With no Jewish delegate attending the meeting, the German American Conference, the largest and most powerful German-American group in the United States, on Wednesday night “unanimously” voted to protest the boycott of German goods in the United States, take action against anti-German propaganda, and support the Steuben Society’s projected celebration of German Day in Madison Square Garden on December 6.
Spokesmen for the German American Conference described the proceedings as being adopted unanimously by the twenty-three federations composing the conference, despite the fact that Robert Rosenbaum, delegate from the German Jewish Federation, did not attend and hence had no opportunity to vote.
After a stormy session which extended into the early morning hours, the conference announced that a letter of protest against the boycott would be drawn up within the next few days and published in American papers.
Efforts will be made to bring into the anti-boycott protest every unattached German verein and every American of German descent.
In a written statement read to the press following the meeting the German-American Conference declared that “in answer to the systematic attack and false charges against Americans of German descent, the entire membership of the German-American Conference, constituted by 23 federations, reaffirms its loyalty to the constitution and laws of the United States.
“American citizens of German extraction,” the statement continued, “constituting twenty-four percent of the population of this country, have created a record in achievements unexcelled by other nationalities.
“It is further declared that recently immigrated members of the organization have also come here with the intention of becoming citizens in the future and making similar contributions to their adopted land.
“We have appointed a committee to take full charge of the situation created by the recent anti-German propaganda.
“A protest against the current anti-German boycott will be prepared and published within the next few days.
“We shall seek to unite all German groups in this state. Non-members of federations will be requested to join the conference in the near future.”
TO MEET MONDAY
After heated argument, the German-American Conference decided to “get behind the German Day celebration under the auspices of the Steuben Society one hundred percent.” Members of the various federations will meet on Monday night in the Teutonia Hall to perfect plans for the fete. It was stated on Wednesday night by members of the United German Societies, whose plans for a German Day celebration were curtailed when Mayor O’Brien suspended the affair “in the interests of peace and order”, that their organization would support the celebration under the auspices of the Steuben Society.
“Of course Ambassador Hans Luther will speak at the new celebration,” one member of the United German Societies declared at the conference meeting, “otherwise we never should have consented to have the day sponsored by the Steuben Society.” The speech by Hitler’s emissary to Washington and consequent swastika displaying ceremonies were considered by the mayor as provocation which might lead “to serious disorder and perhaps loss of life.”
The conference stated that the general public would be invited to attend the German Day demonstration at Madison Square Garden.
STEUBAN SOCIETY MANOEUVER
The decision to sponsor the new German Day festivity was rendered by the Steuben Society late Wednesday afternoon, when Gustav W. M. Wieboldt, chairman of the society’s German Day committee, announced that all German-American groups would be asked to take part and the general public is invited.”
The Steuben Society move is seen as a strategic manoeuver, coming, as it does, at a time when the United German Societies, traditional sponsors of the affair, has been rendered powerless. During recent months, professional Nazi agents have assumed control of the Friends of New Germany organization, which in turn, by virtue of a huge inflation of membership, has succeeded in commandeering the United German Societies. Four Jewish and eight non-Jewish organizations have withdrawn from the United German Societies; the Nazi agents in charge of the organization have fled to Germany before federal investigation of their activities; and other American leaders, notably Rev. Wm. Popcke, former chairman of the United German Societies, and Dr. I. T. Griebl, resigned president of the League of Friends of New Germany, have quit their posts.
The United German Societies at the Wednesday meeting sued for a united German front in the matter of the German Day celebration. “The younger elements”, those who have recently come here from Germany, received the support of the conference.
The anti-boycott protest, it is believed, will closely resemble that of the Board of Trade for German-American Commerce, which was forwarded on Tuesday to President Roosevelt.