Attacking the anti-German boycott, the New York City government, the part played by the United States in the World War, and the Versailles Treaty, the Steuben Society on Wednesday night acclaimed Hitler and Nazi policies in an enthusiastic celebration of German Day at the Madison Square Garden befor a packed house of more than 20,000 persons. A number of Jews attending the meeting were manhandled and driven from the hall over their protestations of having come to the affair as a gesture of good will.
Among those ousted from the celebration were Robert Rosenbaum, president of the Federation of German Jewish Societies, and Dr. Fritz Schlesinger, a prominent member of German Jewish social circles in this city. Both assert that they were holding their peace when members of the Steuben Society pointed them out to police and demanded their ejection.
Dr. Schlesinger yesterday, in recounting his ejection from the celebration, declared he is drafting a vigorous protest to the Steuben Society for their treatment of him, Mr. Rosenbaum and four Jewish members of his party. He said his lawyers are considering the desirability of bringing suit against the Steuben Society for “its unwarranted and vicious attack upon our persons and for the disgraceful consequences of our treatment” before the Garden crowd.
Opening the speaking program of the celebration, Gustav W. M. Wieboldt, chairman of the German Day Committee, explained that a challenge had been issued by “those who call themselves 100 percent Americans and American leaders.” He said, “It is time the Steuben Society stepped in as leaders to take up this challenge.” At mention of “those who call themselves 100 percent American”, Mr. Wieboldt was roundly booed from various parts of the Garden.
Daniel C. Roper, United States Secretary of Commerce, tendered the greetings of President Roosevelt to the assemblage, expressed the gratitude of the United States for the German contributions to the American people, and explained at length the new responsibilities of all Americans toward the National Recovery program.
HITLER SALUTE FOR PRESIDENT
At the conclusion of his address, Wieboldt called for three cheers for the President. The audience responded, at the same time giving the Hitler salute.
Major General John F. Preston, Inspector General of the United States Army, and Rear Admiral Yates Stirling, Jr., Commandant of the United States Navy Yard in Brooklyn, traced the history of the Germans in this country and eulogized the part played by Germans in American military forces since Steuben joined the forces of George Washington.
As German Ambassador Dr. Hans Luther arose to speak the audience accorded him a tremendous Nazi ovation. “Heil” rseounded throughout the large main hall of the Garden, as Luther stood at the rostrum and rendered the Nazi salute. The tumult had scarcely died down, when a woman fifty feet from the rostrum screamed, “Down with Hitler, down with Hitler!” The cry was taken up in all parts of the Garden, as the surprised audience countered with “Heil Hitler!” Chairman Wieboldt rushed to the microphone and pleaded, “Please, please, give Dr. Luther a chance to speak.”
Police rushed to various parts of the Garden and escorted shouting men and women from their seats out of the hall. The band struck up “Deutschland Ueber Alles”, and the audience joined in singing it.
Three heils were called for Hitler. They were given with the utmost enthusiasm. And Dr. Luther announced, “I bring you greetings from the old fatherland”, as a score or more of police formed a solid cordon around the rostrum.
Ambassador Luther praised the chancellor of Germany and attributed to him progress in reducing unemployment. He asked that reports on Hitler’s administration of German affairs be discredited.
He listed three demands of the German people: that Hitler’s peace utterances be believed; that Germany be regarded as the equal of other nations, and that Germany be given the right to regulate her own affairs.
At the conclusion of his speech, another woman was dragged from her seat bawling, “Down with Hitler”, and many other dissenters followed her as the band again struck up to drown out all protest. Luther repeatedly saluted his audience in the Hitler fashion.
Theodore Hoffmann, acting chairman of the National Council of the Steuben Society, climaxed the speaking program with an attack upon the mayor of New York, the boycott, American participation in the World War, and praise of the United German Societies, control of which has recently been taken over by members of the League of Friends of New Germany, Hitlerite supporters and agitators in this country.
“For thirty years”, said Mr. Hoffman, “the United German Societies have with dignity and in true American spirit celebrated ‘German Day’, a day dedicated to the memory and achievements of those of their race in this country. We know that the organizations affiliated with the United German Societies have contributed loyally to the welfare of this great city and therefore of the nation, and we resent the attempts of professional agitators and certain newspapers to brand this society as being un-American, and attempting to use German Day to spread propaganda contrary to the interests of the country.”
He made no mention of the disappearance of Heinz Spanknoebel, head of the Friends of New Germany and scheduled as principal speaker at the suspended German Day celebration, who is now wanted for subversive representation of the Nazi government here.
BETRAYED INTO WAR
“Due to the gradually sobering effects of the after-war period”, Mr. Hoffmann said in part, “that period when the people of our country (America) began to realize how shamefully they had been betrayed into sacrificing the lives of our young men to an unworthy cause, a cause as unlike the idealistic fata morgana which led them to their deaths on the fields of Flanders, as different, I say, as Heaven and Hell, our Congress refused to be tied down to all provisions of the Versailles Treaty but came to an understanding with the German nation in a separate treaty.”
Hoffman proposed three resolutions: To support the President against the forces of depression and poverty and special privilege; to expedite Germany’s return to normalcy
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.