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Persecution and Complacency in Nazi Germany and the Great Plains

Regional Campus Outreach Program

While eugenics gave legitimacy to existing racial policies in the early 20th century, racism was already entrenched in European and American society well before the emergence of this new “science.” The persecution of groups, such as Jews, colonized native populations, and people of Asian, African, and Latino descent, were accepted notions by the majority populations on both continents and were often an unnoticed part of everyday life and practice. Although different in many ways, the history of racism in Nazi Germany and the Plains region of the United States illuminates some universal phenomena that manifested in distinct historic persecution of individuals considered “others” in society.

In March 2018, the Mandel Center and the Sam and Friend Holocaust and Genocide Academy at the University of Nebraska-Omaha co-hosted an educational forum that brought together scholars, students, and community members to engage in meaningful dialogue on how, when, and why governments and ordinary people supported, complied with, ignored, or resisted targeted oppression and racial violence in different historical contexts.

This successful and productive forum was the first step in convening regional scholars and partners to establish the necessary knowledge, expertise, and relationships to support a future regional campus outreach program in the Plains region. Tentatively scheduled to begin in the 2020-2021 academic year, this multi-year program will consist of a series of campus events at colleges and universities throughout Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

For more information on this regional campus outreach program, please email Kierra Crago-Schneider at