Laurel Leff, the author of this sad and sobering account of a major and deliberate effort by The New York Times to withhold news of Hitler’s destruction of European Jewry, has presented a compelling exposé. According to Leff, The Times was guilty not only of obfuscation, but of maintaining a Berlin bureau of correspondents which clearly offered an unapologetic defense of Nazism. Any news concerning Jews was deemed to be un-newsworthy, so much so, that the horrors in Europe actually were covered by The Times, such information was buried in obscure places in the newspaper.
How much a vigilant and concerted effort to communicate the events of the Nazi terror and plight of European Jewry to the American reading public might have saved some of the victims, is beyond our powers of imagination. What we do know with a degree of certainty is that The Times had no inclination to present the debacle of Jewish victimization.
The Ochs – Sulzbergers, owners of the paper and titans in the world of newspaper publishing, had their own overt and clearly enunciated purpose in declining appropriate coverage of the unfolding events: “It would be disastrous to ask Americans to fight a Jewish war.” The Ochs – Sulzbergers felt no duty to present accounts of Jewish suffering merely because they themselves were Jewish. Theodore Bernstein, a cable editor for The Times, considered his own Jewish origins a burden he had to bear. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of The Times from 1935 – 1961, maintained a strong disdain for Israel, and was vehemently anti-Zionist, and a thorough assimilationist. After Israel, became a state, Sulzberger wrote, ‘I feel no closer to the state of Israel than I do to Britain or China.” At one point, Winston Churchill addressed him stating, “I know you are not a Zionist, but I am.”
After Arthur Sulzberger’s death, among other tributes, his wife established a scholarship in his name at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. How horrified he must have been by that tribute even after his death.