During the Holocaust the New York Times was very careful about length, placement, and content of articles dealing with the massacre of over 6 million Jews. The publisher of the times from 1935 to 1961 was Arthur Hays Sulzberger. Sulzberger himself was a Jew, but thought that it was only a religious orientation and not an issue of race or ethnicity.
The United States, at the time, was a highly anti-semitic nation and a Christian nation. People thought ridiculous things, for example, Jews used the blood of Christian children to make matzos. The Jewish people were beginning to make money and establish themselves in the U.S. and even owned The New York Times. In 1922, Jewish anti-semite Walter Lippmann said: ““The rich and vulgar and pretentious Jews of our big American cities … are the real fountain of anti-Semitism…. You cannot build up a decent civilization among people who, when they are at last, after centuries of denial, free to go to the land and cleanse their bodies, now huddle together in a steam-heated slum.”
In 1939, the French government wanted Jewish refugees from France to go to the United States; however, Secretary of State Cordell Hull would not accept them. “No distinctions shall be made between refugees on grounds of race, nationality or religion,” Hull said. The New York Times supported Hull’s decision.
Fritz Sulzberger, a relative of Arthur Sulzberger, made his way to the United States after which he wrote a letter to the times addressing the fact that the U.S. was treating refugees like enemies. He explained that the refugees were victims of Hitlerism and lost everything because of it. “Will they never find rest?” he said.
The letter never went on to be printed in the times. Arthur Sulzberger’s reasoning was that he should not print a letter from a man who is “not yet a citizen.”
Sulzberger knew that the times had a great deal of influence, but little power. He knew that he could not print content which would go against the ideologies of the majority of the country.
The New York Times did, in fact, report on the Holocaust. It was just not reported frequently enough and in the right location. Articles were often featured on pages 6 and up in the paper.
- The first article written in the New York Times about gas chambers was on June 6, 1942.
- The New York Times featured the first article about the Germans killing 1 million Jews on June 30, 1942. The article ran on page 7 and was fairly short. (see below)
- In September 1941, The Einsatzgruppen murdered over 30,000 Jews in Babi Yar, located in Kiev, Ukraine. In the following years, from the massacre until 1944, the germans killed an additional 70,000 Jews in Babi Yar.
- The times didn’t report on the issue until November 29, 1943.
- The headline for the Kiev story reads, “50,000 Kiev Jews Reported Killed.” The story ran on page 3 of the times on the far left side of the page. On that same page in the center ran a story titled, “Germans Treating Prisoners Better.” The article went on to say that the Germans are treating United Nations war prisoners better because of the fear of defeat.
- Our group found it interesting that the headline about the Jews being killed did not mention anything about the Einsatzgruppen or the Nazi party in general; however, the positive headline about the Germans specifically named them.
The American people were given information about the Holocaust but, as mentioned before, the news did not mention it enough and did not give the stories enough space. The average American flips through the paper and reads headlines, especially on the front page. The average American did not find out about the Final Solution until April of 1945, due to the press’ lack of reporting.
On Apr 15, 1945 Edward K. Murrow from CBS News reported in Buchenwald and spoke as if it were breaking news. “I pray you to believe what I have said about Buchenwald, murder had been done.”
On November 8, 1938 is known as The Night of Broken Glass. Nazis and other followers smashed windows and stole goods from thousands of Jewish shops. This attack was the first large-scale that was openly Anti-Semitic by the Nazis.
The New York times, released this story on November 9, 1988, titled as, ‘In 1938, the World Knew’. It was on page 34, on the bottom left side. Expressing that the world did know what was going on in 1938, but a lot of government officials didn’t take action. They were aware of the actions of the Nazi party, but failed to quickly control the crimes.
The New York Times reported on the front page on October 9, 1943, that the US had shot down 142 planes. The Times seems to be posting the US as heroic on the front page during the war to make them look good. The title of the article is; U.S. Planes Down 142 Nazis In Bremen-Vegesack Attack.