Holocaust as Viewed in The New York Times
Uploaded by planotJ on Oct 26, 2011
This paper examines articles published by The New York Times in 1949 and 1950 to see what the attitude was to the Holocaust at that time. (6; 7 sources; MLA citation style)
The Holocaust is one of the most horrific events in human history. Today, even with the perspective of time, it remains something so unspeakable that we have trouble coming to grips with it. It’s therefore interesting to see what accounts much nearer in time have to say.
I used the ProQuest database to search for newspaper articles about the Holocaust. The only paper whose deep files are available to me via ProQuest is The New York Times, which goes back to 1851. I put in the parameters as follows: the search term I used is “Holocaust” and the dates 1/01/1949 to 12/31/1950. The search returned 59 results.
The first thing to note is that very few of these articles use the word “Holocaust” in the sense we use it today—to refer to a specific event in history, namely the extermination of European Jewry by the Nazis. Much more often the word was used because of its strength: it gives a sentence much more power to say “the holocaust of war” as opposed to “the horror of war” for example. The first conclusion we can draw from this is that the Holocaust wasn’t of great interest in the United States in the years immediately following the Second World War.
Further, the use of the word to refer to such things as the “holocaust” caused by an accident during a race is simply hype. “Holocaust” as defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary means a “burnt offering”; an additional meaning is “great loss of life, especially by fire.” It’s not surprising then to find several articles that describe serious fires.
On May 16, 1949 an article appeared entitled “Fire at Ft. Worth Park.” The subhead is “$1,000,000 Damages Caused at Cats’ Baseball Plant.” The article, which is less than a column, says that “Fire destroyed the main stands of the Fort Worth Texas League ballpark” at an estimated cost of $1,000,000. Then it goes on to say, “But fifteen hours later, a baseball game was going on in the scene of the two-hour holocaust.” The Fort Worth club is the farm team for the former Brooklyn...