Americans and the Holocaust Exhibit Press Release

Note: This page is the press release for the American's and Holocaust Exhibit that was originally scheduled to open at Gonzaga in 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19.  The exhibit has been rescheduled for August 23-October 7, 2022.  Please see our American's and the Holocaust Exhibit page for current information.

Gonzaga to Host ‘Americans and the Holocaust’ Traveling Exhibition

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University’s Foley Center Library is one of the first four U.S. libraries selected to host “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition from March 19 through April 27. This traveling exhibition from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and ’40s.

The touring library exhibition — based on the special exhibition of the same name at the Museum in Washington, D.C. — will be on display in the Cowles Reading Room on the 3rd floor of Foley Library. A series of related special events sponsored and presented by the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies and supported by the Spokane County Human Rights Task Force, will accompany the exhibit.

Exhibition Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 - 4 p.m.
Exhibition Website: View the full tour itinerary.

The exhibition, which will travel to 50 U.S. libraries through March 11, 2022, is made possible by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the American Library Association.
Paul Bracke, Ph.D., dean of the Foley Library, said Gonzaga is proud to be selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants to host this important and powerful exhibition.
“We encourage community members to come explore it. We are excited about the special community events we have planned,” Bracke said. “The exhibition will challenge people to not only ask ‘what would I have done?’ but also, ‘what will I do?’”

Special Events Spring 2020 — Free and Open to Public

  • March 17: Opening Event — “Hate: Reflections and Action” with panelists George Critchlow, J.D.; Michael DeLand, Ph.D.; and Shannon Dunn, Ph.D.; 6:30-8:30 p.m., John J. Hemmingson Center Auditorium.
  • March 31: “Inspiration for Today from Holocaust Survivors Carla Peperzak and Cora Der Koorkanian”;  6:30-8 p.m.,  John J. Hemmingson Center Ballroom. Live-streaming available. A Dutch Resistance operative and Holocaust freedom fighter during World War II, Peperzak will be honored as Washingtonian of the Year in a Feb. 20 ceremony at the governor’s mansion. Tickets (free) are required, and are available at the Hemmingson Center Welcome Desk and Foley Library Checkout Desk.
  • April 22: Closing Event — “Hate: Documenting it, Understanding it, and Countering It.” Live audience and webinar: Ken Stern, J.D.; Barbara Perry, Ph.D.; Brian Levin, J.D.; and Kristine F. Hoover, Ed.D.; 7-8:30 p.m., Cataldo Hall Globe Room.
Based on extensive new research of that period, “Americans and the Holocaust” addresses important themes in U.S. history — 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. The exhibition challenges commonly held assumptions that Americans knew little and did nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Jews as the Holocaust unfolded.
Drawing on a remarkable collection of primary sources from the 1930s and ’40s, the exhibition focuses on the stories of individuals and groups of Americans who took action in response to Nazism. It will challenge visitors to consider the responsibilities and obstacles faced by individuals — from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to ordinary Americans — who made difficult choices, sought to effect change, and, in a few cases, took significant risks to help victims of Nazism even as rescue never became an official government priority.
For more information about the exhibition and related programming at the Foley Library, visit Americans and the Holocaust and at To learn more about the exhibition, visit

“Americans and the Holocaust” was made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor 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.
MEDIA: Please contact Paul Bracke, dean of the Foley Library, at (509) 313-6535 or

About the Foley Center Library

The Foley Center Library at Gonzaga opened in 1992 and was named for Gonzaga undergraduate and law alumnus Ralph E. Foley, a Superior Court judge for 34 years, and his wife, Helen Higgins Foley. The main library on Gonzaga’s campus, the Foley Library is an integral partner in the transformative educational experiences emerging from Gonzaga’s Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic heritage and mission. The library offers an outstanding array of information resources, technologies, services and people to support the academic and creative achievements of students, faculty, staff and the community. For more information, visit

About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires leaders and citizens worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. The Museum’s far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. For more information, visit

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit