WASHINGTON (Jun. 7)
Cooperation between the League of the Friends of New Germany, the Hitler organization in the United States, and the Silver Shirts and anti-Jewish propagandists such as Col. E. N. Sanctuary, in their mutual objective a drive on the Jews, was disclosed today before the Congressional committee investigating Nazi activities in the United States.
The committee established that although the League of the Friends is nominally headed by an American citizen, Reinhold Walter, it is actually dominated by three aliens, two of whom once took out naturalization papers but have allowed them to lapse.
Representative John W. McCormack, chairman of the investigating body, revealed that George Sylvester Viereck, propagandist previously shown to be collecting $1,750 monthly for his activities, is to be subpoenaed by the committee.
Viereck, in a statement yesterday, declared there was nothing improper in his conducting propaganda for Germany.
“If it is right for the Russians to hire Mr. Ivy Lee, why is it wrong for the German railroads to employ Mr. Carl Byoir and Mr. Carl Dickey?” he asked in his statement.
“This committee will take official cognizance of statements attributed to George Sylvester Viereck in today’s press,” McCormack declared. “It had been the intention of the committee to subpoena Mr. Viereck and he will be given every opportunity to tell us all he knows of foreign money being used in this country for propaganda purposes.
“Mr. Viereck’s assertion that Russia has a paid propagandist here will be probed fully. We expect him to come prepared ready to substantiate his charges that money has been paid to a man in New York by Russia.
“We intend to inquire into all activities of subversive propaganda here regardless of the source from which it emanates or the persons or firms handling it and if any person has evidence, not mere opinions, or a mere statement, the committee considers it the duty of all persons, particularly American citizens, to convey the same to the committee.”
WALTER A “STRAW MAN”
Testimony was introduced before the committee this morning tending to indicate some cooperation between the Silver Shirts and the Friends of New Germany.
At the same time, Reinhold Walter, an American citizen for some twenty-seven years and titular head of the Friends of New Germany, admitted that he was little more than a “straw man” acting as the front for the “big three” of the Nazi movement here-Fritz Gissibl, Walter Kappe and Joseph Shuster, the singing ex-waiter of Brooklyn, all three of whom are aliens.
Henry O. Spier, secretary of the DAWA, the so-called German-American Protective Alliance, disclosed that he had been in communication with William Dudley Pelley, Silver Shirt head, and that a tie-up between the two organizations had been proposed.
SPANKNOEBEL THE BOSS
Spier, who testified he had allowed his first papers to lapse because he felt himself “not spiritually prepared to become an American citizen,” revealed that Heinz Spanknoebel had taken complete charge of the German societies after his arrival here.
“Shortly after Spanknoebel returned from Germany in 1933, he appeared to be the absolute leader of German-Americans,” Spier said. “He dominated them. He called me to his office in the George Washington Hotel and sat like a prince while he talked.” “He told me,” spier testified, “there was room in New York for only one newspaper and that I must cease publication of Die Bruecke (a pro-Nazi newspaper which was published in New York for a short time) of which I was an owner.
“When I asked about the editorial policies of his paper, then Das Neue Deutschland, he silenced me. He would neither listen to me nor let me speak.
“From that minute I knew he could kill my paper,” Spier said. “I announced I was through. He had sufficient influence as head of the Friends of New Germany to take away my advertising.”
Under questioning by Representative McCormack, Spier testified that DAWA dues are deposited in a bank and are controlled by the United German Societies. The United German Societies is dominated by the Nazis.
He declared that the Friends of New Germany, whose muscular seizure of control of the United German Societies marked the first great advance of the Nazis to power here, pays some small dues to the United German Societies as a member organization.
In the launching of the DAWA, he revealed, the United German Societies lent $1,000 to the Friends of New Germany, who on the first night sold almost 1,200 membership buttons for $1 each.
Discussing his relations with Pelley, Spier admitted that two Silver Shirt communications, entered into evidence, had been directed to him. He revealed further that a Pelley emissary had approached him last summer with the proposal that his organization-evidently he referred to the “Friends”-should distribute anti-Semitic leaflets from a plane over New York City, with the Silver Shirts furnishing the material and paying the expenses.
One of Pelley’s letters to Spier contained such quotations as, “I am scheduled to confer with a large group of influential Germans in Philadelphia Sunday night.”
On July 15, 1933. Pelley wrote Spier, “I have just come from a most profitable experience with Mr. Kessemeier (presumably of North German Lloyd) of Philadelphia, who is supporting what we are doing one hundred per cent There are many things I wanted to take up with you. I expect to pass through New York on my way to New England again withing the next ten days, when this furore here at headquarters has quieted down. When I shall certainly get in touch with you.”
In his letter to Spier, Pelley pointed out that he is “one of Hitler’s strongest defenders here.” He wrote: “Let there be a spontaneous American movement here, American in character and personnel, but working shoulder to shoulder with the aims of the German government.”
SANCTUARY LINK SHOWN
Col. E. N. Sanctuary, the author of the book, “Are These Things So?” an anti-Semitic diatribe published by the so-called World Association Against Jewish Aggression, was also revealed as trafficking with the American Nazis.
During the examination of Walter it was revealed that Sanctuary had offered to address meetings sponsored by the Friends of New Germany.
Walter said he had not known Sanctuary personally but in response to the letter offering Sanctuary’s services, had written him officially that he was eager to meet him. He wrote of Sanctuary: “He asks no compensation and I think such a man with contacts in the highest circles can be of service to our organization.” The letter described Sanctuary as being “not a member of the Silver Shirts, but of the new wing of the Republican party.
Walter, who emerged from the welter of the hearings as a rather unhappy figure occupying a position he did not relish as head of the Friends of New Germany, forced to take the dictation of three men whom, apparently, he did not regard highly, gave a picture of the Nazi set-up.
He declared that he considered himself a “straw man” as head of the “Friends.”
“BIG THREE” HANG ON
“Gissibl is out of the organization,” he complained, “but he continued to hold tight and will not let” go.
Kappe and Schuster, he said, also could not be ousted. Once, Walter said, he had attempted to enlist police aid in an effort to dislodge the hold of the “big three.”
The friendly of Representative McCormack, which has thus far directed the committee successfully to excellent results, forced Walter to concede that under the aegis of the “big three” the Friends of New Germany has its basis in the theory and program of the German Nazi Party.
Walter said he had banned the wearing of uniforms at meetings but was powerless to enforce his decrees upon the “ushers” who, apparently acting on the orders of the “big three,” persisted in strutting their regalia. He asserted that despite the league’s ban on Masons, a number of them belonged to the organization.
Walter admitted that the organization distributed “literature,’ which Representative Dickstein insisted was “propaganda” and which Walter compromised on by calling “enlightenment.”
Walter and Spier, while both denying acquaintance with Pelley, admitted considering him for propaganda purposes following receipt of a letter from him in which he declared he was in a position to distribute tens of thousands of pamphlets of your literature if we can arrive at a reciprocal agreement.”