Menu JTA Search

This Fascist Racket

The following is the sixteenth of a series of articles, “This Fascist Racket,” by Mr. McGrady, exposing, from the inside, the workings of a typical Fascist organization here, and revealing, through publication of the Fascist “chieftain’s” correspondence, how and in what manner these racial rackets are operated. The series appears daily in the Jewish Daily Bulletin.

While American Fascism continues to grow, the Nazi movement in the United States appears to have reached its peak of success. It is now on its way to disintegration.

In “Fascism In America,” I predicted that the Nazi element in New York would seize control of the German American Conference of Greater New York and attempt to bring under its aegis the great German American Congress which convened seven weeks ago in Cleveland.

All this has come to pass. The German American Conference, a league of a large majority of important vereins and associations of vereins in Greater New York passed into Nazi hands during the last days of May. Victor Ridder, publisher of the New Yorker Staats-Zeitung and the New Yorker Herold, which have been the conservative publications of German Americans for one hundred years, was ousted as president. He was succeeded by Hans Froehlich, one of the controllers of the DAWA.

The DAWA, the German American Protective Alliance, which has been organized by German Nazis in this country for the purpose of uniting all “Aryans” into a group that will boycott Jewish merchants and all concerns not buying German goods, has prospered. It has enriched its promoters and the United German Societies of New York, which is also under the thumb of the Nazis. It has been extended into five states in the East and Middle West. It made a strong bid for supremacy over the conservative elements of the German American Convention, and it emerged, after a strong fight, branded as having all the elements of a racket and consigned to the perdition of alien political movements that have sought a following in the United States.

SOUGHT NEW POWER

The DAWA sued for voice and vote at the German American Congress. This it did during the course of a secret business session, which in later years may constitute an important event in the history of German American society. The DAWA was beaten by a single vote. The guard-at-arms was called in to vote, when the convention had been deadlocked in a tie. This vote, I am inclined to believe, marked the turning point of the Nazi administration of German American affairs.

Carl Nicolai, who has been a shining light in the Nazi heavens since the long shadows of Hitlerism first fell across this country, represented the German American Conference at the convention. Although unauthorized by the Conference, he introduced the DAWA to the convention and fought the DAWA battle for recognition. He was given one of the severest rebukes dealt out at the convention when the convention chairman, Otto L. Fricke of Cleveland, branded Nicolai’s DAWA as “economically unsound with all the possibilities of becoming a racket.”

WEAK BOYCOTT PROTEST

At the same convention the Steuben Society was forced to change its boycott resolution, which demanded that German Americans buy only from shops that do not refuse to handle German goods, to an innocuous protest against the boycott of Nazi Germany.

Since the convention the DAWA has found it almost impossible to popularize itself in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago. According to reports from these cities neither the DAWA rallies nor the DAWA ideas appeal to the public.

It is not likely that the DAWA will collapse altogether. There promise to be spurts and stops over an indefinite period of time until it finally simmers out. It will never live down the designation of German American society however, and wherever it raises its ugly head, someone within the ranks of German American society will be sure to shout, “Racket.”

DAWA LUCRATIVE

Of all the Nazi rackets existent, the DAWA is one of the most lucrative. In New York approximately three thousand business concerns have paid from $5 to $150 each (depending upon how much the solicitor thought could be raised) for the privilege of being listed in the DAWA Trade Guide. It is reported that fifteen thousand persons in New York have each paid one dollar for the privilege of wearing the DAWA button. The proceeds are used to keep up a DAWA office, pay salaries and expense accounts to a few of the more enterprising persons who head the organization, afford solicitors and clerks in sympathy with the Nazi movement an income, and enrich the United German Societies which has been in debt.

DAWA terrorism has somewhat subsided. At first efforts were made to intimidate merchants into joining. Scores of shops in the Yorkville area bear the impressions of swastikas cut into their windows, because they would not adhere to the DAWA. Jews in Yorkville, dealing exclusively in German products, were boycotted until their sales fell off to negligible quantities. Nazis, pretending to be buyers, were sent into shops to force “Aryans” to join the DAWA, and to insult Jewish merchants. But this is gradually easing off.

TO MEET IN CHICAGO

The DAWA will make its climactic stand in Chicago at a national convention October 21-23. There will be an elaborate display of German goods at more than one hundred stands in the Hotel Stevens. Nazis from all parts of the country will be invited to attend, and low rates will have been secured for their travel and upkeep expenses. They will be expected to go forth from Chicago to spread the DAWA gospel of race hatred in their cities and hamlets and to seek to break down the boycott of German wares.

So lucrative has the DAWA become, that it is jealously guarded against other Nazi chiselers who would “muscle in.” Hence, the Friends of New Germany, itself paying excellent dividends to its promoters, has been excluded from the DAWA as a unit. The business acumen of the promoters who built the Friends to a paying basis was feared by the trustees of the DAWA.

MAD MONEY SCRAMBLE

And this is the sickening element of the Nazi movement in this country. There is a mad scramble for money by those who are on top of and behind the Nazi movement, while the masses of sincere Germans, whose idealism leads them to a defense of the German administration, “right or wrong,” are being mulcted right and left. In other articles I propose to bring out more clearly the financial aspects of the Nazi movement which may enlighten some of the geese who compose it as to their golden nature.

Like Hitler, who serves the German people as chancellor without salary, but whose newspaper remains as one of the few successful sheets in Germany, like Goering, who is one of the most inspiring “idealists” of the New Germany but who is not adverse to receiving pay from the many offices he holds; like Goebbels, also an “idealist” but who finds it necessary to rake in the huge profits of his newspaper; so do the leaders of the Nazi movement in this country serve an ideal—the golden calf.

It is this element of racketeering that must eventually make the Nazi movement here collapse from sheer inability of its corrupt structure to hold together.

MANY DROPPING OUT

Even now a number of the amateur idealists are breaking away from the professional ranks, mainly because they feel that they were not cut in on the dividends as they deserved. They are ready to “sell” their part and the organization for a few pieces of silver. Others are turning away in utter disgust, and they are too discouraged to care to discuss the matter.

I have recently received a letter from a German newspaperman who has sacrificed his job, his reputation as a newspaperman, his home, and virtually every material possession for his cause, which appears to be to defend Germany in America. He has given no sanction to reproduce his letter, which is touching; but I believe I violate no confidence in quoting from it. He states:

“My fight has been one for truth and justice, and even my political opponents never did have reasons to doubt my honesty or to accuse me of unfairness concerning my writings. I have always been and still am a Free Lance of Journalism, and as such I have stood up for the right regardless of the consequences. I have never received any compensation from American friends nor from Europe for my work. I have starved for my idealism, but I have been straight about it and never dirtied my hands with ‘made to order labor.’

“TIRED OF MISERY”

“Really, it doesn’t matter much what happens to me. I am tired of misery and unjust antagonism. I meant well, I have gained nothing for myself and I really don’t care what is to become of me. A man may starve and suffer only a certain length of time and mine has reached the limit.

HAS NO FEAR

“So if you feel like it, go to it and fight it out. I can take it as well as I gave it to the enemies of the country I love more than my life. I am not afraid; for it can’t come worse for me than it has already.

“This latest disappointment in Friends has taken my confidence in mankind away from me for ever and I do not expect anymore to be treated kind and good. I guess it would kill me, if I should ever experience a real friendly and true treatment.

“All these years I have worked for nothing and have defended that what I thought was right and honest. What did I get for it? Jealousy of my little success as a writer, slander and unjust accusations and now at the end I am made the goat for people who don’t seem to know what ethics are.

“That is all I ever received for my work; that and the most miserable starvation a man may experience.”

This man, from what I know of him, has been an idealist. He has fought for Germany, although he is not a member of the National Socialist Party. He has fought “those Jews who are the enemies of my country,” and he has been regarded as a most effective man in stirring up pro-German and incidentally anti-Jewish sentiment here. Aggressive as he was in prosecuting his ideals, however, he was not sufficiently aggressive for his own ends. So the “big shots” who cornered the American Fascist and anti-Semitic market exploited his ideals, and left him in the position he describes so graphically.

And so it is with thousands of others like him.

To be continued tomorrow

NEXT STORY