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UNITED STATES v. BREGLER

June 16, 1944

UNITED STATES
v.
BREGLER et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ABRUZZO

ABRUZZO, District Judge.

The Government filed separate complaints against each of these defendants under Section 338 of the Nationality Act of 1940, 8 U.S.C.A. § 738. This section is an adaptation of Section 15 of the Naturalization Act of 1906, 34 Stat. 601. In its complaint the Government is seeking to cancel the certificate of naturalization issued to each of these defendants and to set aside the order admitting these eight defendants to citizenship on the general ground that they were obtained fraudulently and illegally. These defendants admittedly were all at one time or another members of the German-American Bund.

After each of these cases was at issue a motion was made by the plaintiff, the Government, for an order permitting the consolidation of these eight actions as to one issue that apparently was common to all of the defendants, to wit, what were the aims, purposes, character and practices of the German-American Bund and its predecessor organizations? The order, as entered by one of my colleagues, D.C., 3 F.R.D. 378, directed the trial of this issue as against all eight defendants in advance of the trial of each individual's case. The trial of that separate and distinct issue was then proceeded with. It was understood that after the trial of this separate issue the case of each individual defendant was to be proceeded with and a decision rendered by this Court as to each defendant.

 There have been many cases tried all over the United States as to the un-American activities of the German-American Bund resulting in many decisions having been written by the various Judges who tried these cases. The proof before me followed the same pattern of proof in these other cases. It has been held so repeatedly that the German-American Bund was un-American in its origin, its practices, and its ideology that the Court might almost take judicial knowledge of that fact in rendering its decision; however, a brief resume might be pertinent at this time with respect to that particular issue.

 The Bund traces its origin to the Free Society of Teutonia organized in Chicago, Illinois, in 1924. It was founded by Fritz Gissibl, a member of the National Socialistic German Workers Party, the Adolf Hitler Party. In 1926, the name of this group was changed to the National Socialistic Society of Teutonia, and it is singular to note that the proof indicates that at that time the members were convinced that Adolf Hitler would soon be the leader of Germany, and it is also singular to note that at least half of the members in 1926 were affiliated and associated with the Adolf Hitler Party. The organization gradually spread through the Middle West, new units were founded, and, in order to make clear that the Movement was closely associated with the Hitler Movement in Germany, the delegates at the 1932 Teutonia Convention adopted the new name of "Friends of the Hitler Movement."

 On January 30, 1933, Hitler rose to power as Chancellor of the German Reich. The Society, in order to indicate that they were friends of Hitler's Germany, again changed the name of the organization to "Friends of the New Germany."

 In 1936, the name was officially changed to the "German-American Bund," and this organization continued to function until its apparent dissolution in December, 1941. Even after this apparent dissolution, many units continued to meet under the disguise of sport clubs, singing societies, and social clubs. The leaders of these sport clubs, singing societies, and social clubs anticipated a time when the Bund might be forced underground. From its inception in 1924, to 1941, the change of names in no way affected the basic structure, aims or purposes of the organization, the policy remaining the same -- to help Germany in any way the organization could.

 As the pattern remained the same throughout the existence of the organization, the facts elicited from the witnesses with respect to the Bund are applicable to its predecessor groups.

 The general organizational structure of the Bund was patterned after that of the Nazi Party in Germany. The membership was divided into cells, units, and districts. The programs and activities of the various subdivisions of the Bund and the uniforms worn by the members were the same as those of the N.S.D.A.P. The head of the organization was called a bundesfuehrer. He had power to render decisions in all matters pertaining to the Movement. There were three gauleiters subordinate to him, one for the Eastern part of the United States, one for the Middle West, and one for the Western District. The gauleiters were directed by the bundesfuehrer. Many units were formed all over the United States and each unit had its ortsgruppenleiter. He was responsible to the gauleiter for his district who in turn was responsible to the bundesfuehrer. Each unit leader had officers directly under him who were responsible for their activities to him.

 To qualify for membership throughout the existence of the Bund and its predecessor organizations, the applicant had to be of Aryan descent, free of Jewish or colored blood, and a believer in the National Socialist philosophy and the leadership principle.Unless a candidate met these qualifications he could not be admitted to membership.

 Throughout the trial, the proof stressed the fact that each member of the Bund and its predecessor organizations believed that there could be only one leader whose dictates had to be followed. Each candidate signed an application in which he set forth that he knew the aims and purposes of the League and obligated himself to support them without reserve. If it were found that any applicant who subsequently became a member did not in fact subscribe to the ideology or the aims and purposes of the Bund, he would summarily be dismissed, apparently without a trial.

 Uniforms were worn, similar to the Storm Troopers of the Nazi Party in Germany. These men were known as "O.D." (Ordnungs Dienst), and they preserved and maintained order at all large gatherings. They were the picked troops of the Movement. They were required to drill in military formation following German Army commands.

 There were distributed to the members generally papers and writings setting forth the Nazi philosophy.

 The main principles of the Nazi Party in Germany were expressed in its slogan "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer." "Ein Volk" meant that all persons of German blood, wherever they might be, were connected by indissoluble ties to the German world family and these ties were more important than any political obligation. "Ein Reich" meant that Germans, where-ever they might be, were to look to Germany as their Homeland. "Ein Fuehrer" undoubtedly meant that Adolf Hitler was not only the Fuehrer of the German State, but of all persons of German blood throughout the world, regardless of their citizenship. The German-American Bund and all its units taught, not indirectly, this philosophy but, directly, as indicated by the voluminous testimony and the hundereds of exhibits that are in evidence.

 As part of the Bund program, promising youth leaders were given special training in this philosophy. Trips to Germany were arranged so that a first-hand study might be made by these young leaders, both male and female. Textbooks in German language and history were furnished to the youth who were likely to become leaders. The members of this youth division attended summer camps where they received doctrinal and physical training closely following the Nazi method in Germany.

 Women were admitted as members, were associated in the Frauenschaft division, and devoted their efforts to the welfare of the Bund and its philosophy. Apparently their motto was, "Speak, sing, think, buy, act German!"

 At these unit meetings and at the camps, the Nazi salute "Heil Hitler" was used without restraint. The Bund published a series of newspapers, including the Deutsche Zeitung, Deutscher Beobachter, Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter, and the Free American and Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter, preaching the Nazi doctrine and, indeed, the proof indicated that many writings were smuggled into this country from German ships directly from the Nazi Party in Germany and distributed to Bund members.

 At unit meetings, German motion pictures were often shown, depicting German life and activities.

 The Bund was undoubtedly affiliated with the Nazi Party in Germany and the policies were from the beginning dictated by this Party in Germany. Instructions were asked for and received from Germany. The Bund used the Nazi greeting and the Nazi symbol of the Third Reich, the swastika, the Nazi salute, and the Horst Wessel song. The Nazi Party holidays were celebrated here.

 Many early leaders of the Bund returned to Germany to be appointed to and hold high official positions in the Nazi Party and the Government of the Third Reich, to wit, Fritz Gissibl, founder and former leader of the Bund who became director of the Propaganda Ministry for Southern Germany; Heinz Spanknoebel, another former leader who became director of the Propaganda School for Germans Living Abroad; Josef Schuster, founder of the O.D. and Eastern Gauleiter in the Bund who became Storm Troop Leader in Munich and gauleiter; Bund Youth Leader, Hugo Haas, who became director of Youth Affairs for the V.D.A. in Germany; Ernst Vennekohl, a western leader of the Bund who became director of the American section of the V.D.A. in Berlin; and Walter Kappe, editor of the Bund newspaper who became affiliated with the German Foreign Institute.

 There were many units of the Bund in and about New York City, but there are five units which are involved in the individual trials, to wit, Astoria, Brooklyn, Jamaica, Lindenhurst and South Brooklyn. The uniform policy of these units was directed from National Headquarters in New York City.

 Dues were paid by the members of each unit, a portion of which was sent to National Headquarters. I have, indeed, only sketched by this brief resume the highlights of the proof before me, as it is impossible to refer to all of the testimony. Suffice it for me to say that the principles of National Socialism, as taught, advocated and practiced by the Nazi Party in Germany and adopted by the German-American Bund and its predecessor organizations are diametrically opposed to those of American democracy. This National Socialist ideology of the German-American Bund undoubtedly had for its avowed purpose the destruction of our constitutional form of government, as it is quite impossible to believe that any Bund member believing in the National Socialist philosophy and form of government could, at the same time, bear true allegiance and faith to the Constitution of the United States or be attached to the principles of the Constitution and laws of the United States.

 I, therefore, conclude that the German-American Bund was un-American and subversive, and any member who became informed of the nature of the Bund or who became attached to their principles could not continue his or her association with it and, at the same time, bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States or be attached to the principles of the Constitution and laws of the United States. Any person subscribing to or believing in the doctrines of National Socialism and the doctrines of the Bund could not, at the time of the taking of the oath of citizenship, have subscribed to such oath and pledge of allegiance in good faith.

 Ample authority for the conclusion thus reached by me may be found in the following cases:

 In United States v. Kuhn, D.C.S.D.N.Y., 49 F.Supp. 407, at page 414, the court said: "And, finally, the Bund obviously, in practically all of its proceedings, teachings and effort, insisted upon placing Germany and its interests first, and those of this country second. The most favorable statement for its efforts is that it taught a split allegiance, not that entire, renunciation of the old and full allegiance to the new, demanded by the oath. * * *"

 In United States v. Schuchhardt, D.C.N.D.Ind., 49 F.Supp. 567, at page 569, the court pointed out: "It is well established by the evidence in this case that the Bund was an auxiliary of the National Socialist Party in Germany. * * * The Bund was the medium through which the doctrines of National Socialism were to be spread in this country."

 In United States v. Wolter, D.C.W.D.Pa., 53 F.Supp. 417 at page 419, the court said: "The principal aims and purposes of the Bund were to disseminate the principles of National Socialism in the United States and to foster allegiance to Germany, regardless of the obligations of citizenship undertaken at the time of naturalization."

 United States v. Baecker, D.C.E.D.Mich., 55 F.Supp. 403, wherein it was pointed out that whatever benefits would accrue to the United States, according to their claim, were secondary and incidental to helping Germany.

 United States v. Baumgartner, D.C.W.D.Mo., 47 F.Supp. 622, where it was aptly pointed out that Hitler asserted the Nazis are superior to other men, entitled to superior privileges, that America's doctrine that "all men are created equal" is the raving of idiots.

 There are many other reported decisions too numerous to refer to, but all follow the same conclusion, indicative that there is a general trend and unanimity or belief that the German-American Bund is un-American and subversive.

 I will now review the evidence adduced by the Government with respect to each individual defendant. The evidence as against each defendant is two-fold, to wit, first, the testimony with respect to the German-American Bund and its predecessor organizations that is applicable to each defendant, and, secondly, the evidence offered by the Government in the trial of each case. It will, therefore, be necessary to touch upon the evidence offered in the general issue in addition to the testimony offered in the individual case.

 It must, of course, be noted that in this review it will be impossible to allude to all of the evidence as there are approximately 3,000 pages of testimony and about 250 exhibits. The testimony of necessity must be high-lighted. I will refer to the parts of the testimony which I believe will be necessary to indicate the reason for reaching my conclusion.

 Henry Hauck

 This defendant was called as an adverse witness by the Government pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, rule 43 (b), 28 U.S.C.A. following section 723c.He was admitted as a citizen on October 3, 1935, in the Supreme Court, Queens County.

 The action is institutel pursuant to Section 338 of the Nationality Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 1158, 8 U.S.C.A. § 738. This section granted authority for the institution of proceedings for the revocation of citizenship where naturalization has been obtained by fraud or illegality.

 The Government contends that in his petition and in his oath of allegiance there were false and fraudulent representations made:

 (1) In that he did not in goiod faith renounce or intend to renounce absolutely and forever all allegiance and fidelity to the German Reich but in fact retained his allegiance and fidelity to Germany when he took his oath to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and

 (2) In that he was not attached to the principles of the Constitution at the time of filing his petition for citizenship nor during the five years prior thereto, and in that he did not intend to support the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

 The law applicable to the case at bar can be summarized briefly as follows:

 (1) Citizenship is undoubtedly a privilege which must be obtained in full compliance with the statutory requirements.

 (2) Citizenship may be revoked for mental reservations of allegiance or divided allegiance.

 (3) Citizenship may be revoked for lack of attachment to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.

 (4) The state of mind at the time of naturalization may be proved by acts, writings, or statements of the defendant prior to, concurrent with, or subsequent to naturalization.

 Facts

 This defendant arrived in the United States from Hamburg in 1928, and made one return visit to Germany in 1930. He filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen on May 27, 1929. In 1935, he filed his petition for naturalization and that year was admitted to citizenship in the United States. He received Certificate of Naturalization No. 3984998. He subscribed to the oath in the petition for naturalization and to the oath of allegiance administered at the time of his naturalization.

 He became a member of the Jamaica Unit of the Friends of New Germany in July, 1935. The membership blank signed by him stated in part as follows:

 I declare herewith my entry into the League, The Friends of New Germany. The aims and purposes of the League are known to me and I obligate myself to support them without reserve. I recognize the Fuehrer principle in accordance with which the League is directed.

 Prior to becoming a member, he had attended meetings of the Jamaica Unit. He admitted that he had attended meetings of the New York Unit before visiting the Jamaica Unit. (S.M. 1701-1702.)

 In his application he named a resident of Germany as his sponsor. After receiving a membership card he regularly attended the meetings and functions of this unit. In the summer and fall of 1935, he attended the Redner Schule which was an oratorical school conducted by the Bund at the Franz Siegel Tavern in New York. Members attending this school were taught how to speak and what to say when attending meetings of the different units. Those who became proficient speakers were sent to different units to make addresses to the members thereof. One of the members taking this course was Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze, the leader of the Philadelphia Unit who later became bundesfuehrer (national leader).

 Hauck became proficient apparently in the theme "The Role of the Church in the National Socialist State." He justified the religious program of the N.S.D.A.P. which advocated the German separation of Church and State. Kunze spoke about National Socialism and, while Hauck denied he was present at that time, there is proof that he was present and heard this speech. Hauck stated he delivered his first speech when he became skilful in the art of speaking at the College Point Unit. After delivering his first speech before his own unit, in August of 1935, he thereafter spoke regularly in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Eastern District. He became a national speaker of the Bund and his assignments were designated by the heads of the Speakers' Bureau. He made a speech in 1935 before the Jamaica Unit and his speech was described as "truthfully presenting National Socialism to the audience with great understanding and conviction." The Bund newspaper carried an article with this description, and Hauck admitted the truth of this article.

 In the summer of 1935, he was made recruiting leader of the Jamaica Unit, and in this post he very actively solicited members, mingled with the public, and gave recruiting talks at various meetings.

 He attended the Bund National Convention in Philadelphia in August, 1935. While there seems to be some question as to how many sessions of this Convention he attended, he rendered a general resume of the proceedings of this Convention before the members of his own unit.

 In his speeches, some of the members whom he addressed were already citizens and others were in the process of becoming citizens.

 These activities of this defendant occurred before October 3, 1935, the date of the oath of his allegiance administered at the time of his naturalization. Hauck, therefore, knew of the un-American activities and the un-American principles of the Bund. He was, therefore, cognizant of the fact that the part he took in Bund matters conflicted with his oath of allegiance.

 It is difficult to reconcile his belief in the principles of the Bund and his activities in the Bund with the oath of allegiance and the requirements attached to that particular oath. A divided allegiance surely does not meet what we consider the requirements attached to the oath of allegiance.

 After the taking of his oath of allegiance, Hauck attended a session of the Bund Redner Schule either October 3d or 4th, 1935. Some few days after his naturalization he spoke before the Newark, New Jersey Unit of the Bund and the Lindenhurst Unit of the Bund upon the topic "The National Socialist View of the Separation of Church and State." He made speeches before the Nassau County Unit of the Bund that month, and on that program was Josef Schuster, Eastern Gauleiter of the Bund, member of the N.S.D.A.P., fanatic adherent of the Hitler Movement, and close friend of the defendant. On November 13, 1935, Schuster installed the defendant as leader of the Jamaica Unit. He performed the functions of the leader of this unit and continued as a national speaker for the organization. He admits having spoken in Jamaica, Astoria, Brooklyn, and South Brooklyn, and there is evidence indicative that he appeared before the White Plains Unit and the Passaic Unit. In March, 1936, he attended the Buffalo Convention of the Bund as a delegate. Fritz Kuhn and most of the other prominent Bund officials were present at this Convention. It was at this Convention that the Friends of New Germany became the German-American Bund. At a meeting before 700 fersons in the Schwaben Hall, he stated that the change of the name of the Bund did not in any respect alter its principles or its foundations.

 At this Convention, pursuant to a resolution, a telegram was sent to Adolf Hitler reading as follows:

 "REICHESCHANCELLOR ADOLF HITLER, BERLIN.

 The representatives of the German-American Volksbund, the former Bund Friends of the New Germany, assembled in Buffalo for their convention on the day of the German Reichstag election, see in the overpowering decision of the German Volk an expression which should be an example to the whole world of the unity between Government and Volk, in which we recognize the most sublime form of true democracy. As American citizens of German stock we congratulate der Fuehrer of all Germans upon this latest success which signifies the further step forward to the liberation of the world.

 /s/ FRITZ KUHN, BUND LEADER".

 This resolution was adopted by the delegates at this Convention of which this defendant was one.He admitted reading the Bund newspapers from cover to cover and this telegram appeared prominently in the Bund newspapers.

 In a speech before the Jamaica Unit, he made a statement as follows: "Wherever we are, wherever we go, we must act as Germans, for German spirit and German will are always invincible."

 While leader of his unit, the swastika flag was displayed, the German national anthems were sung, the Nazi salute and greeting were adopted, and uniforms patterned after the N.S.D.A.P. counterparts were worn by the members of the various Bund subdivisions. The meetings were opened by giving the Nazi salute and accompanying "Heil," and at the close of the meetings the Horst Wessel Lied was sung which was the Nazi anthem honoring a Storm Troop hero. This song was followed by a triple "Sieg Heil!"

 Significant is it to note that these meetings seem to be devoid of any American spirit consistent with his citizenship.

 The meeting followed the usual pattern, reading correspondence and orders that were sent from National Headquarters, and the members were extorted to obey these directions and orders. The members were advised of different programs, they were encouraged to subscribe to the Bund newspapers printed in German, and to read "Mein Kampf" and other Nazi literature. They were directed to study "Mein Kampf" so as to be sure to learn all of the answers with respect to National Socialism and the leadership principle. Hitler's newspapers were kept on display and could be readily bought.

 Some of the speakers who appeared and addressed the Jamaica Unit while Hauck was leader were avowed Nazis, many of whom went back to Germany to take part in Hitler's Government, to wit, Carl Nicolay, Theodore Dinkelacker, Robert Wood, Severin Winterscheidt, Rudolf Markmann, Fritz Gissibl, and Josef Schuster. National Socialism was freely spoken of and Adolf Hitler ardently praised. The speakers talked about the leadership principle and the blood theory of the Bund constantly and stressed the slogan "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer." This defendant was present when these talks were delivered and discoursed on these topics himself.He heard and delivered speeches on these themes, both prior to his naturalization and for many months thereafter.

 Films were shown by his unit, some of which were "The New Germany Presents Itself," "Triumph of the Will," "The Horst Wessel Film," and "Friesennot."

 The German holidays were celebrated, particularly the anniversary of Hitler's rise to power, his birthday, and the anniversary of the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. On April 20, 1936, Hitler's birthday, Hauck made a speech which was reported in the Bund newspaper as follows: "To the birthday of the Fuehrer of all Germans, Adolf Hitler, local group leader H. Hauck dedicated his speech at the last discussion meeting. It is an inner joy and satisfaction for us Ausland Germans that we are again a Volk, he said, then taking up the Fuehrer's career in greater detail, from school days to the present day, all this the speaker brought out very well. In the future we must strive and look up to the Fuehrer; therefore be united, united like our brothers in the old homeland!"

 He also traced the origin and development of the National Socialist Movement and how Hitler came to power. He admitted that his remarks and speeches were inconsistent with the oath of allegiance to the United States, but did not mean what he had said, apparently because he could not anticipate the consequences. He testified, "I was a fool -- a complete fool."

 A Golden Book was presented to Hitler in 1936, members of this defendant's unit having contributed money for German Winter Relief and signed their names on the leaves which were bound together to make this Golden Book. The defendant made a contribution and signed his name.

 He selected the officers of his unit and replaced them as he saw fit. The Jamaica United, while Hauck was leader, had a women's auxiliary and at first he denied that his wife was connected with the unit, but it was established that Mrs. Hauck was not only a member of the women's auxiliary but was a deputy leader, wore the uniform, and paid her dues.

 In this unit there was a youth division. The children wore the official Bund uniform and the defendant knew that it was patterned after the uniform worn by the Hitler Youth in Germany.

 The was thoroughly familiar with "Mein Kampf" and other National Socialist literature, the Bound newspapers; and his speeches and talks, his attendance at National Bund Conventions, and his association with Bund leaders are all indicative that this defendant was aware of the principles of the Bund and the similarity to the National Socialist ideology.

 Hauck's activities after he took his oath of allegiance as a citizen of the United States, his speeches, and indeed his whole conduct was comparable to his activities and conduct before his oath of allegiance. As a matter of fact his conduct in the activities of the Bund after being admitted to citizenship became more pronounced, thus making it apparent that he felt secure that his work in the Bund could not result in any injury to him because of his citizenship. The facts are indicative and clearly so that this defendant was not attached to the principles of the Constitution and the laws of the United States. He did not in fact renounce his allegiance to the German Reich. He did not intend to support the Constitution and the laws of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, and I do not believe that it can even be said of this defendant that he had a divided allegiance.

 Applicable Law

 Citizenship is a privilege which no alien may obtain except upon full compliance with the statutory requirements laid down by Congress, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized this principle in Luria v. United States, 231 U.S. 9, 34 S. Ct. 10, 58 L. Ed. 101; and United States v. Macintosh, 283 U.S. 605, 51 S. Ct. 570, 75 L. Ed. 1302.

 In Johannessen v. United States, 225 U.S. 227, at pp. 241, 242, 32 S. Ct. 613, at page 617, 56 L. Ed. 1066, the Court said: "An alien has no moral nor constitutional right to retain the privileges of citizenship if, by false evidence or the like, an imposition has been practised upon the court, without which the certificate of citizenship could not and would not have been issued. As was well said by Chief Justice Parker in ...


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