U.S. Nationalist Youth Groups: German American Organizations

NAZI oriented German groups went through a series of reorganizationd, most orchestrated from Berlin. The NAZI Party after seizing power in Germany sought to foster sympathetic political organization around the world. The better know operations are thiose in neighboring groups which because of their closeness to Germany and attitudes of the individuals, many of whom before the Versailles Treaty were once within the boundary of the Reich or the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. America while further away included much lager numbers of Germans. Hitler never discussed this pubically. His primarily method of operation was to focus on one country at a time so as not to incourage countries opposed to him to unite. Thus he did not begin talking about the Aedaten Germans until after he had Austria. He did not begin fousing on Danzig and the Polish Corridor until after he had Czecheslovakia.

Social clubs

Many German formed groups in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For the most part these were social groups. Political organization was primarily conducted within the confines of the existing political parties. I know of no significant youth groups formed by these various social organizations.

Early political organization

Changes began to occur in the 1920s in the aftermath of World War I. German immigrants began arriving in America who were adherents of NAZI and other right-wing German parties. These Germans began joining German social organizations and using them as vehicles to promote their politucal agenda. The depression which followed the 1929 stock market crash and Hitler's seizure of power caused increasing interest in more overtly political groups. Several overtly political grouops were formed.
NSKK: The NSKK was one such group. It was primarily an east-coast group, active in places like Yorkvill, New York with large German ethnic populations.
NSDAP: I believe the NSDAP was formed in 1923. It was one of the larger groups. The leading figure was Heinz Fonknobel.

Friends of the New Germany

The NAZI Party covertly approved of the unification of like-minded German political grouos in to the Friends of the New Germany (FDNA). I believe the group was formed in the early 1930s, but I do not have the exact date. The principal leader was Spocknobel. The FDNA was organized like the NAZI Party. A quasi-military group was recruited and called the OS, based on the German SS. There was also a youth division. One of the principal goals of te FDNA was to politicize the German American population. They distributed German propoganda. They successfully infiltrated many German social clubs and "Arianized" them. Few members stood up to them. It should be noted that most German-Americans by the 1930s were throughly Amerinized. Relatively few spoke German and few were active in German social clubs and similar organizations. These groups were most popular with the more recent immigrants. The FDNA received covert support from the German Railroad offices in America and the German Consulate. Many of its leaders were German nationals. They distributed NAZI propganda in major U.S. cities. The groups' activities were conducted so overtly that they brought about a Congressional investigation. In additiion, Jewsish emigrees were beginning to publicize what the NAZIs were doing to the Jews. American Jewish groups began to boycott German products and German merchants--drawing more attention to the FDNA. The Congressional hearings were led by a Jewish New York Congressman--Sam Dickstein. The Congressional investigation unearthed evidnce confirming that the FDNA was dominated by the NAZIs. The NAZIs in response decicded to withdraw German citizens from leadership roles.

Figure 2.--This is a scene from a German-American Bund event. Notice the black flag with a single ligtening bolt symbol. This was the symbol of the Hitler Youth. The boy carrying it has a brown shirt and black shirt, the same uniform worn by the Hitler Youth.

The German American Bund

German NAZI leaders decided that so much bad publicity had been generated by the FDNA that it would be best to create a new organization. The German-American Bund was formed in 1936. A U.S. citizen, Fritz Kuhn, was placed in charge. The Bund was an organization of ethnic Germans living in the U.S. which was marked by a pro-NAZI program. Aside from its admiration for Hitler and the achievements of NAZI Germany, the Bund program included virulent antisemitism, strong anti-Communism (until the August 1939 NAZI-Soviet Non-Agression Pact), and the demand that the U.S. remain neutral in the approaching European conflict. Public opinion surveys of 1939 show that Fritz Kuhn, the Bund leader was seen by the American public as the leading antisemite in the country. The actual Bund membership is not known with any certainty, but reliable estimates place membership at 25,000 dues paying members, including some 8,000 uniformed Storm Troopers. The Bund carried out active propaganda for its causes, published magazines and brochures, organized demonstrations and maintained a number of youth camps run along the lines of the Hitler Youth. Several camps were set up for Bund activities. The largest were Camp Nordland in New Jersey and Camp Siegfried on Long Island. The Bund instead of proceeding quietly, conducted a high-profile publicity campaign. One complication for the Bund was the August 1939 NAZI-Soviet Non-Agressiion Pact, making Hitler and Stalin virtual allies. The high-point of the Bund's activities was a mass rally in New York's Madison Square Garden on February 20, 1939 in the period leading to war in Europe. The Bund after America entered the War dispersed. FBI agents, however, began arresting foreign residents as well as U.S. citizens thouught to be security risks. The House Committee on Un-American Activities is probably the most well known Goverment body investigating suposed subversives. The activities of the Bund led a number of Jewish Congressmen to demand that they be investigated by the House Un-American activities Committee, under chairman Martin Dies. One outcome of the Congressional investigations was that agents of foreign governments had to register with the State Department. This complicated the operatioins of the Bundists. Other government bodies, especially California legislators also launched in investigations. Unfortunalely HBU has been unable to find much information on the youth groups organized by the Bund and its predesessor organizations. It is unclear at this time how formally the youth groups were organized. The children wore uniforms. At least in the camps they were short pants outfits, but appear to have been more kahki than the white shirts and black shorts wiorn by the Hitler Youth. I believe some units may have worn, berets, but I am not positive about this.

Contemporary Groups

Contemporary right-wing groups such as the Klu-Klux-Klan, Aryan Nation, and others often involve children, but not as a separate, uniformed youth group.


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Created: 5:30 AM 7/24/2007
Last updated: 10:18 PM 10/28/20077