In early 1943, a Gallup poll asked the American public: “It is said that two million Jews have been killed in Europe since the war began. Do you think this is true or just a rumor?” Although the Allied leadership had publicly confirmed that two million Jews had been murdered, the poll found that only 47% believed it was true, while 29% dismissed it as a rumor; the remaining 24% had no opinion.

A major part of the reason for the public’s skepticism was the failure of the American media to provide sustained, detailed, or prominent coverage of the Nazi genocide. Ben Hecht, the newspaper columnist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter (“Gone with the Wind,” “The Front Page,” “Scarface”), responded the only way he knew how: he picked up his pen and began to write.

A colleague later recalled: "Once Ben Hecht decided right from wrong on any issue, he mobilized all his faculties to fight for his beliefs with righteous fury." The journalist Max Lerner put it this way: "Ben Hecht's talent lay in his capacity to dramatize whatever it was that he touched. He could make a breakfast egg seem theatrical."

Determined to alert the American public about the Nazi slaughter of the Jews, Hecht authored a dramatic pageant that he called “We Will Never Die.” The pageant was performed across the country and did much to increase awareness of the Holocaust.