Organized Anti-Semitism in America: The Rise of Group Prejudice during the Decade 1930-40

By Donald S. Strong | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
The German American Bund

THE GERMAN-AMERICAN BUND (Amerika-Deutscher Volksbund), known originally as the Friends of the New Germany, is the best known and most widely-publicized of the anti-revolutionary, anti-semitic groups. It has been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles and its activities have been investigated and aired by two Congressional bodies, the McCormack and Dies Committees.1

The Friends of the New Germany was organized at a convention in Chicago on June 30, 1932.2 Although new, this group was an outgrowth of other organizations advocating Nazi principles. In the United States the first German society with Nazi sympathies was a Chicago organization formed in October 1924 and called Teutonia.3 It never prospered in membership, and in 1932, just before it dissolved, it could count 50 members in Chicago, and a dozen more in an allied group in Detroit. Many of these members had been active in "fighting communism" in Germany in the years immediately following the World War.4 Teutonia's importance lies in the fact that its ranks included many men who later became the leaders of the Friends of the New Germany.

Early in 1932, locals of the National Socialist German Labor Party began to spring up in the United States. By April of the same year, a local had appeared in New York City, another in Chicago (supplanting Teutonia), and yet another in Detroit.5 By March 1933 four more locals had sprouted in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Hudson County (N. J.).6 These groups were very definitely branches of the Nazi Party of Germany and they took orders from it. When in April, 1933, Rudolf Hess, then assistant Fuhrer of the Nazi Party, ordered them to dissolve, they obeyed promptly.7 Two months later, men who had been active leaders of the Nazi locals held a convention in Chicago and created the Friends of the New Germany. Presumably, former Nazi Party members constituted much of the charter membership of the Friends.

Another group that preceded the Friends of the New Germany and was later absorbed by it, was the Friends of Germany. Despite the

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