Monday, April 24, 2006

The Holocaust in the New York Times of 1942-43

In 1943, a three-column article on Page 1 of the Palestine Post described how the the Inter-Allied Information Committee described the genocide of the Jews of Europe then in progress, along with Nazi atrocities against all of its occupied areas. Here is an excerpt:

This committee was set up by a number of Allied nations, and the report was distributed by the United Press, meaning that most newspapers on the planet had access to this information - it was not from an uncorroborated eyewitness or an isolated reporter, but it came right from an official Allied war committee. This committee, which later became the United Nations Information Office, also issued other reports throughout the war on Nazi war crimes.

A search on "Inter-Allied Information Committee" in the New York Times archives shows that occasionally, the august Times would report on the Holocaust too. Indeed, this very article was mentioned in the New York Times months earlier, in August.

But on page 7.

Deliberate Nazi Murder Policy Is Bared by Allied Official Body; More Than Million Lives Taken in Campaign to Wipe Out Entire Peoples -- Jews and Poles Undergo Severest Treatment
New York Times.: Aug 27, 1943. pg. 7, 1 pgs

LONDON, Aug. 26 (U.P.) -- The Inter-Allied Information Committee, in an official incomplete accounting of Axis war crimes in occupied Europe, tonight accused Germany, Italy and their satellites of carrying out with increasing tempo a deliberate program of wholesale theft, murder, torture and savagery unparalleled in world history.
Here are some of the other New York Times' article titles and abstracts that refer to this committee - and the page numbers that they were printed on.
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 28, 1942. pg. 16,

From London the Inter-Allied Information Committee set up by the exiled Governments reports that the number of known victims of Nazi executions has now reached the almost incredible figure of 207,373. Even this figure is good only for the day it was issued. Every morning German firing squads revise it upward.

2,000,000 Jews Murdered
New York Times
New York, N.Y.: Apr 20, 1943. pg. 11, 1 pgs

Total Nazi Executions Are Put at 3,400,000; Poland, With 2,500,000 Victims, Tops List
New York Times New York, N.Y.: Feb 28, 1943. pg. 12, 1 pgs

LONDON, Feb. 27 (AP) -- Nearly 3,400,000 persons had been executed or had died in prison in nine Nazi-occupied countries by the end of 1942, the Inter-Allied Information Committee of the United Nations said in a statement today.

ALLIES DESCRIBE OUTRAGES ON JEWS; United Nations Office Here Releases Report on Fate of 5,000,000 in Europe
EXTERMINATION IS FEARED Situation in Each Country Held by Germans Is Analyzed in Summarized Form
New York Times New York, N.Y.: Dec 20, 1942. pg. 23, 1 pgs

What is happening to the 5,000,000 Jews of German-held Europe, all of whom face extermination, is described in a statement released yesterday by the United Nations Information Office.
This was covered very well in a book, "Beyond Belief'" by famed Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt (ironically reviewed favorably by the New York Times itself in 1985):
In December 1942, for example, when The Chicago Tribune covered a major report from the Inter-Allied Information Committee in which Nazi-occupied Poland was described as ''one vast center for murdering Jews,'' the paper put the story on page 18 next to a marriage announcement. The previous month The New York Times had run a story about a statement from a member of the Polish National Council that a million Polish Jews had already been killed. It appeared on page 16, next to a report on the hijacking of a truckload of coffee in New Jersey. Such eerie editorial decisions were the norm, not the exception, and there was relatively little improvement until the very end of the war.

On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, let us remember that the world did know what was going on as early as 1942, and chose to ignore it or bury it.