Front-page proof

An educational resource shows that the Holocaust, and the events leading up to it, were reported in real-time by newspapers.

Holocaust newspapers (photo credit: courtesy)
Holocaust newspapers
(photo credit: courtesy)
The front pages of 15 American newspapers printed between 1933 and 1946 have been packaged into an educational resource about the Holocaust, being distributed by a Mevaseret Zion-based firm.
Upstart Ideas, an educational-resource and consulting company specializing in hasbara (public diplomacy) and the Shoah, created The Holocaust: A Remembrance with assistance from RetroGraphics Publishing, an American company that reproduces archived newspapers and other memorabilia.
The newspaper pages included in the Holocaust Remembrance Day resource encompass events from the Nazis’ ascension to power in January 1933 to the Nuremberg trial verdicts in October 1946. They scream headlines such as “Nazis To Grab Jews’ Riches” (San Francisco Chronicle, April 28, 1938), “Hysterical Nazis Wreck Thousands of Jewish Shops, Burn Synagogues in Wild Orgy of Looting and Terror” (The Dallas Morning News, November 11, 1938), “Nazis Prevent Jewish Exodus” (Daily Record, November 18, 1938) and “Nazi Germany Threatens To Exterminate Jews” (The Houston Post, November 23, 1938).
The December 11, 1942, edition of The Jewish News of Detroit reported “Ghetto Jews Killed In Battle With Nazis” and “Two-Thirds of Jews in Poland Slain Since Nazi Occupation.”
Powerful photographs of the Kristallnacht aftermath and liberated Dachau leap out at viewers.
“A resource like this serves as a tool to educate and also to refute some of the misconceptions, lies and distortions about the Holocaust, mainly that no one knew what was happening,” says Michael Eglash, president and founding partner of Upstart Ideas. “There are so many revisionists out there, as well as people who just don’t know the details of the Holocaust. These newspapers chronicle not only the dark days of the slaughter, but also what led up to, and the atmosphere that helped create, Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau.”
This is the second year that the newspaper compilation is available for Holocaust Remembrance Day use. In Israel, The Holocaust: A Remembrance is sold in Steimatzky stores and the Yad Vashem gift shop. Museums in the US, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, sell the product as well.
Eglash said more than 3,000 copies of the newspaper compilation have been sold – mostly in Israel and the US, but also in the UK and the Netherlands.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), the umbrella federation for Jewish organizations in Boston, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), the umbrella association for Conservative synagogues in North America, use the newspaper compilation for Holocaust education and Remembrance Day activities.
“The newspapers show the slow but steady progression of anti-Jewish attitudes and actions culminating in the Holocaust,” said Matt Lebovic, CJP senior campus associate. “It is important for people to learn from primary sources about the Holocaust, so they are aware of ‘what the world knew’ and when. All this shatters the lie that the world did not know about the Holocaust, or that only Europeans had a sense of what was going on.”
Lebovic said the newspaper resource is used by Jewish organizations in Boston year-round, but especially for Holocaust Remembrance Day. For example, on the Northeastern University campus, an annual public commemoration is held in which Holocaust victims’ names are read and the newspaper pages are displayed on easels.
Several Boston synagogues have used the newspaper compilation in religious school Holocaust curricula for seventh graders.
The newspapers are also incorporated into educational programs about anti-Semitism on university campuses.
“Students and community members are usually quite surprised to learn the world knew all about the genocide in more or less live time, and failed to take steps to halt it,” said Lebovic, who added that the newspapers were extremely relevant today.
“The Jewish people continue to face threats of genocide from state and nonstate actors,” he said. “We have learned to take anti-Semites at their word when they threaten to annihilate our people.
To see American newspapers from every region report on the Nazis’ war against the Jews as early as 1933 is disturbing but essential reading for those who ignore, explain away or facilitate anti- Semitism today.”
Besides Boston synagogues and campus Hillel centers, the local Jewish Community Relations Council, the Consulate-General of Israel to New England, Jewish community centers and other organizations have made use of the newspapers, Lebovic said.
For Yom Ha’atzmaut, Upstart Ideas again teamed up with RetroGraphics Publishing to create newspaper resources with information about Israel. The company put together a 62- page newspaper with Times front pages that reported major events in Israeli history, from Theodor Herzl’s call to hold the First Zionist Congress in August 1897, to the White House’s latest push for Middle East peace talks in September 2010.
Upstart Ideas also sells and distributes copies of the entire May 15, 1948, issue of The New York Times, which covered Israel’s declaration of independence and the War of Independence that was already under way.
Copies of The Holocaust: A Remembrance can be ordered at