Award-winning student filmmaker Emily Harrold created this documentary short based on Laurel Leff’s book “Buried in the Times,” which insisted that The New York Times intentionally downplayed its coverage of the Holocaust during World War II.
According to the film, only 26 articles related to the Holocaust received front page placement between 1939 and 1945 – the majority of coverage on this subject was buried within the newspaper, and the film states the newspaper intentionally used anodyne language to scrub down the severity of the war crimes being committed by the Nazi forces. The reason for this extraordinary lapse, the film insists, was because the newspaper’s publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, was Jewish and he was afraid that an overt emphasis on Nazi crimes against Europe’s Jews would spur an anti-Semitic backlash in the United States.
The film interviews a few ex-Times reporters that tsk-tsk their former employer for being a bad citizen, but no one from the newspaper’s current editorial executive offices appears on screen to confirm the film’s depiction of Sulzberger as a self-loathing Jew. The film also fails to mention that the Times’ post-1941 coverage out of Europe was not generated by correspondents in occupied countries, but from reports smuggled out of occupied territories that were not easily confirmed.
In fairness to the newspaper, it would not have been responsible to run stories on page one that lacked eyewitness affirmation by its journalists or the Allied military forces – and it wasn’t until the liberation of Europe and the confiscation of Nazi photographic and motion picture evidence that the ghastly full depth of the Holocaust was revealed. To its credit, however, the film acknowledges that no other U.S. publication of that era went out of its way to put Holocaust news items on their front pages.
The film’s notion that the Times and its Jewish publisher were guilty of not doing enough to call attention to the Holocaust while World War II was raging is an abuse of hindsight and a sterling example of ridiculous revisionist history.