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Earliest Known Broadcast on Nazi Persecution of Jews

80 Years Ago NYC Listeners Get an Early Picture of Nazi Terror

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 09:00 AM

The broadcast above comes from a rare shellac radio transcription disc dated March 26, 1933. The program, The News Parade, consists of several news stories, including the one above dramatizing the Nazi persecution of Jews. It's particularly notable since Adolph Hitler had only become German Chancellor on January 30th, less than two months earlier. 

Although news trickled slowly out of tightly-censored Germany, the Nazi attack on Jews  was already well in motion: indeed, the boycott of Jewish businesses (the first official nationwide action of the anti-Semitic campaign) would begin five days after this broadcast, on April 1 of that year.  WNYC covered an early anti-Nazi rally from Battery Park on May 10th. A little over two years later, the Nuremberg 'race laws' would be instituted.

The News Parade, like The March of Time and The News in Review, was a 'radio newsreel' production that dramatized the week's leading news stories, Hollywood gossip and crimes of passion. The original newsreel genre was created in 1908 for movie theaters and it included real film footage of people and events. But for radio these were the days before portable recording equipment would allow news reporters to easily use sound bytes or actualities to illustrate their work. Thus, for a good portion of the 1930s dramatists and actors were the ones interpreting current events for radio listeners, with the addition of commentators like H.V. Kaltenborn, Gabriel Heatter and Raymond Gram Swing. The aesthetics may sound dated and the facts were not always precise, but in their day radio newsreels were popular.

Because this transcription disc is a pressing rather than an original cutting, we know that multiple copies of the program were made and distributed to radio stations for broadcast.  We know The News Parade was broadcast by independent stations WMCA in New York and KUOA of Fayetteville, Arkansas, but others in the syndication chain remain a mystery. We welcome any information regarding the series and its producer, The Marben Advertising Company.

Special thanks to James Knee and Elayne Flamm.

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Comments [1]

BigGuy from Forest Hills, NY

Thank you for posting this, WNYC The Jewish background music in the transcription was K'el Maleh Rachamim, the Jewish prayer for the dead at gravesites, and Hatikvah.

Mar. 26 2013 06:10 PM

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