Joseph Schuster, leader of the Brooklyn cell of the Friends of New Germany, leader of the Nazi storm troops in New York, and one of the “Big Three” controlling the policies, personnel and finances of the Nazi organization, is accused of misappropriating Nazi funds.
A complaint to this effect, made by Ludwig Werner of 33 Kossuth avenue, former storm troop member of the Brooklyn Nazi cell, is now under investigation by the district attorney’s office in Brooklyn.
William Rattel, assistant district attorney, who is in charge of the investigation, yesterday announced that the case is being considered in an effort to learn whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant criminal action.
SCHUSTER DENIES CHARGE
According to the district attorney’s office, Werner charges Schuster and other leaders of the Friends of New Germany with soliciting funds for the Nazi movement and pocketing contributions. The district attorney’s office was reluctant to give further information concerning Schuster’s alleged discrepancies until all charges have been investigated.
When called at the office of the Brooklyn ortgruppe (cell) of the Friends of New Germany, Schuster on Friday readily admitted that he had been called to the district attorney’s office earlier in the day. He denied, however, that any of the charges were true.
“Werner,” said Schuster, “is either thick, dumb or a darned, dirty liar. You can quote me as saying that.”
Schuster further charged that “a lot of smart fellows who thought they were smarter than we are have been trying to pin this stuff on us. They have all failed so far.”
On questioning Schuster said that this is the first charge of its kind with which he personally has been confronted. He said that he had “kicked Werner out of the Friends of New Germany ten days ago for trying to make trouble by telling tales.”
Werner brought with him to the district attorney’s office a large assortment of programs for Nazi celebrations, almost all of which entailed admission charges. He said that Schuster and other officers of the Friends of New Germany had pocketed the proceeds, which should have been utilized for the organization’s unemployment relief.
TWO POSSIBLE PROSECUTIONS
Schuster, it is learned, replied to the charges by stating that one-third of these funds he turned over to the New York Nazi headquarters, while two-thirds the Brooklyn cell retained.
Two possible prosecutions face Schuster and other Nazi kingpins as a result of the complaint. In the event that misapproriation is proved, there will be a criminal action on charges of grand larceny.
There remains also the possibility of prosecution by the New York State attorney general on charges of soliciting funds in the name of an organization which is not registered at the New York State Department in Albany. Werner contends that the Friends of New Germany have not registered with the Albany office, and he gave the district attorney’s office letters addressed to him by the State Department, stating that certificates of the Friends of New Germany were not on file.
If it is learned that funds are collected in the name of the organization, under the terms of the New York penal code, the organization and its officers may be charged with a misdemeanor.
Schuster said on Friday that he had once been an entertainer in a number of German restaurants. Since entering politics he has gained command over at least 700 members of the Brooklyn cell of the Friends of New Germany. The earnestness and vigor with which he addresses Nazi gatherings have attracted into the Nazi fold a considerable following, mostly women.
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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.