Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist

By Mike Smith

The term Holocaust was not used as a historical concept until after World War II when the world finally understood that the Nazi party and its collaborators had systemically and brutally attempted to annihilate the Jews of Europe.

Unlike America’s mainstream media, the Jewish News and its predecessor, the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, continually published reports about Nazi atrocities during World War II. An exhibit, assembled by Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist Mike Smith, was shown at the Holocaust Memorial Center late last year. On this “Looking Back” page, we will offer selected exhibit panels showing the history of what we now call the Holocaust as it unfolded in the pages of these publications.

Sept. 15, 1935, the Nuremberg Laws became official anti-Jewish policy in Germany. These laws stripped Jews of German citizenship, thereby removing their civil and political rights.

This report from the Jewish Chronicle bluntly but effectively summarized the laws as branding Jews as an “inferior race” and reducing their status to political and social pariahs.

The swastika became the official flag of Germany. General Hermann Goering declared that the swastika would become the anti-Jewish symbol of the world. “[Hitler] warned that if the new laws did not put the Jews in their place other measures would be taken.”