Political opinions seem to get louder and louder and I often feel like people toss around words like fascist and Nazi without truly understanding what either of those words really signifies.

Fascism (Merriam-Webster),

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

Nazi (Merriam-Webster),

 a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler

NPR reported in 2021 that members of neo-Nazi and white supremacy groups have actually been declining for the past three years (thankfully), but it's no secret that these groups of people exist in Montana, Idaho, and across the nation. Montana ranked at the top for most hate groups per one million people, according to this Bloomberg report.

Credit: Townsquare Media Billings
Credit: Townsquare Media Billings

Holocaust Exhibit at Billings Public Library.

I'm not sure how to change the mindset of anti-Semitic nutjobs, but I feel like education is a good step. Before we loosely toss around words like "Nazi", perhaps you could learn a little bit about how and why they caused death and destruction to at least six million Jews and millions of others (including Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehova's Witnesses, and disabled).

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Photo by Lāsma Artmane on Unsplash
Photo by Lāsma Artmane on Unsplash

Learn about Jewish pioneers in Montana, Nov 21.

Remember the Holocaust: Exhibition, Discussions, Reading List at Billings Public Library kicked off on November 9th and runs through December 20th in the Popular Materials Area of the Library. A synopsis,

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office present “Americans and the Holocaust,” a special library traveling exhibition that examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

Author and interpretive historian Ellen Baumler will explore the contributions of Jewish pioneers, the difficulties they faced, and how they helped lay the foundation for Montana’s modern, resurging Jewish congregations at the Library on November 21st at 1 pm (via Zoom). You can learn more about the Holocaust exhibit HERE.


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