"We have always
known that our folkdom in America still has the right courage of
life and only had to be shaken awake by the spirit of Adolf Hitler
in order to be able to resist with German thoroughness and striking
strength the undermining forces of the enemies of all free people!"
Kunze on April
20, 1939, spoke at a Hitler birthday celebration at Eblings Casino,
New York, to a multitude of over one thousand persons. At the
conclusion of the ceremonies a telegram of congratulations was
approved and sent to Hitler.
The year 1940
witnessed a retrenchment program on the part of the German-American
Bund. Fritz Kuhn had been forced to retire as National Leader
following his conviction for embezzlement and there was a growing
antipathy against the Bund upon the part of the American people. In
the company of George Froboese, Kunze traveled about the country
visiting various sectional and divisional heads and holding
conferences concerning the Bund's critical condition. The FBI
through its various field offices continuously followed their
activities and noted their contacts. On June 9, 1940, he addressed a
Bund gathering in Milwaukee and stated the Germans were being
persecuted and discriminated against. He criticized the British
crown stating "we must fight the British Fifth Column in the U.S."
On July 8,
1940, he voluntarily appeared before the Senate judiciary
subcommittee and protested against the proposed legislation
requiring registration of foreign-controlled organizations stating
it would force the Bund to disband. The Deutscheer Weckruf und
Beobachter carried a special feature article over his signature in
the July 25, 1940, issue entitled "German Americans! Wake up and
fight the Democratic reign of Terror." The article is a long recital
of the alleged persecutions of Bund leaders and in asking support
from his cohorts Kunze stated in part:
"We do not
call upon you to stand out openly in this battle, the while your
employers or their masters are your enemies and can always force you
to crawl and beg for mercy by threatening to starve your families .
. . "
stated that America is not an English democracy and that thirty
million German-Americans will not be enslaved nor deprived of their
birthright and that the freeman's cry "no taxation without
representation" is as much alive today as it was during the
of their confidence in Kunze the German-American Bund elected him
National Leader on September 5, 1940. At this time he took occasion
to comment upon the fifty old destroyers furnished by the United
States to Great Britain. The year 1941 found Kunze still in the
front ranks on behalf of the Bund although the organization was
reported to have gone under cover in view of public sentiment
against it. He, August Klapprott, and George Frobose were active in
traveling about the country and holding secret meetings. Their
activities were carefully watched and followed by the Special Agents
of the FBI.
In a speech
in Chicago in the spring of that year, he criticized what he termed
the lack of freedom of speech in America and stated to his
"We fight for
our heritage. Within this country are 13,000,000 German-Americans
out of 100,000,000 white men. We have more than enough to fight for
our rights. It is always the job of the minority, and this time of
stress is the best time to free ourselves."
In 1940, the
activities of the German-American Bund and Kunze were brought
forcefully to the attention of the American people when Kunze and
August Klapprott, Wilbur V. Keegan, and several others were indicted
by the Sussex County Grand Jury at Newton, New Jersey, charged with
violating a New Jersey statute forbidding the inciting of racial
hatred. Kunze was convicted on January 30, 1941, and sentenced to
serve twelve to fourteen months in state prison. On appeal, however,
the conviction was reversed by the New Jersey Supreme Court on
December 5, 1941, on the grounds that they statute was
unconstitutional. Kunze had been arrested while attending a Bund
meeting at Camp Nordland, Andover, New Jersey.
Prior to his
departure from the United States, Kunze together with Dr. Willumeit
made an extensive trip throughout the Middle West and along the West
Coast at which time Kunze obtained detailed information regarding
the typography of the country, the situation of military
establishments, the disposition of troops and naval units, and the
possible weaknesses in our national defense preparations. Upon his
arrival in El Paso, final plans were made between Kunze and Dr.
Ebell for Kunze to leave the United States. On November 8, 1941,
Kunze and Ebell secretly drove from the United States into Mexico.
Kunze later corresponded with Ebell and gave him instructions to be
furnished to the other members of the conspiracy together with
letters which were to be released in the United States.
ascertained that Kunze directed a letter from Mexico to Vonsiatsky
dated December 8, 1941, containing the following passage:
Japanese war had waited a few weeks more, I'd have been in Japan;
as it is, I shall have gone on in another direction by the time
this letter reaches you.
Atlantic crossing by air, which I originally had in mind, would
cost $2,600.00 more than I have now and would require months of
waiting. Another method of travel, the only other one left open,
will require about $1,000.00 more than I have. There can be no
going back for me any more, and the farther away I go, the more
difficult it will become to send me money.
what you can to:
111 N. Mesa
El Paso, Texas."
with the espionage charges pending against him at Hartford,
Connecticut, Kunze entered a plea of guilty and on August 21, 1942,
was sentenced to serve a term of fifteen years in a federal prison.
Willumeit was born in Sarrebourg, Lorraine, France, November 25,
1905. He entered the United States in 1925 and became a naturalized
American citizen at Hammond, Indiana, on September 16, 1931. He
returned to Germany in 1933 and received the degree of Doctor of
Medicine in 1936 at the University of Bonn in Berlin. Upon returning
to the United States in 1936, he obtained a position with a firm in
Chicago, Illinois, which position he held until 1938.
joined the German-American Bund in 1937 and became head of the
Chicago unit of the organization in 1938, holding this position
until December 1941. He was also one of the National officers of the
Bund as well as president of the Teutonia Publishing Company which
published the official Bund newspaper in the Chicago area. In
addition, he was president of the Haus Vaterland, an organization
which owned and operated real estate in Chicago including a meeting
hall used by the Bund and a restaurant frequented by German
While at a
Bund camp in Michigan during 1941, Dr. Willumeit ordered a young man
who was active in the camp to jump into the lake and swim with all
his clothes on. The youth obeyed the order promptly and without
question. When he came from the water he stated, "We are accustomed
to swimming such distances; in Germany we swim with forty pound
packs on our back." Willumeit allegedly ordered the young man to
jump into the lake to demonstrate the discipline in the Bund camp
under his leadership.
who attended a celebration at the Haus Vaterland for Hitler's
birthday upon one occasion reported Dr. Willumeit gave a speech to
the assembled group in which he called Hitler a "miracle man."
Willumeit was also quoted as stating that Hitler must be considered
the greatest man to walk the face of the earth since Christ.
Willumeit entered a plea of guilty in connection with the espionage
charges at Hartford, Connecticut, and on August 21, 1942, received a
sentence of five years in a federal prison.
Ebell was born in Zabern, Alsace, France, on July 28, 1899. He lived
in Germany until January 31, 1927, and received his M.D. Degree in
1924 at the University of Freiburg. He went to Vera Cruz, Mexico, in
January, 1927, and entered the United States at El Paso, Texas, in
October 1930, where he was admitted to practice medicine. He became
a naturalized American citizen in El Paso during 1939.
became affiliated with the German-American Bund as its principal
representative in El Paso in 1937. He was intimately acquainted with
Kunze, and the latter visited him on various trips throughout the
United States whenever he was in the El Paso area.
The FBI had
received numerous complaints concerning Dr. Ebell before his
involvement in the espionage conspiracy. One individual reported
having seen in Ebell's possession a picture of his father in the
uniform of a Nazi Storm Trooper giving the Nazi salute. At a meeting
of a club during 1941, the club members drafted a resolution
endorsing the stand of the Secretary of State who at the time was in
Havana, Cuba. Ebell, who was a member of the club, attempted to
block the resolution by insisting that the club should not engage in
politics. The club members replied that it was not a question of
politics, but a matter involving national unity. Ebell soon dropped
out of the club altogether.
entered a plea of guilty to the espionage charges at Hartford,
Connecticut, and on August 21, 1942, received a sentence of seven
years in a federal prison. Previously, on December 30, 1941, a
complaint had been filed at El Paso, Texas, praying for the
cancellation of Ebell's certificate of naturalization. This
certificate was canceled on April 2, 1942, on the grounds of fraud.
E. B. Molzahn, the fifth person involved in the conspiracy was born
on June 28, 1895, in Belgrad, Pomerania, Germany. He served in the
First World War as a Captain in the German Army and came to the
United States in February, 1924. In 1913 he entered the American
Seminary in Brecklum, Germany, but his education was interrupted
when he was drafted for the army in 1914. He returned to the
Seminary in 1919 and finished his course before coming to the United
States. After his arrival in this country he taught at a college in
Pennsylvania for a time and was a pastor at Johnstown before he
accepted a church in Philadelphia in 1929.
Molzhan returned to Germany for visits in 1927, 1934, and 1937. He
was very friendly with various officials of the German Government
and had close connections with the German Embassy staff at
Washington, D.C. He attended and spoke at several meetings of the
German-American Bund in Philadelphia upon the invitation of Kunze.
Reverend Molzahn secured his final naturalization papers in November
Molzahn was the only one of the five individuals involved in the
conspiracy who did not plead guilty. He was taken into custody on
June 11, 1942, and was convicted by the jury in Hartford,
Connecticut, on August 21, 1942. Four days later he was sentenced to
serve ten years, but on June 1, 1945, his term was commuted to the
period already served and he was released. Reverend Molzahn was
reported at that time to be suffering from a heart condition.
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