This article reviews the coverage in the early phase of World War II of the situation in Poland's Jewish residential quarters, as they were then called, in five leading American daily newspapers ('New York Times', 'Washington Post', 'Chicago Daily Tribune', 'Los Angeles Times' and 'Christian Science Monitor'). The study spans the period between September 1939, ie. the outbreak of hostilities and the occupation of Poland, until the end of 1941, when the US joined the war and American correspondents had to leave the territory of the German Reich. The precision of the reports about the living conditions in the ghettos suggest that the American press possessed a great deal of information about the situation of the Jews under German occupation. Of special interest are the accounts of American correspondents who were allowed to travel in the General Gouvernement. They visited the Jewish quarters of Warsaw and Szydlowiec and took pictures of the streets in those ghettos. Most of the information about the tragic plight of the Polish Jews could be found in the 'New York Times'. Other papers published fewer items on the subject, yet the materials that do get published are often surprisingly detailed and well-informed. However, the striking, eye-opening reports did not have much chance of making impact as they were usually buried in a sea of print quite distant from page one. The material collected for this review suggests that the American press was not short on information about the fate of the Jews in Poland under German occupation. However, how much of that information actually reached the readers and made an impact on the general public is another matter. The reasons for this apparent discrepancy may be sought in the policy of the editors who, it seems, took their cue from the 'New York Times'.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.