Ted Rosengarten

Moderator: Laura Baker and Jeff Makala

Date/Time: April 20th, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Location: Furman University. Furman Hall. McEachern Lecture Hall (Room 214)

Audience: Open to the public. No registration required.

Description: Even before the passage of the Nuremberg laws in 1935 depriving Jews of citizenship and stripping them of basic civil rights, raised the alarm in Jewish circles, the Black press was quick to recognize the incipient threat.  Black organizations such as the NAACP and the National Urban League publicly condemned the persecution of Jews in Germany and warned against the spread of antisemitism closer to home.  Hitler was our “common concern” they argued, “because of the dramatic example he sets for other demagogues to follow in his sadistic footsteps.”

Once the United States went to war against Germany and Japan, Black Americans fought for the right to fight. They fought to defeat the greatest racial enemy on earth, and to conquer Jim Crow on the battlefield and the home front.  As the Germans retreated to defend Berlin, all black units including the 761st Tank battalion and the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion entered the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps, coming face to face with the Nazi extermination of Europe’s Jews and the remnants of other peoples deemed unworthy of life by the crazed Nazi theory.  There was as yet no name for this crime, yet Black GIs from the South had something to compare to it.  “I didn’t know anything about fascism,” one soldier admitted, “but I know about lynching.” To him and his Black comrades, the murders they discovered were “lynching by the hundreds, lynchings by the thousands.”  These soldiers who had felt the closeness of death and experienced the shared humanity and love of the liberated were changed for good.  Their country would never be the same.


The 45 minute presentation will be followed by 15 minutes of moderated Q/A.