UAB students work with Holocaust Education Center to investigate newspaper coverage during WWII

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of History has partnered with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center for a research project investigating news archives from three Birmingham newspapers during WWII.

The goal off the project is to uncover stories told during the Nazi period of 1933-1945 in order to get a better understanding of Birmingham residents’ awareness of the Holocaust. Student interns Emma Herr and Chris Bertolini are leading the project for the organization, which began in early January.

“It’s interesting to see how newspapers framed this discussion people had about the Holocaust,” Bertolini said in a press release. “In the ’30s, newspapers limited information; but now you can get information from every possible source. It is fascinating to see how our relationship with that has changed.”

The BHEC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to Holocaust remembrance and education throughout Alabama. Ann Mollengarden, education director at BHEC, said the project is a continuation of work she and a colleague started in 2014.

“We wanted to explore what the Birmingham public knew about the events happening in Europe during the ’30s and ’40s; but due to limited time and resources, we started the project focusing on the days and weeks surrounding the Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938,” Mollengarden said.

In 2016, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum revealed its latest project, “History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust,” a collection submitted by researchers of local newspapers that focused on all mentions of the Holocaust. The BHEC submitted multiple Kristallnacht articles for this project. Newspaper articles from the “History Unfolded” project became their own display in the museum’s latest exhibit, “Americans and the Holocaust.”

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