U.S. Holocaust Museum presents ‘Witness to History’ in Scottsdale

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presents “Witnesses to History: Americans Abroad in Hitler’s Europe” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the The Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale.

Newspaper columnist Dorothy Thompson testifies at the Senate committee hearings in 1939, advocating for the repeal of the Neutrality Act. (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park)

Newspaper columnist Dorothy Thompson testifies at the Senate committee hearings in 1939, advocating for the repeal of the Neutrality Act. (US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park)

Rebecca Erbelding, archivist, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Andrew Nagorski, author of “Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power,” will host a discussion.

The event is presented in association with the Center for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University.

In order to understand why the Holocaust happened, it is vital to study the 1920s and 1930s, the years when the Holocaust could have been prevented. Guests will experience a compelling glimpse of that period from the perspective of the fascinating array of American intellectuals who lived and worked in Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power, including writers Dorothy Thompson, W.E.B Du Bois and Sinclair Lewis.

The testimony will be accompanied by rarely seen archival footage from the museum’s collection.

“This program is a fascinating look at the mindset of Americans in Europe following the end of World War I and throughout the Roaring Twenties,” said Steven Klappholz, the museum’s western regional director.

“With the onset of the Great Depression and global economic collapse of the 1930s, people’s attitudes were not focused on the political realities in Europe at that time.”

In the 22 years since it opened, the museum has educated and inspired more than 38 million visitors, including more than 10 million children and nearly 100 heads of state. A permanent reminder on the National Mall in Washington of what can occur when the world fails to take action, the museum inspires citizens and leaders alike to confront hate and indifference, end genocide, and promote human dignity.

The Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center is located at 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.

Visit www.ushmm.org.

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