Menu JTA Search

Now-editorial Notes

Download PDF for this date

His Honor

Fiorello H. LaGuardia

Mayor of the City of New York

New York, N. Y.

Dear Mr. Mayor:

On May 17 the DAWA (Deutsch-Amerikanische Wirtschafts Ausschuss-German-American Trade Committee) is scheduled to hold a “Mass Demonstration” at Madison Square Garden. The mass demonstration is announced as follows:


May 17, 1934

Madison Square Garden

Germandom of New York Turn Out to the



United Germandom in the U.S.A.


The Unconstitutional Jewish Boycott

Well Known Speakers in German and English

MILITARY CONCERT of the strengthened Cell Band


This mass demonstration of German-Americans is directed against American Jews and all other citizens who have protested against the religious, racial and political persecutions practiced by the Hitler government upon Jews, Catholics, Protestants, intellectuals, radicals, liberals and pacifists. The mass demonstration is intended to launch a campaign under the slogan of “Boycott the Boycotters.” In other words, these so-called German-Americans, instigated and inspired by a foreign government, are determined to stir hatred and prejudice and to organize a boycott against American citizens on racial, religious and political grounds in this great city.

When Americans-Jews and Gentiles-outraged by the inhuman cruelties perpetrated by the Nazi government which shocked the conscience of the civilized world, instituted a defensive boycott against German-made goods, they made it clear to everyone that such a boycott was in no way directed against American citizens of German origin. For the great majority of Americans of German origin is pro-American and not pro-Nazi. As a matter of fact the anti-German boycott in this city affected chiefly the big Jewish department store owners, who had been making their purchases in Germany and who were selling German goods here. By no stretch of the imagination could the anti-German boycott here be construed as a boycott against German-Americans.

The DAWA, according to the admission of the local Nazi organ, the Deutsche Zeitung, is an economic and political machine to secure the boycott of American Jewry. The initials are interpreted on posters as “Deutsche Amerikaner Wach Auf” (German-Americans Wake Up!)

The DAWA is reported to be working energetically in this city, organizing a widespread anti-Jewish boycott, intimidating shopkeepers in the sections populated by German-Americans.

There is a vast accumulation of evidence of Nazi agitation and propaganda in this city of an unmistakably un-American and anti-American character. There is evidence of alien bigotry and animosity and race hatred, made in Germany and disseminated in this country. There is evidence that such propaganda is directed not only against Jews but also against American officials in high office, and against American institutions of democracy. The ugly monster of bigotry and hate has stretched its claws across the Atlantic in an effort to Nazify America.

The projected mass demonstration is being staged by Nazified German-Americans for the purpose of inciting strife and conflict between one group of Americans and another. It is an organized attempt to introduce Hitlerism in this country. Many of the Nazified German-Americans behind this movement wear Nazi uniforms, sing Nazi songs of hate and take their orders from an alien government.

The mass demonstration is likely to lead to disturbances and disorder because of the provocative designs behind the movement. In order to avert unfortunate complications and consequences, it seems to me that Your Honor would be justified in stopping this mass demonstration. Such a step would not be in violation of the principle of freedom of speech and assemblage. Those who maintain that if the anti-Nazi meetings are permitted, the pro-Nazi meetings should also be permitted, fall to see the difference between the motives of these meetings. The anti-Nazi meetings have been organized by American citizens to express their sympathy with those who are wronged and persecuted by the Nazis on racial, political and religious grounds. The pro-Nazi meetings of the type of this projected mass demonstration are intended for the purpose of expressing sympathy with those who are persecuting innocent people, and also of endeavoring to implant in this country the seeds of foreign hate and prejudice.

I would be the last man to ask you to prohibit any orderly meeting, even a pro-Nazi meeting, if it were not organized deliberately to promote destructive allen interests, to spread the germs of imported hate, to create dissension between one element of the American people and another along racial and religious lines.

In my editorial in The Jewish Daily Bulletin, of April 11, I referred to the Nazi meetings in Queens and the attempts on the part of well-intentioned but misguided Jews to break up those meetings by force and I pointed out that the violence of the Nazis should not be met with counter-violence, that the violators of American law and order and offenders against public decency should be properly dealt with by the American authorities.

In another editorial on April 25, I wrote that if Nazi rowdyism is to be denounced, we must denounce anti-Nazi rowdyism even more strongly, that the cause of those who are combatting Hitlerism as a world menace is harmed by such tactics, and I cautioned once more well-meaning but deluded Jewish “patriots” against resorting to the methods of provocation that are employed by the Nazis and their dupes in this country.

By preventing the un-American and anti-American mass demonstration of Nazism in New York for the above-mentioned purposes, you would render an exemplary service to all Americans, including the vast number of decent and law abiding German Americans.

Very sincerely yours,


Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund