Hanfstaengl Will Not Attend Commencement at Harvard
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Hanfstaengl Will Not Attend Commencement at Harvard

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Ernst F. Hanfstaengl, Hitler’s intimate friend, will be unable to attend this year’s commencement exercises at Harvard University after all, it was announced today by Dr. Elliott Carr Cutler, chief marshal of the Harvard alumni at the commencement, who invited the German to act as one of the marshal’s aids.

Protests from many Jewish alumni of the university were received when news of the invitation to Hanfstaengl was announced. Benjamin Halpern, Jewish graduate student, wrote to the Harvard Crimson, undergraduate newspaper: “There unfortunately will be a number of groups of thickheaded alumni too obtuse to appreciate the tender sentiment of this gesture.”


Dr. Cutler in his announcement declared that Hanfstaengl informed him of his inability to fill the post. Dr. Cutler further stated:

“There has been considerable publicity given to the invitation extended to Hanfstaengl, some of it unfortunately criticizing Harvard University authorities. I wish to make it clear that the appointment of aids at the alumni exercises during the Harvard commencement is made by the chief marshal, who is elected by the directors of the Alumni Association and not by the university authorities.

“In selecting Hanfstaengl for the post of aid it seemed to me that Harvard alumni, who have always stood for the fundamental principles of a university, the right of free speech and the toleration of all beliefs, might properly welcome this graduate back to his twenty-fifth reunion.”

Hanfstaengl is a graduate of the class of 1909. In his college days he was known as “Putzy.” During the War, at the time the Lusitania was sunk, he gloated over the event so noisily that the Harvard Club expelled him. Following his graduation he managed the New York branch of his father’s business, but it dwindled due to his insulting treatment of customers.

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