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Anna Blech takes on the New York Times' Holocaust silence in a TEDx Talk.

If only more members of this generation were like Anna Blech: a poised, factual and no-holds-barred truth teller.

Blech attended Hunter College High School in New York. For her 11th grade history paper, Blech chose to explore the media’s coverage of the Holocaust, while it was happening.

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She chose this topic because three of her four grandparents escaped from Germany and Austria before the outbreak of World War II. They spent the war years in New York City.

Her grandparents explained to Blech that they really had no idea of the extent of the destruction of European Jewry until after the concentration and labor camps were liberated. This led her to wonder what news was available in the American media.

“The works of historians David Wyman, Deborah Lipstadt, and, especially, Laurel Leff, helped me understand how the knowledge of the Holocaust did not enter the public psyche despite the fact that the Holocaust was covered extensively in the New York Times,” Blech told The Jewish Press.

After her paper won the New York City History Day prize, Blech was invited by her school principal to give a TEDx Talk for the high school’s TEDx event.

 

When asked by The Jewish Press how her grandparents responded to the information she had garnered and presented at the TEDx Talk, Blech said they were very proud of her.

“They found the information true and painful,” Blech explained. “My grandmother said that she knew of people who almost made it out of Europe and who might have been able to, if the situation had been better publicized.”

Blech has since graduated from high school, and will be spending part of the summer in China for the Student Leaders Exchange of the National Council on U.S.-China Relations.

During this coming academic year, Blech will be on a special program called kivunim which is based in Jerusalem, but which takes participants to many different countries to explore the history of their Jewish communities and also explore all aspects of Israel.

Once finished with her year of travel with kivunim, Blech will become a freshman at Yale University in the fall of 2015.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. The Jewish People got some justice at Nurenbourg – The Jewish People have a lot more power than The Indigenous Peoples of The World – Why do The Jewish People help The Worlds Indigenous Peoples get Justice for the Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity commited against them ??

  2. Tell you what- if you can arrange to end the continued killing and terrorizing of Jews around the world- including the us, we will help the indigenous peoples who were oppressed by the Europeans.

    There is no ‘the Jews’ everyone is an individual. It’s not like the Catholic Church- Jews have no cohesive organization. “The Jews” certainly don’t have “power”. If we did our whole people would not be teetering on the edge while IDF work to find 3 kids kidnapped on thei way home from school. We do have the jnf that fills in where society fails with Counceling, job services, no interest loans, food pantry, senior services and many others that are available to anyone regardless of religious affiliation, or ability to pay. We have also met with the Dali lama on keeping the Tibetian nation together through the current diaspora. Israel sends help to every major disaster area around the world where they are welcome and working with the Somali govt to find the missing girls. We have recently diologued with indigenous Canadian First Nations. I can’t imagine what more you expect from a country the size of Rhode Island. I’m sure the Israelis and worldwide Jewish communities would work with any indigenous First Nation group that approached them for help. There are Jews attacked around the world and that is our mission to protect and if needed retrieve and relocate, just as we did for African Jews persecuted in Ethiopia when thousands of Jewish refugees were airlifted into Israel within 24 hour period. What do you do?

  3. The paper that one would have expected to report what was happening to Jews in Europe was the Palestine (now the Jerusalem) Post which limited its coverage to the back pages.

    Ben-Gurion and those in the mainstream Zionist movement were more concerned with state building than Jewish rescue as Ben Hecht pointed out in “Perfidy” and one can readily discern from examining the agenda of the historic Biltmore meeting in 1942.

  4. Anna Blech, I applaud you for keeping the story of the Holocaust alive. Many would be happy to see this story buried. What happened in the past, who wrote about it and who covered it up, is not a problem that we can change. What is the problem, going forward, if we let the Holocaust to be forgotten. Thank you, thank you, thank you. NEVER EVER AGAIN.

  5. The media was not as sophisticated as it is now and many people never heard and those who did could not believe it to be true. They sure found out later then sooner.

  6. Gabor, she is just a high school student who did a paper on the Holocaust. A kid, a teenager. Give her a break just for trying. Others will dig further and gain more knowledge. Remember what went on in your country and Romania during WW.2 and other European nations. Pretty said at how people can decimate each other for what kind of reasons.

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