Was Holocaust News in Connecticut As It Happened? Historians Seek to Find Out

What could Americans have known – in Connecticut and across the country - about the Nazi threat from reading their local newspapers in the 1930s and 1940s? The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) is looking for some research help to find out. CLHO is participating in History Unfolded, a project of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. It asks students, teachers, and history buffs throughout the United States what was possible for Americans to have known about the Holocaust as it was happening and how Americans responded. “

Participants look in local newspapers for news and opinion about 31 different Holocaust-era events that took place in the United States and Europe, and submit articles they find to a national database, as well as information about newspapers that did not cover events. History Unfolded raises questions for scholars and will inform the Museum’s initiative on Americans and the Holocaust.

CLHO and Connecticuthistory.org are teaming up to introduce this project to Connecticut. On January 26, 2017, (the day before the United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day) “citizen historians like you can register to join ‘Team Connecticut’ as we explore Holocaust history.”  Research volunteers will learn how to use primary sources in historical research, and challenge assumptions about American knowledge of, and responses to, the Holocaust.

Officials stress that no experience is needed to participate. Individuals may get involved on their own using online newspaper archives, at local libraries or participating museums, or in groups working as members of a research team.

Data from History Unfolded: U.S. Newspapers and the Holocaust will be used for two main purposes: to inform the upcoming exhibition on Americans and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and to enhance scholarly research about the American press and the Holocaust. Information captured in the general database will be available as a research source for generations to come.

As of January 9, 2017, 920 participants from across the country had submitted more than 6,300 articles from their local newspapers. The articles were published in newspapers located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and represent news articles, editorials, letters to the editor, political cartoons, and advertisements. Individuals are urged to check with their local museum, historical society, or library to see if they will be hosting a research group. A classroom or school, a temple or church, a museum or library, or other community organizations can participate. Individuals can also participate.  Organizations can email Liz Shapiro at liz@clho.org or Gregg Mangan, at gmangan@cthumanities.org for additional information.  For more about the national project, visit the project at https://newspapers.ushmm.org/