Milwaukee (Dec. 1)
A new national German organization, having direct ties with Germany, has sprung up in Milwaukee.
Known in German as the “Ordensrat” and in English as the German Legion of Honor, the organization has been denounced by local German radicals as definitely a pro-Hitler, fascist agency. It is also being looked upon rather suspiciously by the established German societies here.
However, its leader, Rudolph Deckert, a cosmetics manufacturer, who has lived in Milwaukee for ten years but is not an American citizen, vigorously denies the Legion is a Nazi group.
“We are, as our name implies, purely an honorary organization, giving medals to persons who fought at the front on the German side during the war,” Deckert declared.
MEDALS FOR AMERICANS TOO
Having international headquarters in Hamburg, with General-Oberst Von Einem as chieftain, the Legion also distributes medals to Americans who in some way befriended German war prisoners, or helped in campaigns for the relief of starving German children after the war, Deckert explained.
The medals have on one side an engraving of a goddess of peace placing a wreath on the head of an armed soldier and on the other side the words “Fuers Vaterland.”
Deckert declared he had been appointed the American representative through connections in Germany. Efforts to extend chapters to other cities will soon be made, he said. Only a handful of local residents, possessing the medals, have joined the Milwaukee unit thus far.
Deckert revealed further that the Legion is trying to swing all of Milwaukee’s 180 German societies into a united front on things German. Critics view this as an effort to line up the Germans behind Hitlerism. However, thus far the German clubs have been cool to Deckert’s attempts, it is said.
“FRIENDS” GROUP GROWS
A quiet, unobtrusive chapter of the “Friends of the New Germany” has also been formed in Milwaukee. It has grown rapidly from an original attendance of a dozen at its meeting to over 200. It has devoted itself primarily to hearing tourists back from Germany “give the truth” about their homeland, according to Bert Weisflog, a local steamship agency operator, and one of the spokesmen of the “Friends.”
Weisflog insisted the chapter has been formed without any outside assistance or interference, that it fosters no anti-Semitism, and that it sought chiefly to prevent the rise of anti-Germanism in this country such as prevailed during the World War. One of its main aims has been to fight against the boycott of German products.
Thus far, it is informal, without regularly elected officers, Weisflog said. It has not tried to penetrate the older German societies with any Nazi propaganda, as was attempted by the Friends of the New Germany in the east, Weisflog declared.