Leff, Laurel 1957–
Leff, Laurel 1957–
ADDRESSES: Office—School of Journalism, College of Arts and Sciences, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Northeastern University, Boston, MA, assistant professor of journalism. Formerly reporter for Wall Street Journal and Miami Herald, and editor for American Lawyer, Media, and Hartford Courant.
SIDELIGHTS: Laurel Leff examines a unique point in the history of World War II in her book Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper. Leff contends that the New York Times never allowed its coverage of the Nazi's genocidal war against European Jews to be seen on the front page. The newspaper's publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, was himself Jewish and helped many European relatives reach safety when the Nazis began to round up and exterminate Jewish citizens. Yet Sulzberger was also very much opposed to the idea of a Jewish state and did not want the New York Times to be identified as a Jewish newspaper. Leff's analysis of Sulzberger's inner conflicts and editorial decisions forms "a brilliant history, one whose insights offer much for editors to think about today when a new war is under way in which an Islamist foe seeks the destruction of the state in which the remnant of European Jewry found redemption," stated Seth Lipsky in Columbia Journalism Review. Lipsky concluded: "The importance of Leff's book is in helping us to understand what happened so that we can be faster on our feet and avoid the same mistakes now that a new war against the Jews is under way and a new generation of newspaper men and women are on the story."
Reviewing the book for the Weekly Standard, Jack Fischel noted that Sulzberger's position was by no means unique. Many prominent American Jews believed, as he did, that identifying Judaism as a nation only played into the racist beliefs of Hitler and his followers. Still, their eagerness to avoid being seen as a race apart from the rest of America led to a tragically muted response to the genocide in Europe. "In documenting how the Times contributed to a political environment that led to inaction, Leff also reveals much about the insecurity of American Jews at that time," commented Fischel.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Columbia Journalism Review, May-June, 2005, Seth Lipsky, review of Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper, p. 70.
Weekly Standard, April 11, 2005, Jack Fischel, review of Buried by the Times, p. 38.
Northeastern University Web site, http://www.neu.edu/ (September 20, 2005), personal information about Laurel Leff.