Louis T. Zahne, a large, pink, prosperous-looking man whose appearance in some respects suggests that of Hermann Goering, sits in his office at 205 East Eighty-fifth street and chuckles jovially when it is suggested that he is destined for fuehrership of German-American Nazidom.
Zahne doesn’t dislike the idea, but he has a politician’s way of deprecating his personal ambitions.
As chairman of the German-American Independent Voters League and as an important member of the inner councils of the Friends of New Germany he is wielding a growing influence among sympathizers and potential sympathizers with the Hitler regime.
A PRESS AGENT
A reporter for the Jewish Daily Bulletin, who was interviewing him and Dr. Herbert Schnuch, national president of the “Friends,” asked Zahne what his status is with that organization.
“You might call me its public relations agent,” he suggested airily.
Groomed as next chairman of the political committee of the German – American Conference, Zahne is not at all what one would expect him to be.
On the edge of forty, polished, suave, friendly and good-humored in manner, he is American-born, of native German parentage.
“CHILD OF BOYCOTT”
“You may say for me that I am a child of the Untermyer boycott,” he asserted. “Until recently I never belonged to a German society. But various incidents that have occurred in this country since Hitler’s accession have driven me into the fold.”
He described purported examples of Jewish or Jewish-bred discrimination against persons of German racial background here, in defense of his claim that “the so-called Nazi movement in the United States is purely defensive.”
“Incidentally.” he said, “it is incorrect to call us Nazis. Pro-German, yes; Nazi, no. May 1 point out that all our high officials in this organization (he referred to the Friends of New Germany) are American citizens.”
Dr. Sehnuch, one of the participants in the three-cornered chat â€”for the tendency on the part of these two men was to interview the reporter nearly as much as they themselves were interviewed â€”nodded his assent.
SEHNUCH LIKE GOEBBELS
He more nearly conforms to the general public conception of Nazis. Also about forty years old, with hair graying at the temples, he was born and resided in Germany until 1923. If Zahne looks a little like Goering, Schnuch in a vague way suggests Goebbels.
Not very tall, rather thin, with a drawn, heavily lined, stern mouth, he speaks with a strong German accent. After he received his Ph. D. degree in languages at Yale University in 1933, he went to Germany to study during the summer at the University of Bonn, returning to America that September.
Zahne has never been to Germany. He would like to go there, he says, purely out of interest in what is going on.
NO REICH UNITS
Both men deny unqualifiedly that any of the organizations with which they are affiliated has any connection, direct or indirect, with official Nazidom in the Reich.
Zahne further insists that despite repeated reference to him as one of the publishers of New York’s Nazi Deutsche Zeitung he has nothing other than a friendly interest in that publication.
“Our greatest member getter,” he laughed, “is Congressman Dickstein. He has driven people into our group by the score. I hope no evil befalls him.”
Somewhat ruefully he suggested that “the Jewish Daily Bulletin knows more about what is going on among us than we do ourselves.”
“You apparently have sources of information that we’d like to track down,” he said. “I can see your stories come from bona fide sources, all right, but you can take my word for it that the facts contained in them frequently come as a surprise to us.”
Before going into his present work, he declared, he was in the real estate business. He still maintains an office down town, he said.
The building in which he and Dr. Schnuch have their offices contains a precious collection of occupants. In the heart of Yorkville, on Eighty-fifth street just off Third avenue, it houses, among others, Attorney Alphonse Koelble, Henry Woisin and Anton Haegele, all of them active Nazi sympathizers, the latter two in the offices of the Friends.
Questioned regarding the inscription on the door, which described the place as the offices of the “Efdende,” Zahne explained that this is a synthetic word made up of the first letters of the German name of the League of the Friends of New Germany.
“One thing I would appreciate,” he said, by way of request. “Would you please quote me as saying that I have no desire to ‘put the skids’ under C. K. Froehlich? He is a nice man and I don’t think he should be punished for making a mistake in the Nischk matter, if the fault was his.”
Zahne was referring to a recent story in the Jewish Daily Bulletin which carried the prediction of a Nazi informant that Froehlich was doomed to lose his high place in German-American circles, as a result of the announced “endorsement” of the candidacy of Karl G. Nischk for the House of Representatives by the political committee of the German-American Conference.
In regard to the committee, both Schnuch and Zahne assured the reporter that it will neither meet nor make announcements until after German day.
Both men expressed some surprise at what they referred to as “the moderate tone” of the Jewish Daily Bulletin. They were amazed that this newspaper “prints facts, and not mere lies calculated to ‘put us in bad.'”
In discussing the Jewish situation in Germany, they re-voiced the old bromides which attempt to explain away the situation by placing the blame with “a few bad Jewsâ€”mostly from Poland and Galiciaâ€” on whose account the rest have suffered.”
Both men assured the reporter that they bear no personal animosity toward the Jews.
Zahne was frank in stating, however, that he could no longer have business relations with Jews since in his opinion any such relationship would suffer through a feeling of mutual distrust.
GERMAN DAY SPEAKERS
Zahne and Schnuch were both to play prominent parts in the German Day celebration at Madison Square Garden Saturday. They were to be among the speakers, which also included Dr. Hans Borchers, German consul general here, and numerous leaders of German societies.
New York Nazi leaders confidently expected the demonstration to be a convincing exhibition of German-American unity â€” helped along not a little by high-powered tactics which won last-minute decisions, on the part of heretofore recalcitrant groups, to participate.
A detail of 600 uniformed city policemen was slated to guard against disturbance. Among this detachment were to be forty-five mounted men, fifty sergeants and several high officers, who were to go on duty at 4 P. M., although the gathering was not to take place until evening. Police also were ordered to hold 200 additional patrolmen ready for relief duty in case the meeting had not ended by midnight.
The build-up given the occasion by Nazi leaders here evoked a response from Das Vaterland, in the form of a Reich delegation which arrived in New York on Friday aboard the S.S. Hamburg for the express purpose of attending the celebration.