Vonsiatsky Espionage	(continued)	
 
 
"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 . . . "

He further 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 Revolution.

In testimony 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 followers:

"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.

It was ascertained that Kunze directed a letter from Mexico to Vonsiatsky dated December 8, 1941, containing the following passage:

"If the 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.

The 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.

Please send what you can to:

Dr. Wolfgang Ebell
111 N. Mesa
El Paso, Texas."

In connection 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.

Dr. Otto 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.

Dr. Willumeit 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 sympathizers.

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.

An individual 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.

Dr. Otto 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.

Dr. Wolfgang 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.

Dr. Ebell 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.

Dr. Ebell 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.

Reverend Kurt 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.

Reverend 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 1940.

Reverend 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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