German Day Speakers Chosen to Blunt Edge of Anti-nazi Protest
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German Day Speakers Chosen to Blunt Edge of Anti-nazi Protest

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With Dr. Hans Luther, German ambassador to the United States, leading the procession, the choice of speakers scheduled to take part in the German Day program at Madison Square Garden Wednesday has been designed to forestall complaint on the part of Jews in New York.

This was the opinion held in many Jewish circles here Friday when full plans for the German Day celebration became known.

The fact that the swastika will be on display will keep many German Jews from attending the demonstration, inasmuch as a resolution voted by the Federation of German Jewish Societies two months ago provides that no member shall take part in any demonstration at which the swastika is hoisted. The presence of the ambassador makes mandatory the display of the Hitler emblem.

Besides Ambassador Luther, the following have been announced as having accepted invitations to speak: Secretary of Commerce Daniel C. Roper, Major General F. P. Preston of the War Department, Rear Admiral Yates F. Sterling, Professor F. I. Harper, and Theodore Hoffman, chairman of the National Council of the Steuben Society.

Ambassador Luther will deliver a message of greeting and the wishes of the Hitler administration.

Secretary of Commerce Roper will represent President Roosevelt, who has announced his inability to attend the celebration. He was invited early in November, when a delegation of officials of the Steuben Society, sponsors of the affair, repaired to Washington to discuss the anti-German boycott and to invite a number of officials and their ambassador to address the demonstration.

The German Day celebration scheduled for last October under the auspices of the United German Societies, traditional sponsors of the annual affair, was suspended by Mayor O’Brien when it was decided that Heinz Spanknoebel, leader of the Nazis in this country and foremost orator at the affair, had planned to make the fest an occasion for the dissemination of pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic propaganda.


It is understood from members of German societies connected with the affair that plans for the celebration scheduled for Wednesday have unofficially fallen into the hands of the United German Societies and the League of Friends of New Germany, the latter’s officers having gained control of the United German Societies. Possibility of protest, however, has been minimized by the Steuben Society’s failure to take other German organizations into their confidence. At two meetings, at which the Steuben Society met representatives from other vereins and federations, a time limit was set which made impossible argument or protest on the matter. All reporters were excluded from these sessions, and the proceedings were retained with the greatest secrecy.

So far as can be learned, Jewish members of the Steuben Society have not protested the Swastika display.

It is believed that the presence of government officials on the program will be a strong deterrent to any action Jewish leaders might contemplate in protesting the affair.

Should the celebration be carried out as scheduled and should the swastika be permitted to be on display, it will be one of the rare occasions upon which the emblem of Hitler will have waved over American citizens at public demonstrations.


Press files during recent months have become a record of refusals by various authorities to allow the hooked cross to be waved over American citizens.

In September the mayor of San Francisco banned a German celebration because it was believed the display of the swastika would incite rioting and violence. The mayor’s order was carried out over the protest of many Germans sympathetic to the Hitler cause.

In Philadelphia on October 7 Germans celebrated German Day without the swastika. Dr. Hans Luther refused to speak unless the flag were hoisted above the rostrum. It was not. He did not. But he did take part in the preliminary exercises.

As in the case of the ill-fated plans for celebration of German Day in New York, Philadelphia authorities refused to allow the plans to go on because of the participation in them by the League of Friends of New Germany, Hitlerite organization in the United States.

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