So “Putzy” Hanfstaengel won’t attend his class reunion after all! Reports from Berlin yesterday stated that Herr Hanfstaengel will not be able to forsake his pressing duties at Nazi party headquarters to make the pilgrimage to Cambridge when the class of ’09 celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary.
Perhaps the former antiques salesman who has proven singularly obtuse in the past in estimating public opinion, this time prognosticated that his visit would probably do more harm than good to the Nazi cause. It must be with some regret that he foregoes the visit because America always did well by Herr Hanfstaengel.
“Putzy,” we are told, was well-liked by his Harvard class mates. After he left school, both he and his father enjoyed the bounty of a well-known Jewish woman in New York who sought to aid them in their artistic endeavors. While their artistic accomplishments didn’t amount to much, they did provide a good income from this well-meaning and sympathetic lady.
Hanfstaengel has been one of Hitler’s few intimates for many years and he has been his right-hand man in handling the foreign correspondents in Germany. Although in a position of power and authority in Germany, Hanfstaengel has always cast longing eyes at America, particularly in that period between Hitler’s accession to power and the first days when official America began to cast questioning eyes on Nazi activities here. And thereby hangs a tale.
Before Hitler assumed the chancellorship, his official representative here was Kurt Luedecke, Washington correspondent for the Voelkischer Beobachter and head of the Nazi press bureau. Luedecke went back to Germany to try to get the designation of Nazi leader for the United States, and enlisted the support of Goering.
Hanfstaengel tried to convince Hitler that he, Hanfstaengel, could do National Socialism more good in the United States than could anyone else, and secured Hitler’s backing for the job. But Luedecke apparently hall the in side track.
Unfortunately for Luedecke, his patron, General Goering, left Berlin. Luedecke was immediately dispatched to some outiying post and while there, was suddenly arrested on mysterious charges having to do with his work. It was more than a week before Goering returned and secured Luedecke’s release.
The incident was sufficient to queer Luedecke for the American job and although no one pinned Hanfstaengel down on having manipulated the arrest, the result apparently queered “Putzy” for the job too.