‘peace’ Meeting Failure; Votes Strong-arm Guard for German Day Fete Here
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‘peace’ Meeting Failure; Votes Strong-arm Guard for German Day Fete Here

Pro-Nazi elements in the United German Societies yesterday were carrying out the plan announced at a closed meeting in the Turnhalle Monday evening of delegates of the United German Societies, to have four hundred men as guards to protect the German Day celebration, which will take place October 29 under the Hitler Swastika, at the 69th Regiment Armory.

Heinz Spanknoebel, leader of the Stahlhelm, war veterans’ organization, and official Nazi representative in the United States, made the proposal to have guards at the German Day celebration.

“It is unfortunate that there are clements in this city that object to the peaceful celebration of German day,” Spanknoebel was quoted as saying at the meeting, “but while we desire peace, if it is necessary to protect ourselves, a group will be present that will be able to do it adequately.” He then stated that a group of four hundred men would be enrolled to guard the meeting. They will be recognizable by a brassard worn on the arm.

The meeting had originally been called on the initiative of the Reverend Dr. William Popcke, honorary president of the United German Societies and only official of the organization who did not resign when the pro-Nazi elements packed a previous meeting and howled down a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. The liberal German groups who had left the organization, including several German-Jewish groups, had been invited to come to the meeting Monday evening in order to establish unity. However, when the meeting opened, Dr. Popcke read a declaration that the meeting was only for the purpose of discussing preparations for German Day. All other problems, he declared, would be settled after German Day. When the Jewish delegates objected to this procedure, they were peremptorily ruled out and left the hall indignantly. Despite the attempts of the Nazi leaders to quiet their followers, the Jewish delegates left amid boos and shouts of “let them go.” Police were called by the building manager, who feared disorders.

“We were invited to come here,” said Robert Rosenbaum, president of the Federated German-Jewish Societies, “but we were not allowed to speak. And this despite the fact that the invitation specifically stated that the resignation of the German-Jewish Societies would be discussed.

“This action definitely establishes the split between the Germans with Nazi leanings and the liberal-minded Germans, among whom the Jewish groups must be included. The United German Societies no longer exists. Ruthless, ruinous, destructive elements have forced their way in and the result has been that minority rights have been eliminated. Two organizations, the Stahlhelm and the Friends of New Germany, now control the entire organization.”

After the meeting, from which the reporters had been excluded, Mr. Ridder, in the presence of several Nazi leaders, told the reporters what had happened at the meeting.

He declared that when his name had been proposed for the arrangements he had declined to serve until the issue of the German-Jewish societies had been settled. When no action was taken and the German-Jewish delegates walked out, he asked that his name be withdrawn. When Spanknoebel made his proposal for a guard, Mr. Ridder declared, “never in the history of the German societies in the United States have we required protection at our German Day celebrations.”


According to Dr. Fritz Schlesinger, former treasurer of the United German Societies, Spanknoebel, following the withdrawal of the Jewish delegates, pointed out that the morning papers would have big stories on the meeting “full of untruths given out by the delegates that withdrew.” Dr. Schlesinger objected to the statement and vigorously repudiated the attack on the German-Jewish delegates, pointing out that despite the fact that the meeting was to discuss only German Day, Spanknoebel was permitted to slander the delegates who had left.

The speakers for German Day, the meeting decided, would be Dr. Hans Luther, German Ambassador in the United States; Spanknoebel for the German element and Theodore H. Hoffman, of the Steuben Society, for the German-Americans. The United German Societies will hold another meeting on Oct. 23, to make final arrangements for German Day.

Stickers denouncing the Jews, the Pope and democracy, signed with a swastika and the three K’s of the Ku Klux Klan, were distributed in the hall and stuck up on the walls of the room, evidently by some of the more enthusiastic Nazis present.