Reporter Portraits

William Shirer

By Amanda McGowan “You can no longer report the war or conditions in Germany as they are,” William Shirer wrote in his diary, “Berlin Days.” It was October of 1940, and the CBS correspondent had decided it was time to get out of Berlin. Air raids were being launched on Britain and German troops were […]

Varian Fry: The Man Who Saved the Artists of Europe

By Jaques Gallant Varian Fry was the American version of Oskar Schindler, but in contrast to the German businessman who saved over 1,000 Jews, many of Fry’s rescuees were decidedly more A-list. Among the nearly 2,000 people, many of whom Jewish, that Fry helped save around 1940–41 in Vichy France were sculptor Victor Brauner, and […]

Julius Streicher: Striking Hate Into Germany

By Daina Beth Solomon Adolf Hitler once said that the only newspaper he read cover to cover was Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer. Illustrated with drawings of Jews as germs, criminals, rapists, and Christ killers, the tabloid’s repeated claims of Jewish conspiracy and crime tapped into the fears and paranoia of working-class Germans, sanctioning their hostility toward Jews and […]

Ivan Greenberg: Did the London Jewish Chronicle Downplay the Atrocities in Europe?

By Renee Gross Ivan Greenberg’s resources were slashed. The editor of the London Jewish Chronicle during WWII had no more foreign correspondents in Germany or Vienna. His limited staff couldn’t fact check the stories coming out of other areas. But even when the evidence of the genocide was overwhelming, there were still initial doubts about […]

H.R. Knickerbocker: Sounding the Alarm

By Sonner Kehrt Towards the tumultuous end of Germany’s Weimar Republic, Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker, an American journalist, asked a member of the National Socialist Party what the party would do if it came to power. He expected the man to reply with a lengthy response about party priorities, Knickerbocker recounts in his 1932 book The German […]

Dorothy Thompson: From Dismissal to Outrage

  By Shira Telushkin Dorothy Thompson’s 1932 interview with Hitler — later published as the book, I Saw Hitler! — made her a household name in the United States, and launched her career as one of the most widely read political columnists of the 1930s. Thompson’s rise was swift. In 1939, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine, […]

Ben Hecht: One Man’s Failed Attempts to Warn America about Nazi Germany

By Astead Herndon Ben Hecht, an Oscar-winning American screenwriter whose unflinching newspaper accounts of the horrors of Hitler made him one of best-known American bylines, describes himself as almost an accidental journalist and a reluctant Zionist. Yet that accomplished resume omits an unsettling reality: Hecht encountered stiff opposition for his commitment to the Jewish cause, […]

Arno Herzberg: A High-Stakes Gatekeeper

By Laura Howells Arno Herzberg walked a thin line. As manager of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Berlin bureau during the pre-war years, Herzberg constantly struggled with both the restraints of Nazi censorship and his desire to publish material that would maintain the morale of the Jewish people. This editorial task was “no matter to trifle […]