Early yesterday national control of the League of Friends of New Germany was nominally turned over to Hubert Schnuch, former Yale University instructor. The old guard, headed by Reinhold Walter, went out without so much as a peep, after its doom had been sealed during a three-day conference of cell leaders representing the forty-four orts-gruppen (units) of the organization.
The new officers were welcomed into power with great hullabaloo by approximately 5,000 members of the Friends of New Germany and their sympathizers, who gathered Wednesday at the Plattdeutsche Volksfest Park in Franklin Square, Long Island. Beer kegs and orators spouted, storm troopers paraded, the Heil Hitler chorus went on unremittingly, and swastikas were found everywhere, swastika Japanese lanterns in the trees and the ballroom bunting covered with swastikas, gates draped with swastikas, swastikas on ties, coat lapels, armbands and even in the Nazis’ hair.
The surrender of power followed much the same lines as that which recently took place in Germany, except that the deposed lived to tell the tale. The old crowd, headed by the “Big Three,” Fritz Gissibl, Walter Kappe and Joseph Schuster (all non-citizens), are more firmly in the saddle than ever.
Gissibl, who has fostered the development of the Friends of New Germany since its incipient stage here, virtually told the McCormack Congressional Committee Investigating Nazi Activities that he continued to hold power after his “resignation” last March. He told the committee that Reinhold Walter “had to go” and that he would be replaced by a Gissibl man, named at the time as Hubert Schnuch.
All this has come to pass, Schnuch, “elected” Sunday, promptly appointed Gissibl head of the Mid-West District of the Friends of New Germany. Joseph Schuster, No. Two Man of the “Big Three” and head of the local storm troops, appointed as head of the Eastern District. Hermann Schwinn, another Gissibl supporter, remains head of the Western District.
Walter was done to death politically with a vote of four out of a total of forty-four. His supporters, some authorities have it, may find themselves replaced in the near future.
200 CHILDREN PRESENT
Walter Kappe, editor of the Deutsche Zeitung and third member of the “Big Three,’ is a member of the National Committee of the Friends of New Germany. The committee is composed of Kappe, Anton Haegele, Louis Zahne, Henry Woisin, Dr. Griesinger and Dr. Hugo Haas. The latter is the leader of the Jungsturm, which cooperate with the storm troopers.
Wednesday’s affair was brightened by the presence of some 200 children, all in uniforms corresponding to that of the Hitler Jugend in Germany. The male of the species numbering 100, were clad in the manner of their big brothers, the storm troopers, or “Ordnungsdienst,” as they prefer to be called in this country. They wore black trousers (similar to those of the Schutz Staffel in Germany), high black boots, brown shirts, black neckerchiefs and swastika armbands.
The 100 young girls were gowned in blue cotton dresses after the fashion of Hitler maidens in Germany.
Spasmodically throughout the day the storm troopers and their young comrades would snap to attention and march the length of the park, while their civilian sympathizers cheered, saluted in the Nazi manner and shouted, “Heil Hitler!”
Formal speeches included those of Henry Beerman, president of the Plattdeutsche Volksfest Verein, who voiced his society’s friendship with the Friends of New Germany; George Schneider, president of the Swabian Singing Society; Captain John Rossen of the Brooklyn Safety Corps; Fred Harms, president of the Bederskesa’er Club, and Joseph Schuster of the Friends of New Germany, who demanded that all German societies unite with his group for a “United Germandom here and in the Fatherland.”
Unofficial speeches were myriad during the course of the evening and they invariably lauded Hitler and various aspects of Hitlerism.
Reinhold Walter, who admitted before the McCormack Committee that he had been merely a “straw man” behind whom Gissibl, Kappe and Schuster operated, was not present. Walter is to be let down easily. He will conduct a tour to Germany within the next few days, and on his return will find himself without power, it is said in Nazi circles. He is an American citizen. So is Schnuch, his successor as “dummy.”
FRATERNIZE WITH NEGRO
Wednesday’s celebration included one interesting incident. Along about the time when they began carrying away empty beer barrels, Nazis mellowed to such extent that they embraced a Negro minstrel who wandered into their park. He sang German songs and sang them excellently. Under the mellowing influence of beer, a number of the Nazis invited him to their tables, plied him with good Bavarian brew and induced him to sing German and Negro airs, thereby committing two cardinal sins according to the Nazi code: (1) Mingling with a race inferior to the “Aryan,” and (2) listening to the music of “America’s Negro civilization.”
For their racial indiscretions the Nazis made up in part, however. At target practise with 22 calibre rifles, in which hundreds indulged, some of them insisted on calling the bull’s eye “Israel,” and there was great to-do when direct hits were made.
A number of youngsters stood around in silver shirt trappings, and they somewhat compensated for Nazi rowdiness. They looked askance at the revelry and on occasion, collared a Nazi who remained sober enough to stand or too well gone to resist and lectured him on necessity for action against Jews.