On March 22, 1933 The State in Columbia, South Carolina ran an article titled “Treatment of Jews by German Regime Stirs Washington” about the first Nazi concentration camp, Dachau. This early article covering the horrors of the Holocaust was one of countless published by U.S. papers in the 1930s and 40s. And now, a project from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is attempting to find them all.
History Unfolded is asking volunteers to search old newspapers online and in local archives to locate articles and opinion pieces covering specific Holocaust related events. Anyone who has access to online newspaper pages, or who is willing to visit a local library or historical society, can take part. Submissions will help researchers better understand what Americans knew about the Holocaust while it was happening and how they responded to it.
History Unfolded provides a detailed explanation of the project on their website, as well as a very helpful resource for locating newspaper archives near you.
If you are unable to travel to a local repository, or prefer to research online, there are a variety of places to locate scanned historical newspapers on the web. Some state-based resources have scanned local papers and placed them on their website and other large online resources exist that include papers from across the United States.
- Google News Archive offers hundreds of old papers from the US and the world.
- The Illinois Digital Newspaper Project has papers from across the US.
- Fulton History also has millions of scanned newspaper pages online.
Chronicling America only covers dates until 1922 so they are not useful for researching the 1930s and 1940s – but they do offer a helpful directory of US papers and where to find them offline.
There are several paid newspaper repositories as well and if you already have a subscription to one of them you may want to take advantage of it for this purpose.
To take part in the project you will need to start by creating a free volunteer account, choosing one of 32 historical events that are being focused on, finding a newspaper to research, and then searching for and submitting the articles you locate.
To understand more about the project and how to best take part you may want to read the FAQs, which provides help on choosing and reading old papers.
You can also research the papers that have already been submitted, although the submissions have not been transcribed so you will not be able to search the text of these pages.
Top Image: Jewish refugee girl from Vienna, Austria, upon arrival in Harwich. Great Britain, December 12, 1938. — National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.