The collapse of all liberal influence in New York German American societies was forecast yesterday by a number of individuals who viewed the Nazi ambuscade of the German American Conference Friday night as a preliminary step to the Hitlerization of approximately 300 vereins adhering to the leadership of the conference.
The overthrow of Victor Ridder as president of the German American Conference, it was learned yesterday, had been anticipated for some weeks as the Nazi influence increased throughout a broad field. Ridder was supplanted by C. K. Froelich, president of the United German Societies which sponsors the anti-Jewish boycott, the DAWA. The new president lost no time in appointing as his aides in office a number of men the majority of whom are regarded as being among the most dependable Hitlerites in the city.
Ridder took his recessional graciously. His “walking papers” were delivered graciously. It is understood in the best informed circles that he did not intend to oppose the Nazi insurrection, which had been publicly announced by the organ of the Nazis, the Deutsche Zeitung. There was considerable argument before the elections, which were not open to either the public or the press, with regard to the adoption of Nazi policies; but when the showdown came there was peace, the victors content with having gained complete mastery of the conference and the vanquished reconciled to the fact that they could not prevail against the outcome.
A number of delegates to the conference, recognizing the futility of attending, remained away. Robert Rosenbaum, delegate from the Union of German Jewish Organizations, and Dr. Fritz Schlesinger, delegate from the German American Sport Alliance, were not present.
Because the internal structure of the twenty-five major groups of organizations and 300 individual associations had been so corrupted by Nazi influence, the German American Conference had not met since November. Previously meetings had been marked with bitter strife between Nazi sympathizers and the old established order under Ridder, whose papers, the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung and the New Yorker Herold have served the German community here for a century.
“FULL HARMONY” REPORTED
Yesterday the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung gave a glowing account of the election as having been undertaken in “the fullest harmony.” The paper described the election as signalizing the “bringing into a United Front divergent groups.” It did not mention, however, the fact that the united front carried the swastika.
Dr. Louis Ewald, a member of the Conference, extended thanks and felicitations to the retiring president. His sentiments were further elaborated upon by Froehlich, and the entire Conference voted thanks. Ridder had refused to be renominated for election, because the body had refused to give him assurance of a unanimous vote of confidence. He was defeated by Froehlich’s plurality of fourteen votes.
Among Froehlich’s appointees to office are:
Severin Winterscheidt, former national secretary of the League of Friends of New Germany and present secretary of the United German Societies, corresponding secretary.
Paul Boes, of the Franz Sigel Order which recently changed the name of the Heinrich Heine Lodge to the General von Steuben Lodge, treasurer;
Gustav Wieboldt, of the well-Hitlerized Plattdeutsch Volksfest Verein of Brooklyn and one of those responsible for the equally Hitlerized German Day Celebration here last winter, first vice-president;
Justus Luehrs, of the German-Austrian War Veterans, second vice-president;
Theodore Scholle, of the United Singers of Brooklyn, third vice-president;
Dr. Alphonse Richter of the Veterans League, protocol-secretary;
Dr. L. O. Oberndorf rejected re-election as secretary, as did John H. Werdermann, and John H. Ducker for other offices. Dr. Oberndorf is an editorial associate of Ridder. Carl Nicolay, who has frequently been identified with Nazi activities in New York, conducted the election. He named as his aides Dr. Richter and Ducker.
It is expected that the first meeting held by the new administration of the conference will find some show of resistance from liberals, in the event of any effort to Hitlerize the organization.