by Herman Bernstein Contributing Editor
The United German Societies of Greater New York celebrated German Day, commemorating the landing in the United States of the first German immigrants in 1683. The mass meeting in Madi#on Square Garden was presided over by Dr. Ignatz T. Griebl, the former president of the “Friends of the New Germany” and intimate collaborator with Heinz Spanknoebel, the notorious Nazi propagandist who fled this country upon learning that he had been indicted and that the Federal Government was trying to have him arrested. The German Day celebration was in every detail a tribute to Adolf Hitler and his despotic dictatorship.
The German Consul General in New York, Dr. Hans Borchers, addressing the audience in Madison Square ###rden, said that “never has Germany had such a government of the people, for the people and by the people as Adolf Hitler’s.”
The chairman of the meeting declared:
“We shall demand adequate representation in city, country, State and Federal governments. Representatives of the existing political machines might as well realize once and for all that we shall make these demands. The time has now come for all German Americans to demand representation in the government.”
And then he exclaimed:
“Those who fight us must perishâ€”socially as well as economicallyâ€”because of our determination to destroy our enemies completely and without any consideration whatever.”
One of the speakers, Louis Zahne, chairman of the German-American Independent Voters’ League, said that the Germans looked with hope to the day when “a President of German blood and German ideals shall occupy the President’s chair in the White House.”
A letter from President Roosevelt, addressed to Carl Nicolai, president of the German societies, was read. Among other things, the President wrote:
“I am very happy to have the opportunity to send a message of greeting and good wishes to those participating in the celebration of German Day.
“The contributions made by persons of German blood to the upbuilding of this country has been an important one. …
“The qualities and accomplishments of these elements in our history have become a valued part of the common heritage of the American people.”
After the reading of President Roosevelt’s letter, the chairman called for three “heils” for “the Leader, Adolf Hitler” and also for the President of the United States.
The German Day celebration was a typical Nazi mass meeting, with swastikas, and “heils” for Hitler, and banners urging the Germans in America to awaken.
President Roosevelt praised the “contributions made by persons of German blood to the upbuilding of this country,” but he referred to the past, not to the present; to those German-Americans who had fled from Germany and had become Americans, who participated in the upbuilding of America as Americans, not as Germans. Those splendid Americans of German origin would have had nothing in common with the bigoted despotism that is crushing and degrading the German people today.
There may come a time when an American of German origin will occupy “the President’s chair in the White House,” but he will have to be a President of American ideals, and not of “German ideals.”
The German Consul General’s attempt to liken Hitler to Lincoln is both an insult to Americans and a libel on the German people who are now ruled by violence and who have been robbed of all their liberties under the Nazi regime.
The demand of the so-called German-Americans for political representation in American life as Germans will undoubtedly be resented by Americans. No other element in the United States has demanded political representation here on the basis of its allegiance to a foreign nation and its despotic rulers. Such representation is absolutely incompatible with American ideals and institutions.