One way to measure what Los Angelenos knew about the Holocaust is to review what the major daily L.A. newspapers published.  Another is to examine what Los Angeles-based Christian periodicals printed.

The only book-length examination of the U.S. Christian press and the Holocaust was the 1980 study, "So It Was True: The American Protestant Press and the Nazi Persecution of the Jews," by Robert W. Ross.  Prof. Ross analyzed articles about the persecution of European Jewry that appeared in 52 U.S. Protestant newspapers and magazines published between 1933 and 1945.  His overall findings were, first, that the Protestant press published enough about the Holocaust to make it impossible for their readers to claim they didn't know what was happening to the Jews; and, second, that these publications too often downplayed or ignored news about the Holocaust.

Only one Los Angeles-based publication was among those studied by Ross:  The King's Business, a monthly magazine published by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (today known as Biola University and situated in La Mirada).  In my last memo, I mentioned two articles by Rev. Louis Bauman that appeared in The King's Business.  In one, in May 1934, he denounced the Nazis' policies as "an insane anti-Semitic outburst."  In the other, in January 1940, he wrote that "the slow tortured-to-death methods now being used by the Nazi government may not seem so bloody, but are infinitely more cruel than the quick death by the sword.  Antiochus Epiphanes was far more kind than Adolph Hitler."

The only other article in The King's Business cited by Ross was an early editorial (June 1933) that reprinted and endorsed an editorial from another Christian publication describing the Nazi atrocity reports as exaggerations.  However, in view of the Bauman articles cited above, it seems that this early editorial reflected an attitude that soon changed and gave way to articles acknowledging and condemning Nazi brutality.

The other interesting feature about The King's Business, however, is that its pages repeatedly featured paid advertisements about the persecution of European Jews.  Although the fact that these were paid ads does not reflect well on The King's Business (which arguably should have been printing such reports as news), it does provide another potential way for us to illustrate what was known to Los Angelenes.

Some of these ads were the work of the International Hebrew Christian Alliance (IHCA), a small "Jews for Jesus"-type group which took a serious interest in the plight of Europe's Jews, although, not surprisingly, they were especially interested in the Nazis' persecution of what they called "Hebrew Christians," i.e. Jews who converted to Christianity.  According to Ross, one such ad, in the November 1940 issue of The King's Business, spoke of the "unparalleled suffering" of Europe's Jews, "harrowing tales of Jewish mothers whose husbands had been murdered and whose sons have been tortured in concentration camps," and the "terror of the Gestapo by day and by night."

Ross reports that ads by the IHCA and other small U.S. Christian rescue advocacy groups, which appeared in The King's Business and other Christian periodicals, featured headlines such as "These Are Christian Victims of Nazism"; "Jewry's Darkest Hour"; "The Agony of Israel in War-Torn Lands: A Report of the Appalling Sufferings of Jews and Jewish Christians"; and "The Jew--A Christian Test."

If this sounds like something that we might incorporate in the exhibit, back issues of The King's Business should be available at the BIOLA University library.