Thursday, May 23, 2024

Go Before It’s Gone: WWII Exhibit at FAU Ends April 25

World War II has been an ongoing theme throughout Boca Raton’s storied institutions this season, including at Florida Atlantic University. 

The university’s exhibit, “Americans at War: WWII and the Holocaust” is reaching its final days with the exhibit ending its run on April 25. Here, visitors can view newspapers, photographs, and other memorabilia from the era.

The exhibit is located on the fifth floor of the S.E. Wimberly Library at FAU in a section of the library called the Weiner Spirit of America Collection. Albeit small, the display is an impressive collection of V mail letters, a soldier’s helmet and shaving kit, a newspaper from the Philadelphia Record announcing the end of the war in Europe, Red Cross first aid kits and arm bands, an example of a flour sack that American mothers would find ways to repurpose, and other curios highlighting life in the United States during the war.

Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution tour “Americans at War: WWII and the Holocaust” at FAU. (Photo by Christiana Lilly)

Perhaps the most moving part of the exhibit are the two tables highlighting the horrors of the Holocaust. One table has letters written by prisoners in the concentration camps, and upon closer examination, one can see the rules printed on each piece of paper for letter receivers to follow, including “shipments of money are permitted” and “packages may not be sent, because the prisoners in the camp can purchase everything.”

“It was a part of the propaganda campaign,” says Victoria Thur, associate dean and associate university librarian.

A hidden treasure in Boca Raton, the Weiner Spirit of America Collection consists of more than 13,000 items valued at more than $3.8 million. Housed in a temperature-controlled vault, the collection was donated to the university in 2006 by Marvin and Sybil Weiner from their Cherry Hill, N.J. estate. While the vault is not open to the public, for those conducting research, you can simply request an item to be pulled for your viewing. 

Fun fact: The oldest bound book in the collection is from 1515!

Check out “Americans at War: WWII and the Holocaust” before it’s gone on April 25. The exhibit is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the fifth floor of the S.E. Wimberly Library at FAU, 777 Glades Road in Boca Raton.

The next exhibit, opening in the fall, will focus on the American Revolution.

Christiana Lilly
Christiana Lilly
Christiana Lilly is the editor in chief of at Boca magazine, where she enjoys putting a spotlight on the Boca Raton and Palm Beach County community through both print and digital. Previously, she was the company's web editor. An award-winning journalist, she is the past president of the Society of Professional Journalists Florida chapter and a proud graduate of the University of Florida.

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