Probe Reveals Nazi Junkets of Americans
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Probe Reveals Nazi Junkets of Americans

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come a serious menace to the country.

“Whether an organic connection with the German government is proved or not.” he declared, “any organization that has the same ideals as the Nazis in Germany is a danger to our country.”

During the morning session the committee uncovered the following information:

That at least two persons maintain joint memberships in the Stahlhelm, German veteran organization comparable to the American Legion, and the New York National Guard, although neither has taken out first citizenship papers.

That within the Nazi organization here there exists a “Schutz Staffel,” uniformed, disciplined, and functioning in the manner of Hitler Schutz Staffel, or higher grade storm troops.


That under diplomatic manipulation a number of prominent American writers and lecturers have been given free transportation to and from Germany on German ships in return for favorable publicity for the New Germany.

That all Germans working for a number of German enterprises in the United States have been compelled to join the Nazi Labor Front.

The committee opened hearings with Congressmen John McCormack, chairman, Samuel Dickstein and J. Will Taylor.

Testimony given the committee during private hearings by John Schroeder, an employe of the New York office of the North German Lloyd and the Hamburg American Lines, was read into the record. Schroeder recently returned to Germany.

According to his testimony the following writers and lecturers received free transportation to Germany and back, some at the suggestion of Ambassador Hans Luther:

Karl K. Kitchen, well known New York newspaperman; Burton Holmes, internationally known lecturer; Mrs. Helen Appleton Reed, James Aswelt, Allen Cleaton and Col. Alexander E. Powell.


According to evidence introduced from the files of the North German Lloyd Burton Holmes wrote that concern on April 2, 1934:

“I hope that I may be able to secure through your good offices and those of the railways and the government some striking film reels of events and celebrations that I can use to advantage with my own reels as I did in the case of my recent lecture on “The New Italy.”

On March 15, in mentioning the desirability of such publicity as he might give the New Germany, Holmes wrote in part: “Newspaper comment is shaped to please the reader; pictures speak louder than words and what reaches the eye is remembered long after what has been read or heard is forgotten.”

He said, “I anticipate some hostile comment, but I am prepared to present the true facts on the New Germany.”

Not only was Holmes given a round-trip to Germany but he was also given free passage on an African cruise aboard a German ship, the testimony disclosed. On these excursions, provided him by the German lines, he was accompanied by his wife and two friends.


Walter Feige, who came to the United States in June, 1932, joined the local organization of the Stahlhelm on the day of his arrival, and enlisted in the New York National Guard six months later, received a severe grilling at the hands of Dickstein, McCormack and former Governor George W. Hardwick of Georgia, who is now counsel for the committee.

Feige testified that he had not applied for his first papers until May of this year “because I had no work and no money.” He did admit, however, that he managed to pay his dues in the Stahlhelm, which amounts to $12 yearly.

In describing his joining the National Guard, he said that many of his friends in the Stahlhelm and himself had been approached to join by “so many persons” he had forgotten their names. An application blank for membership in the National Guard was introduced to show that at the time Feige had announced application for first papers.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Feige told the committee. “I just went in, and when I went out of the recruiting office they said everything was O. K.” He became a member of Battery F, Company A, 244th Regiment, in the Coast Artillery. His membership card, which he still carries, has been signed by Captain Louis A. Imhoff.


Under the law, according to a committee release, it is necessary for a member of the National Guard to have first citizenship papers.

Feige told the committee that the only papers he had shown to the recruiting officer was his German passport, possession of which he retains.

He was asked about a Fred Nisselbeck, who has been recognized as the creator of an organization called “The National Guardsmen of German Descent,” which has cooperated in a number of social affairs with the Stahlhelm unit in New York. Nisselbeck, Feige said, had gone back to Germany. He resigned from the National Guard after some publicity attended his dual relationship with that organization and the Stahlhelm.

He testified that officers of the Stahlhelm, the National Guard and the American Legion frequently attended one another’s meetings.

Another witness, who previously testified in private sessions of the committee, could not be brought before the committee yesterday by virtue of its failure to serve him with a subpoena. He is Gerhardt Zimmer, who is a member of both the Stahlhelm and the 212th Artillery of the New York National Guard.

When Zimmer was asked by the committee at private hearings whether he was a citizen he replied:

“Not exactly.”


His record shows that, despite the fact that he was introduced to Captain Marcheselli of the National Guard by Nisselbeck, now recognized as an ardent Nazi, he has never taken out first papers. The committee claims he made a false statement on his National Guard application blank by asserting that he had taken out papers on February 17, 1931, no record of which is on file at the Supreme Court. He applied for discharge from the National Guard during the Congressional investigation in June.

When Dickstein asked Feige whether or not he had taken any guns out of the National Guard Armory, Feige replied:

“We use only six-inch guns there. We are artillery.

Schroeder’s testimony included exchanges of correspondence between Heinz Schuengel, managing director of the North German Lloyd, and Dr. Rudolf Leitner, counsellor of the German Embassy at Washington. The following letter was written on June 27, 1933, by Schuengel to Dr. Leitner:


“On the evening of the departure of the S.S. Bremen Dr. Luther expressed the wish to have transmitted to Col. Alexander E. Powell an invitation for a trip to Germany. Dr. Luther attached great importance to this favor, especially as he expects much good in favor of Germany (to result) from the activity of this well-known author.

“In the meantime Kr. Kiep too has spoken to me over the telephone in this matter and he remarked that he is still in touch with you on this case, especially as he intends to make a new arrangement concerning this.

“These lines are merely to serve to advise you that the wish of the ambassador has my entire attention and I shall now wait what I will hear from you or Dr. Kiep.

“For any possible use I enclose herewith our latest sailing schedule.”

Fritz Gissibl, preceding Heinrich in the testimony, emphatically declared Hitler was the leader of every German, regardless of where he was born.

“When I say leader,” Gissibl explained, “I do not mean political, I mean that he transcends racial feeling and is the leader of all Germans on this earth no matter where they were born.”

At this point he ignored a question asked by Mr. Dickstein to lift his head and smile for a photographer taking his picture.

Ninety-eight per cent of the American press, asserted Gissibl, “printed lies about Germany.”

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