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The Conversation

Holocaust exhibit at UH West Oʻahu focuses on America's response to refugees, war and genocide

"Americans and the Holocaust" traveling exhibition at UH West Oʻahu
University of Hawaiʻi News
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"Americans and the Holocaust" traveling exhibition at UH West Oʻahu

The traveling exhibit “Americans and the Holocaust” started at the James & Abigail Campbell Library at the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu this month.

Designed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, it interrogates what Americans knew about the Holocaust and whether the country could have done more to prevent its atrocities.

Professor Daphne Desser teaches autobiographical writing, and the Holocaust in film and literature at UH Mānoa.

Desser believes people are generally less informed about the Holocaust than they used to be.

"What’s happened I think, and I talk to my students about this a lot, but there are a couple things. One, a lot of people are now getting their information online, and they’re getting their interpretation of events from online sources — and those range in their accuracy," Desser said.

"The other thing that I think is an impact is the Hollywood-ization of the Holocaust. The real horrors of the death camps are almost never portrayed," she told Hawaiʻi Public Radio. "You cannot bring people into a film and actually show what the Shoah was like. There is also a little bit of a concern that as the survivors pass, that this history is not as well-known and as well-taught as we might have assumed it to be."

The exhibit will run until March 9. UH West Oʻahu is one of 50 U.S. libraries selected to host the exhibit.

You can find out more information on UH West Oʻahu’s website.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Feb. 16, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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