Helmut von Gerlach, prominent European writer, in an article published in the Neue Weltbuehne, a Vienna publication, charges George Sylvester Viereck with being a propagandist for the Hitler government in this country.
Herr von Gerlach charges that Viereck is the soul of Hitler propaganda in the United States, that he visited Germany as the subsidized guest of Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, that he and the Nazi propaganda minister formulated plans for the Nazi propaganda system in the United States with Viereck as the paymaster.
(George) Sylvester Viereck can be inspired in those cases where the object of the enthusiasm falls within the scope of propaganda activities he has undertaken. But in his enthusiasm for the Hohenzollerns there is also an element of family consideration. His father, Louis, for several years a Social Democratic deputy in the Reichstag, was, namely, a son of Wilhelm I and the actress Viereck. Besides, certain scholars interested in the reverse side of the Hohenzollern family tree declare that the mother of the actress Viereckâ€”likewise an actress and, indeed, of Jewish bloodâ€”was a Hohenzollern daughter, so that (George) Sylvester Viereck would in a sense be a Hohenzollern of the second power. The fact of the simple grandpaternity of Wilhelm I is, at any rate, uncontested.
THE “SPIRITUAL” DEPARTMENT
During the World War (George) Sylvester Viereck was the soul of pro-German propaganda in the United States. While Mr. von Papen and Captain Boy-Ed as military and marine attaches, handled the purely material sideâ€”in the form of acts of sabotage on bridges, ships, railroads, munitions factoriesâ€”Viereck was to manage the so-called spiritual department, to spread such untruths as were considered effective in favor of the Wilhelmian Germany and to the discredit of the Allies. The money placed at his disposal from Germany made it possible for him to put out a weekly of his own for these purposes. America’s entry into the war against Germany did not hinder Papen, Boy-Ed and Viereck, but rather accelerated them somewhat.
There was a time after the war, when Viereck was very well-to-do. The great crash cost him his complete fortune.
Today (George) Sylvester Viereck is the soul of Hitler propaganda in the United States.
During the Summer and Fall, at the invitation of Goebbels and at the expense of the Minister of Propaganda, he was in Europe. His old love for the Hohenzollerns has not rusted, but he knows how to combine it with his new love for Hitler in an advantageous fashion.
When he returned to New York again at the end of September, Viereck announced to the American people:
“THE KAISER IS SO SORRY”
“The former Kaiser is very sorry that he cannot be in Germany of late, in order to take part in the rejuvenation of his people. He feels that Hitler has completed the work which Bismarck began. Hitler has saved Germany and the world from Bolshevism. Wilhelm II declares Hitler has removed the yellow stripes from the German flag.”
Viereck attempts to bring the enthusiasm for Hitler to the American people not only directly by the transmission of the ex-Kaiser’s words. He, who naturally knows the American mentality to some extent, adds something of his own which he considers indispensible. He knows that the Americans have no appreciation of Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Therefore he declared in an interview which he granted upon his return:
“Hitler will come to an understanding with the German Jews, by making an agreement with them, as he did with the Catholic Church. The boycott of Germany by foreign Jews hurts the interests of the German Jews. This applies particularly to the procedure of the American Jews.”
At this Fritz Reuter would exclaim: “That you should hide your nose in your own face!” A treaty between Hitler and the Jews similar to his concordat with the Catholic Church? Mr. Viereck knows very well that Hitler is persecuting the Jews not because of their religion but on account of their alleged race, that the Jewish wife is just as disqualifying in her effect as the Jewish grandmother of a Christian child of Christian parents. He knows that the Jew has been robbed of his equality as a citizen and must remain robbed of it according to the Nazi program. If Hitler had limited the Catholics as such in their citizenship rights and then had dared to offer the Pope a concordat, one can fairly well imagine what answer he would have received from Rome.
MAYBE IT IS “CHUTZPE”
If Herr Viereck were a full-blooded Jew, one would be forced to say that he must have “chutzpe” to be making up fables for the Americans about Hitler’s intention of making a concordat with the Jews.
His motive is noticeable. He knows how deeply the whole American people, by whom religious toleration is taken for granted, was shocked by Hitler’s crusade against the Jews. He therefore attempts to lull American public opinion by speaking of the possibility of a concordat, a pact of peace between Hitler and the Jewry of Germany.
Mr. Viereck is mistaken; he underestimates his compatriots much too much. Most Americans know little about Europe, but they know enough about Hitler Germany to be immune to Goebbels’s and Viereck’s soporific. They are not quite so dumb as Mr. Viereck would like to have them.
The Viereck-Papen-Boy-Ed propaganda was the best means, during the War, of bringing the overwhelming majority of the American people around to the side of Wilson. It cost German taxpayers an impossible amount of money and yet only harmed Germany. The Nazi propaganda of Viereck and his cohorts will have the very same effect.
Mr. Dickstein, the chairman of the House of Representatives Immigration Committee, has already announced that he would begin at once an investigation of Nazi propaganda in the United States. He has declared that he considers it absolutely necessary to take some action against Hitler’s agents, who now wish to spread hate and intolerance in America as well.
Obviously Goebbels and Viereck have drawn up quite an extensive propaganda plan for the United States. An official National Socialist party bureau has been established in New York.
George Sylvester Viereck in a statement to the Jewish Daily Bulletin responded as follows to allegations below as excerpted from Die Neue Weltbuehne’s article by Hellmut von Gerlach:
1. “Today, Sylvester Viereck is the soul of the Hitler propaganda in the United States.”
Nonsense! I can not be “the soul of Hitler propaganda in the United States” because there is no Hitler propaganda in the United States. A few tremors of the spiritual, economic, and political earthquake that struck Central Europe have traversed the ocean. I have noted a few mild defensive measures against the deliberate distortion of facts, but no adequate and systematic attempt to cope with the campaign of intimidation and terror launched for the purpose of silencing every friend and well-wisher of Germany. Camouflage, an essential element of all propaganda, did not enter into these efforts, as it did enter into the campaign of the enemies of the German people. It can not be a secret to you that many of those who battle on your side use the Jewish question as a smoke-screen for their own selfish and sinister ends.
2. “During the Summer and Fall he was in Europe at the invitation and expense of the (German) Ministry of Propaganda.”
False! I never received an invitation from the German Ministry of Propaganda, nor did they pay the expense of my trip to Europe.
3. That he and Dr. Goebbels have a definite propaganda plan for the United States.
I do not know if Dr. Goebbels has a definite propaganda campaign for the United States. That is a matter in which you must address yourself to the German Minister of Public Relations himself. I fancy that he is too busy with the task of coordinating sixty-five million Germans to make any effort in another direction.
As a student of propaganda, I could, no doubt, suggest numerous methods to combat the German-baiting which Germany’s enemies would like to cultivate once more as a national pastime. Certain extremists in your own ranks have done more for the Nazis than any German propaganda could possibly achieve. As a direct result of the clamor raised by the radical Jewish element and the Bolshevists proceeding in solid phalanx, anti-Semitism unfortunately raises its head, not only in the United States, but in Hungary, in Roumania, in Austria, in Palestine and elsewhere. This so-called “boycott” is a nuisance for Germany; it is a calamity for the Jews.
4. That he disburses funds in pursuance of propaganda activities.
5. That his statement, made on his return from Europe that “Hitler will come to an understanding with the German Jews by making an agreement with them similar to that which he made with the Catholic Church” was misleading in that he knew “quite well that Hitler is persecuting the Jews not on account of their religion but rather because of their race.”
My statement, that eventually a Concordat between the Jews and the Germans will be reached, was made in good faith. Such a Concordat could be along racial, as well as religious, lines. It would give the Jews a clearly defined legal status as a racial minority. I am afraid this hope has been made somewhat more remote by the noisy warfare and the preposterous boycott against Germany promulgated in the United States and elsewhere by radical Jewish factions, much to the distress of the German Jews, and over the protest of sane and substantial elements among the Jews in other countries.
6. That he is of partly Jewish ancestry.
I thank you for the compliment, but it is not, so far as I know, based on facts. I am the Chronicler of the Wandering Jew, but not his descendant. The roots of my family tree go to the North. The first Vierecks came from Scandinavia to Germany during the Thirty Years War. I should consider it neither a disgrace, nor a misfortune, if I should discover that in the veins of one of my forebears coursed the blood of the race that gave us Heine, Spinoza and Jesus. The fact that I have written “My First Two Thousand Years,” “Salome, the Wandering Jewess”, “The Invincible Adam”, and other books with Paul Eldridge, a Jew, should be sufficient to save me from the reproach of anti-Semitism. Incidentally, “My First Two Thousand Years” was one of the books burned by enthusiastic young Nazis when they invaded the library of my old friend, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.