On Tuesday, Jan. 31, 1933—a day after Adolf Hitler was appointed as Germany’s chancellor—the Hollister Evening Free Lance’s editorial board wrote in an opinion piece that the Nazi leader had “his good traits.” On Feb. 3, 1933, the board stated that because of Hitler’s ascension to power “the world will be a better place to live.”
In 2015 the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum launched,“History Unfolded: US Newspapers and the Holocaust,” a project that relies on the research of “citizen historians” to cull through the archives of their local newspapers in order to shed light on both reportage by the American press during the Holocaust and “American knowledge of and responses to the Holocaust,” according to the project’s website.
Participants are also encouraged to upload their finds—ranging from news articles to political cartoons—to the project’s database.
The Hollister Evening Free Lance, the (Hollister) Advance, and the San Juan Mission News were the three, San Benito County newspapers in circulation in 1933.
A trip by this reporter to the county’s historical museum, where all three publications are archived, resulted in the discovery of several articles, including the opinion pieces appearing in the Free Lance days after Hitler became chancellor. Neither the Advance nor Mission News carried stories about Hitler in the early months of 1933.
Eradicating communism worldwide weighed heavier on American minds than an ardent, German militarist, the Free Lance’s editorials explained.
And the board suggested in both pieces that the decision by Germany’s President Paul von Hindenburg to surround the rookie politician with elder statesmen and other safeguards would curtail his ambitions.
In other words, Hitler’s contempt for “the doctrine of the red” was good for Germany and the United States. And his determination to dismantle the very government that paved his way to power was blunted by institutions enshrined in the Weimar Republic.
Saturday, Jan. 27 marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Established by a United Nations’ resolution in 2005, it’s a time to honor those who died at the hands of the Nazis, while promoting Holocaust education worldwide.
This article appears in recognition of this day. And it is the first of several that will chronicle how our local press covered the Holocaust.
For more information on San Benito County History contact or visit:
San Benito Historical Society
498 Fifth Street
Hollister, CA 95023
Phone: (831) 635-0335
Research Room–498 Fifth St.
Open on second Monday each month
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wapple House Museum–498 Fifth St.
Open by appointment
Phone: (831) 635-0335