A long-awaited schism which will make a shambles of the German – American Conference and will leave the high-handed element which has seized its important offices to carry on its Nazified political machinations by itself, appeared in the immediate offing Friday.
Approximately one-third of the conference’s purported membership of 200,000 seemed ready to withdraw from under its wing by an overt act of secession. Both the United Bavarian Societies, of which Dr. Louis A. Ewald is president, and the United Singing Societies of New York, headed by Jacob Mebus, indicated that their smouldering dissatisfaction with the policies of self-appointed leaders of the conference has reached a climax. Between them these two groups have about 60,000 members.
Developments which have come since the Jewish Daily Bulletin’s disclosure of Dr. Ewald’s “resignation” as chairman of the conference’s new political committee, reveal the surgeon as a Horatio-at-the-bridge figure who originally took the post in the hope that he could stave off suicidal policies contemplated by the group’s more completely Hitlerized members.
He withdrew, it became clear, when he discovered his fight for conservatism was doomed beforehand.
From the welter of internal strife within the German-American ranks emerged a new “Fuehrer,” whom persons in close contact with the situation describe as a man with personal political ambitionsâ€”Louis A. Zahne, one of the publishers of the Nazi Deutsche Zeitung.
Zahne, who is virtually certain to be the political committee’s next chairman, made the following statement at a recent meeting of the German-American Independent Voters League:
“Next Friday we’ll announce the candidates. We’ll analyze them. If they deceive us we’ll give them plenty of rope and if rope’s not enough we’ll use other methods.
“Remember, we are a militant body. We fight for what we want and only by doing our share on this side we will get support from the other side.”
OUT OF GERMAN DAY
The United Singing Societies of New York, which the German-American Conference lists as a member organization, is not in sympathy with sentiments such as these, its leaders declared Friday in explaining why their group refused to take part in the German Day celebration to be held on October 6 under the auspices of the conference and the United German Society.
Invitation to participate was turned down for two reasons: first, because not enough time for preparation was allowed between the time it was issued and the date when the Madison Square Garden rally will be held; second, because, in the words of one of its officers, “we are interested in singing, not in politics.”
The United Singing Societies, it was explained, is only nominally a member of the German-American Conference, and has taken part in none of its deliberations since its Nazification last May. Complete withdrawal, it was admitted, is in the air, with the prospect that many other similar groups will take identical action, and that a new parent body, free of the Nazi taint, will be formed.
INVITE LIBERAL SENATORS
Meanwhile preparations for the German Day celebration went on, with President Roosevelt, Senators Borah and LaFollette, Ambassador Hans Luther and St. John Gaffney, former American consul at Munich, invited as speakers.
The October issue of the Steuben News, organ of the Steuben Society, which in the past always has considered itself the sole political spokesman for the German-American element, attacks the German – American Conference in the following editorial:
“When the chairman of the German-American Conference was informed that the United Singing Societies of New York had declined to take part in the celebration of German Day on October 6, he deplored the fact, adding that the action of the singers ‘had again made unity of the organized German element illusory.’ What has he to say in reference to his own declaration, made at the beginning of the meeting at which he presided, to the effect that his organization could not tolerate being governed in its political action by any outside body, meaning, of course, the Steuben Society of America? The latter may possibly, it seems, be permitted to accept governance and guidance by the German – American Conference, taking no action whatsoever without previous orders from its president. And yet on previous occasions it was asserted that the conference was not going into politics. Even now its intents and purposes are camouflaged by merely appointing a political committee for the purpose, as asserted, of keeping its membership posted in matters political and eventually to endorse candidates which represent the interests of the German-American Conference and of the Germans represented in its ranks.
“Quoting the chairman again we agree with him that his action ‘had again made unity of the German element illusory.’”