This course raises difficult questions about Americans’ responses to Nazism: What did Americans know about the persecution and murder of European Jewry as it occurred? Why didn’t rescue of Europe’s Jews become a priority for the US government or the American people? What more could have been done?
We will explore these questions by taking a broad look at how all of American society—including the US government, the media, popular culture and film, faith leaders, and refugee organizations—responded to the dangers posed by Nazi Germany.
As we focus on these difficult questions, the course also will consider the new documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust (directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein), airing on PBS from September 18–20, 2022. Daniel Greene, course instructor, is featured in the film and served as an advisor to the filmmakers.
Daniel Greene is President and Librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago and Adjunct Professor of History at Northwestern University. Prior to arriving at the Newberry, Greene curated Americans and the Holocaust, an exhibition that opened in 2018 at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Greene’s co-edited book, Americans and the Holocaust: A Reader, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2022.
There are no required materials for this class.
Cost and Registration
Three sessions, $150 ($135 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.
To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.