by Pat McGrady Author of Fascism in America
In a little attic room in the Kreutzer Hall in Yorkville the Uschla, a sort of a tong court established by the League of Friends of New Germany to rule upon treason and traitors within the movement, has met on a number of occasions.
The Uschla has an influence in its group comparable to the power of excommunication among the Catholics or the pronouncement of a “charem” among orthodox Jews. Once damned by the Uschla, a man becomes an outcast in Nazi society. Members of the Friends of New Germany, according to the ruling of the body, are to have no further business nor social intercourse with the condemned. Walter Kappe, one of the leading lights in the Friends of New Germany and editor of the League organ, the Deutsche Zeitung, admits as much, but he qualifies these assertions with the statement that:
“The rule is frequently broken, and those condemned by the Uschla sometimes find members who remain friendly.”
Such was the case of Werner Haag, a handsome, young fellow who sold Das Neue Deutschland, the fore-runner to the Deutsche Zeitung, to its present owners for the sum of one dollar. Haag did this, as he told the McCormack Congressional Committee, because he “didn’t know how to run a newspaper.” He also intimated before the committee that he felt some apprehension as to the safety of his relatives in Germany. Haag sold Das Neue Deutschland for one dollar although it was on a paying basis, German business and shipping interests having given it generous advertising subsidies, and although the cash assets of the paper amounted to about $400.
When asked why Haag should be such a poor business man as to sell the paper, its good will, and its cash for one dollar, Kappe recently said, “Because,” as he told the Congressional Committee, “he didn’t know anything about newspapers.” Kappe could not recall exactly how much cash was thrown into the bargain, but he expressed doubt that it amounted to $400.
EXISTENCE OF COURTS PROVEN
That the Nazis, who have advocated non-amalgamation with Americans, “because” as Kappe once put it, “as German Americans we are mongrels,” have isolated themselves to such extent that they pass on criminal doings within their fold quite independently of courts is a fairly well established fact.
Friedrich Karl Kruppa, a resigned member of the Friends of New Germany who has expressed a willingness to give information on the “corrupt” practices of the Friends of New Germany, described a meeting of the Uschla which he professed to have attended on January 23, 1934, as follows:
Before the meeting of the Uschla committee there was a lot of secret doings. Everybody was whispering in the little attic room of the Kreutzer Hall. I was told to stand by because I was to be a star witness against the dependant.
“The Uschla Committee was composed of three men, Griesinger, Trawnic and Ostermann. There were five witnesses to testify against Mr. H., who was accused of treason to the fatherland.
“When the trial was over, everybody pledged his word not to mention the matter to anyone and to be sure that Fritz Gissibl, the leader of the Friends of New Germany, did not learn of it. The next day, however, everybody in Yorkville knew everything that happened. The man’s reputation was ruined.
THREATENED BY COMMITTEE
“I was given the minutes of the meeting, and everybody wanted to take them away from me. I was threatened by members of the committee who tried to get me to surrender the papers so they could be sent back to Germany. They were supposed to go to the Geheime Polizei in Berlin.
“On February 8 I came home late one night to see seven men in my room, some of whom I had never before seen. One was a German secret police, but I do not care to reveal his name at this time. He took the protocols back to Germany.
“On the previous day, Wendel Del Monteroca was called before the committee for suspected theft. The money had been inked with an invisible fluid. When Del Monteroca went to wash his hands the ink stain appeared and the harder he washed the blacker his hands became. He was found guilty as a thief and excommunicated from the Uschla.
“He was a very nervous man. The rest of the crowd stood around and said, ‘My, how nervous you are.’ One asked him to sit down to the typewriter to write something, but he was too nervous to write. They stripped him naked in searching for the money, which amounted to about $120.”
Kruppa was deprived of the leadership of the German Youth Group in New York by Fritz Gissibl, who has been absolute dictator over the Friends of New Germany since Heinz Spanknoebel, who fled to Germany in the face of a federal indictment charging him with representing his government here subversively, disappeared. Gissibl pleaded with the group at a meeting in the Kreutzer Hall on April 18 and succeeded in turning them against their leader, according to Kruppa. Kruppa says that despite his efforts to obtain a hearing from the Uschla, he has been summarily dismissed from the Friends of New Germany and suffered the loss of his Jungsturm publication, without having been granted any consideration. The Jungsturm happened to be making money for Kruppa.
When Kruppa took the youth movement in hand last year thirty boys belonged to it. When he was forced to surrender it to the professional Nazis they numbered 250. The boys are dressed in the manner of the Hitler Jugend in Germany. They are given tasks to perform in the city, which calls for drilling and searches through the streets. They are marched in the manner of their older brothers, the American Nazi stormtroopers.
GROUP FOR GIRLS, TOO
There is an organization for the younger girls, who are clad in blue cotton dresses after the style of the Hitler girls in Germany, and they number approximately two hundred. They sing and make themselves generally useful at Nazi affairs here.
Their older sisters are clad in brown and resemble in all respects the young women’s organizations of Hitler’s Germany. They are under the direct supervision of Corporal Hauptner of the storm troops and are called the Girls Department of the Ordnung Dienst. While it is claimed that there are only twenty girls registered in this department a much larger turnout has been encountered at a number of New York Nazi affairs.
The Nazi storm troops here, which have changed their name from Schutz Staffel (as the higher grade storm troops are called in Germany) to Ordnung Dienst, are identical with the storm troops in Germany in dress. There are 700 of them in New York City. They drill on Monday and Thursday evenings in the Kreutzer Hall, as admitted by Kappe, and are divided into O.D.-A. (the “regulars” who drill on Thursday) and O.D.-B. (the “reserves,” who drill on Monday).
According to the testimony rendered to the McCormack Committee by Gissibl, he returned to Germany some months ago to try to persuade Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, head of the Nazi foreign department, to abandon an order demanding that all members of the National Socialist Party here resign from the Friends of New Germany. Some resentment is still held against the Fuehrer because he paid Nazi money to travel on a French ship back to the fatherland while one of the prime objects of his movement here is to encourage patronage of German ships and wares.
GISSIBL WANTED CONTROL
Kruppa now states that Gissibl sought control not only of the Friends of New Germany but also of the American branch of the National Socialist Party. Kruppa says that Gissibl has purposely failed to announce that for the last three months the German Nazi office has been receiving party membership applications from Germans abroad. “Gissibl hopes by this to keep those who would join the Nazi ‘Party’ and their dues within the Friends of New Germany,” he said.
Gissibl, shortly before appearing before the McCormack Committee in New Yorkâ€”a few hours before â€”filed for his first citizenship papers. Four months ago he announced his resignation from the Friends of New Germany, stating that he intended returning to Germany to help build up the Nazi Party, of which he was then a member. Despite his resignation, however, he continued to thrive on the Friends of New Germany by extracting from their income extremely liberal expense accounts.
The present nominal head of the Friends of New Germany is Hubert Schnuch, in office now for almost one month. Two months ago in Washington, Gissibl, then supposed to be out of the Friends of New Germany, testified before the Congressional Committee that Schnuch was his man and that he would have him elected head of the Friends of New Germanyâ€”as he did shortly after.
WALTER ATTACKED GISSIBL
At the national convention of the Friends of New Germany on July 1st, Reinhold Walter, doomed to retire as national head (as national “straw man” as he confessed he was before the McCormack Committee), gained the floor and before the representatives of America’s forty-four cells of the Nazi Friends of New Germany excoriated Gissibl.
He charged Gissibl with having broken his promise to Bohle, never again to speak in public nor to hold office. This Gissibl denied, but, according to some who attended the convention, Walter produced a written promise to this effect signed by Gissibl and addressed to Bohle. As one of the members later put it: “For the first time since I’ve known Gissibl, I saw him absolutely speechless.”
At the same meeting serious charges of racketeering against the leaders were read. The fact that all happened to be paid leaders annulled whatever effect they might have had. The charges were written by Kruppa and distributed in circular form.
Some reason that the recent change of heart undergone by Gissibl, which caused the Fuehrer to abandon plans for building up the Third Reich and devote himself, as an American, to the construction of that fine American organization, the Friends of New Germany, was occasioned by Gissibl’s defiance of orders from Bohle and the fact that a sizeable fund collected by the Friends of New Germany now rests in a New York bank. It is understood that this fund, most of which was saved during the conservative reign of Reinhold Walter, amounts to $6,000 and is banked in the name of a private person. With dissolution of the movement it is believed that the first to grab would be the best rewarded. Hence Gissibl remains in this country.
To Be Continued Tomorrow