Vonsiatsky Espionage	(continued)	
 
 
Early in June, a clean-shaven, German-appearing individual arrived at this fishing village and took a room in a quiet little hotel giving his name as Alfonso Graf Cabiedes. Upon questioning he stated that his mother was German and his father was Mexican; that he suffered from heart trouble and had gone to Boca Del Rio to enjoy the restfulness of the seaside. His story was accepted for a time but his actions soon merited the suspicions of the natives.

This man, Cabiedes, purchased a twenty-foot launch with a six-cylinder gasoline engine and began laying in supplies for a voyage out into the Gulf for the purpose, as he stated, of fishing and resting his heart. Those who had the opportunity to witness his preparations wondered, however, whether he was planning an innocent fishing trip. Certainly one man would not need 200 pounds of fish, meat, rice, flour, beans, fruits, coffee, condensed milk, and chocolate. Could this individual with a weak heart consume fifty packages of cigarettes? How long a fishing trip would it be, or could it be, that required 200 liters of gasoline and 450 liters of drinking water?

With invasion by the Axis powers becoming more and more a threat to Mexico and the Americas, and Axis submarines skirting their very doorstep, the people of Boca Del Rio were taking no chances with questionable strangers who might be numbered among the Fifth Column agents of the enemy across the waters. Alfonso Graf Cabiedes was apprehended by officers of the Ministry Gobernacion of Mexico and questioned concerning his identity and his intentions. Among his effects were found a camera, a compass, rulers, maps of the Antilles and colored drawings of maps of the Americas.

While in custody, the astounding news was received that this man was not an innocent convalescent, but was the former National Leader of the German-American Bund in the United States, who had illegally left that country in an effort to escape to Germany and was wanted as a fugitive by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the charge of conspiring with several other individuals to furnish vital information to the German and Japanese governments. His real name was Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze. Upon interrogation by the Mexican authorities he admitted that he had hoped to reach Germany via the Azores in his recently acquired launch. On the personal order of President Manuel Avila Camacho, of Mexico, Kunze was flown to Mexico City and there after the necessary arrangements had been completed he was taken by airplane across the border to Brownsville, Texas, where he was received by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Kunze thereupon was taken to New York, arriving there on July 5, 1942, where he was arraigned on charges of violating the Selective Service Act and his bail fixed at $50,000.00. He was later flown to Hartford, Connecticut, to face charges that he had conspired to violate the 1917 Espionage Act.

In order to fully appreciate the case of Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze it will be well to review his early life, his activities in connection with the German-American Bund and finally his connection with those who were indicted with him on espionage charges. Kunze was born on January 10, 1906, at Camden, New Jersey, and was educated in the public schools of Camden and Philadelphia. On June 2, 1930, he married at Oberlungwitz, Saxony, Germany, and returned with his wife to this country two months thereafter. He has several relatives in the United States and Germany but the majority of his wife's relatives still reside in the province of Saxony, Germany. During his early days he made several trips to Germany, the last of which was in June of 1938. On January 31, 1941, he sent his wife and his six-year old son to Saxony and they now reside with his wife's parents.

Kunze was a restless character and was variously employed in the United States, Trinidad, and Mexico. He has worked as a salesman, truck driver, butler, and chauffeur, and as a steward on ocean-going vessels. Like his beloved paper-hanging Fuehrer most of his jobs before devoting himself to the cause of National Socialism were menial ones. In September of 1933 he became interested in the organization known as the Friends of New Germany, the predecessor of the German-American Bund. From that time on he was continuously affiliated with this organization and later with the Bund.

In August, 1937, he was appointed by Fritz Kuhn, then National Leader of the Fund, as National Public Relations Officer and from October, 1937, on he was employed on a full-time basis at the national headquarters of the Bund in New York City. In September of 1939, Kuhn designated Kunze Deputy National Leader and from December of that year until September, 1940, he was acting National Leader in view of Kuhn's conviction and imprisonment for embezzlement. At the National Convention of the Bund in 1940, he was elected National Leader and remained in that capacity until November 9, 1941, when he resigned.

While with Bund he received $45 a week as well as a drawing account of $300 a month. In his capacity as National Bund Leader he issued all commands. Each unit leader of the organization was required to discuss with or transmit each Bund command to the members of the unit so that they would be fully acquainted with all regulations in accordance with the "Leadership Principle." Kunze was a domineering type of individual and like the Chancellor of the German Reich gloried in the military meetings of the Bund, the color of his uniformed organization and its other symbolisms.

A true picture of Kunze could not be obtained without following in some detail his activities while in the Bund. The Federal Bureau of Investigation from the founding of the Friends of New Germany made a comprehensive survey and investigation of that organization and its successor, the Bund. As one of the key figures in the Bund, the FBI was particularly interested in the activities of Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze.

Kunze's legal residence for the past several years has been at 6501 North Smedly, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the home of his father. He gave 211 East 87th Street, New York City, as his address when registering under the Selective Service Act. During the year of 1936, he was active as President of the Philadelphia branch of the Bund. In 1937, Kunze continued his work in Philadelphia and on July 18th of that year assisted in the dedication of Camp Nordland, Andover, New Jersey, the twenty-first German-American Bund Camp established in this country.

This year was highlighted also by his participation as one of the presiding officers at the Fifth Reich Congress of Foreign Germans held at Stuttgart, Germany, from August 28 to September 5, 1937. Dressed in the uniform of the Bund, he made one of the principal speeches of the assembly, praising the aims and achievements of the Third Reich and condemning the Jews and their influence in the United States. He later admitted that one of the purposes of this meeting was to bring together active and former members of the Bund. Upon his return from Stuttgart he was photographed by newspaper reporters being welcomed by Fritz Kuhn. At a meeting of the Bund in New York City on November 16, 1937, he was introduced to the assembled crowd as the National Propaganda Leader who had just returned from Germany.

The year of 1938 was a busy year for Kunze and he spoke at many meetings in New York, Chicago, Syracuse, New Haven, and Pittsburgh. The meeting in Syracuse on February 11, was interesting for it was protested by one hundred members of the American Legion who, as proven patriots of America, questioned his right to conduct a demonstration praising the aims and purposes of the Nazi government. Kunze is reported as parrying their inquisition with the curt answer, "It's nobody's business."

The Deutscher Weckruf Beobachter was the official publicity organ of the German-American Bund, but Kunze frequently published messages to his cohorts in this paper. The September 29, 1938, issue carried a greeting from him which concluded with the words, "Hold firm! Make propaganda your cause! Get new friends and comrades! Don't let anyone ever rob you of your German language and the pride in your German racialism!"

During the year of 1939, when events in Europe were coming to a head and resentment in America was growing steadily against the aggressions of the Axis forces, Kunze redoubled his efforts on the part of the German-American Bund and gave speeches in many cities including Milwaukee, New York, Newark, and Chicago. In several instances he was particularly vindictive concerning the President and his policies. In a twenty-four page German booklet published in March of that year entitled "Zehn Jahra Deutshe Jugend in U.S.A." (Ten Years German Youth in U.S.A.) he is quoted as saying,

 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |

 

 

________________________________________________________________________