Hitler’s Fifth Column In Photos: The Story Of The German American Bund And Fritz Julius Kuhn

IN 1936, Nazis established the German American Bund, or German American Federation (German: Amerikadeutscher Bund; Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, AV). It would be Germany’s “Fifth Column”.

The Bund’s leader was the viciously racist German-born American Fritz Julius Kuhn. Under his guidance, the Bund created Nazi training camps.

The Bund soon began to hold rallies filled with swastikas, Nazi salutes and the singing of German songs. The Bund created recreational camps such as Camp Siegfried in New York and Camp Nordland in New Jersey. It also established Camp Hindenburg in Wisconsin and the group met frequently in Milwaukee and Chicago beer halls.

The Bund created an American version of the Hitler Youth that educated children in the German language, German history and Nazi philosophy. Although this organization tried to differentiate itself from the previously unsuccessful Friends of New Germany, the German Foreign Ministry commented that “In reality…they are the same people, with the same principles, and the same appearance”.

On 1 June 1943, Kuhn had a his American citizenship revoked. He was interned as dangerous anti-American alien. Before that he’d been in prison for embezzling the Bund’s funds.


Hans Schult, left, a leader at Camp Wille und Macht near Griggston, New Jersey, puts a group of German boys between the ages of 8 and 16 through a drill before a meal. The camp, flying the Nazi flag, is sponsored by Friends of the New Germany, and contains 200 boys from New York, Brooklyn, Buffalo, and Philadelphia.

Date: 09/08/1934



Answering charges that the German-American Volksbund is engaged in un-American activity, Fritz Kuhn, above, told thousands gathered camp Nordland, Andover, New Jersey on Sept. 26, 1937, the groups’ activities are founded on patriotic lines. He said the bund will continue its fight for Americanism until America is controlled by Americans and by a bunch of Russian-controlled Jews. American flags outnumbered swastikas, but there was goose stepping and Nazi saluting

Date: 26/09/1937



August Klapprott, right, head of the German-American bund camp near Andover, New Jersey, is shown greeting Fritz Kuhn, national head of the bund on Sept. 10, 1937.

Date: 10/09/1937


Here is part of the crowd of 6,000 Nazi sympathizers that gathered in the Sussex hills, Andover, New Jersey on July 19, 1937, to witness the dedication of the 21st camp in the United States under the auspices of the German-American Volksbund. A thousand men uniformed and wearing swastika armbands paraded behind the Nazi flag.

Date: 19/07/1937



Fritz Kuhn, leader of the German-American Bund, stands in the doorway of a German auditorium at (38th St. and Palisades Ave.) Union City, New Jersey on Oct. 2, 1938 and gives the Nazi salute to his followers. A few minutes later, Kuhn emerged from this same door after a New Jersey crowd, mostly veterans, broke up his “victory” meeting, and stoned the leader.

Date: 02/10/1938



Fritz Kuhn, national leader of the German American Bund, denied charges by Rep. Dickstein, of New York, that Kuhn is designated leader of German government in the United States, in Detroit, March 12, 1937. ‘“We have no connection with the German government,’” he said. His desk is adorned with Nazi swastikas.

Date: 12/03/1937



German American Bund has first meeting of year at camp in Nordland. Fritz Kuhn U.S. leader of the organization speaking from platform during the meeting. in Norland, N.J., on June 6, 1938.

Date: 06/06/1938



Fritz Kuhn, national leader of the German-American Bund, is (white suit) leads the way up a courthouse stairway at Riverhead, Long Island, July 11, 1938, to the courtroom setting of the state civil rights law prosecution. Five members of the German American Settlement League were under indictment. Kuhn is a director of the league. Behind him is an unidentified attorney for one of the defendants.

Date: 11/07/1938



Fritz Kuhn, centre, gets congratulations from fellow officers of the German American bund in New York, on his unanimous re-election which was held on Sept. 3, 1938. As national leader of the bund, now holding its sixth annual national convention.

Date: 03/09/1938

In February 1939 Kuhn and the Bund held their largest rally in Madison Square Garden—ironically, one which marked the beginning of the end for the organization. In front of a crowd of 22,000, flanked by a massive portrait of George Washington, swastikas and Americans flags, Kuhn attacked FDR for being part of a Bolshevik-Jewish conspiracy, calling him “Frank D. Rosenfeld” and criticizing the New Deal, which Kuhn had deemed “the Jew Deal”. Three thousands members of the Ordnungsdienst, the militant arm of the Bund, were on hand and fistfights broke out in the crowd among those who had come to heckle Kuhn.


The crowd responds with a Hitler salute as uniformed members of a German-American Bund color guard march at a gathering in New York’s Madison Square Garden, Feb. 20, 1939.

Date: 20/02/1939



A banner with an anti-Jewish slogan is displayed at Madison Square, New York, February 20, 1939, shortly before adherents of the German American Bund, an organization largely financed by the government of Nazi Germany, began marching in for a rally.

Date: 20/02/1939



A crowd of demonstrators outside New York’s Madison Square Garden on Feb. 20, 1939, seize a uniformed member of the German American Bund who had emerged from a Bund rally in the Garden and attempted to enter a taxi. Previously, inside the arena, Nazis had beaten a man who jumped onto the stage and approached Bund Leader Fritz Kuhn.

Date: 20/02/1939



A mounted policeman strikes with the back of his gloved hand at an unidentified man near Madison Square Garden, New York, during the German American Bund rally Feb. 20, 1939. A force of 1,500 policemen were stationed in and around the Garden to forestall anti-Bund demonstrations.

Date: 20/02/1939



Dorothy Thompson, the New York columnist and wife of Sinclair Lewis, the famous American author, interjected the word, Bunk, at the big rally of the German-American Bund at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Feb. 20, 1939, and was promptly escorted outside in the hope that such action would prevent any further demonstration. Later, on her plea that is was her constitutional right to heckle, Miss Thompson was readmitted to the meeting. With a pair of storm-troopers beside her, Dorothy Thompson is escorted from the meeting of the German-American bund at Madison Square Garden, New York.

Date: 20/02/1939



At the meeting of the German American bund held in Madison Square Garden, New York on Feb. 20, 1939,Fritz Kuhn, national leader of the Bund, uttered imprecations against the Jews. He was the concluding speaker in a Bund programme which was marked by violence, despite a police guard of hundreds. Fritz Kuhn, in full uniform of a storm trooper, delivering his bitter attack on the Jews, at the meeting of the German American Bund held in Madison Square Garden, New York on Feb. 20, 1939.

Date: 20/02/1939



Fritz Kuhn, right, national leader of the German-American Volksbund, at a meeting in Milwaukee, Wisc., May 27, 1939, when he said that the charges of forgery and larceny of Bund funds, filed against him in New York, were ‘“trumped up’. Kuhn with George Froeboese, left, of Milwaukee, Midwest Bund leader, charged New York District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey with prosecuting him in order to further his own presidential ambitions.

Date: 27/05/1939



German American Bund speakers and officers in front of an American flag at a ‘“patriotic dinner’” in New York, Sept. 25, 1939 at which President Roosevelt’s neutrality recommendations were denounced. Left to right, seated Wilbur Keegan, New Jersey attorney who urged members to profess their loyalty to the United States; Fritz Kuhn, Bund fuehrer; and William Meyer, who said the Bund would continue to fight for a ‘“real nationalistic America’”. Standing: Gustave Elmer, William Kunze and James Wheeler-Hill, Bund officials.

Date: 25/09/1939



Fritz Kuhn as he arrived at General Sessions court in New York City, Nov. 20, 1939 where he is being tried on charges of diverting German-American Bund funds for his personal use.

Date: 20/11/1939



Elsa Kuhn, wife of American Bund leader Fritz Kuhn, at the trial of her husband at General Sessions court in New York City, Nov. 20, 1939, where she was expected to take the stand as a star witness for the defense. Kuhn, leader of the German-American Bund, is charged with using Bund funds for the benefit of women friends.

Date: 20/11/1939



The scene at the German-American Bund camp, Camp Nordland, at Andover, N.J., August 9, 1940, as the New Jersey Realm of the Ku Klux Klan burned a large cross.

Date: 09/08/1940



Four German-American Bundists (two of them camera-shy and unidentified) walk in single file into the Sussex county jail at Newton, N.J., Jan. 31, 1941 to await placing of bail after they were sentenced to serve a year to 14 months in state prison on charges of violating New Jersey’’s “race hatred” law. On top step is Leonard D. Clark of New York, writer for a Bund publication. At left is Richard Schiele of Paterson, N.J., bund camp trustee.

Date: 31/01/1941



Sheriff Denton J. Quick, left, wearing black hat, and township committee member George Morrow, with cigar in mouth, point to a huge wooden swastika projecting from a ceiling in a building at a German-American Bund camp in Nordland, near Andover, N.J., May 30, 1941. The sheriff’s raiding party broke up a meeting at the camp and warned officials of the bund that no further meeting could be held here.

Date: 30/05/1941



Fritz Kuhn, former national leader of the German-American Bund who lost his citizenship on March 18, 1943, was in audience before Adolf Hitler, left. Others in photo are unidentified.

Date: 18/03/1943



Fritz Julius Kuhn, former German-American Bund leader, waves goodbye at Pier 1, New York, Sept. 15, 1945 as he prepares to board the War Shipping Administration’s vessel, Winchester Victory with 488 other German undesirables, en route to Germany.

Date: 15/09/1945

Fritz Julius Kuhn in CIC interrogation room at internment camp at Asperg, Germany, Nov. 26, 1945 where he is being held.

Date: 26/11/1945



Fritz Julius Kuhn, former chief of the German-American Bund, goes about his job as baggage man at Asperg, Germany, March 9, 1946, where he is interned in Schloss Asperg castle. Interned along with him at Asperg are repatriated German nationals, mostly deportees from America.

Date: 09/03/1946


Fritz Julius Kuhn, former German-American Bund leader in the U.S.A., was released on April 25, 1946, from Asperg Interment Number 76. Kuhn and family meet for the first time in 6 years in Munich, Germany. From left to right: son Walter, 19, Mrs. Kuhn, Kuhn, and Waltraut Kuhn, 22.

Date: 28/04/1946


Members of the New Jersey Ku Klux Klan appear with August Klapprott, right, speaking, former regional leader of the German-American Bund, at the former Bund headquarters, Camp Nordland, Andover, New Jersey on August 19, 1946. At right, behind Klapprott, is former Kleagle Arthur H. Bell of Bloomfield, then head of the Klan. Assistant Attorney General Dan Duke of Georgia is to confer with Atty. General Walter D. Van Riper of NJ, on the Klan’s activities in New Jersey on August 9, in connection with proposed court action to cancel the national charter of the KKK. Van Riper has commented on the Klan’s apparent tie up with the Bund and is likely to provide the state of Ga., with details of this meeting.



Fritz Julius Kuhn, former Fuehrer of German-American Bund, waves to American officers as leaves Hohenasperg Fortress, in an American truck, to catch train to his family in Munich after his liberation from internment, April 25, 1946.

Date: 25/04/1946



Fritz Julius Kuhn, former Fuhrer of the German-American Bund in the U.S. and deported to Germany, talks with American correspondents at the gate of Hohenasperg Fortress at Asperg, Germany after he was freed, April 25, 1946. Left to right beyond Kuhn: Lt. Harold Peffer, McKean, Pa.; Capt. J.W. Copel, Mattapan, Mass.; Daniel De Luce, Associated Press correspondent; Lt. Colonel J.C. Tredennick, Johnstown, Pa., commander of the 13th AAA battalion which operates the fortress; Corp. Bill Long, Kansas City, Mo.; Stuttgart bureau manager for American-controlled German news agency Dana; Robert Haeger, United Press correspondent.

Date: 25/04/1946


PA-10470757 (1)

Bund-leader Fritz Julius Kuhn is shown in jail at Neudeck, Bavaria near Munich, July 22, 1947 where he was brought after his arrest. Kuhn is facing his trial before a German denazification court.

Date: 22/07/1947



Fritz Julius Kuhn, former German-American Bund leader angrily protested against German justice as he appealed his ten-year sentence as major Nazi offender before a German appellate court in Munich, Feb. 14, 1949. Kuhn had been sentenced in absentia after he had escaped from imprisonment. Later he was recaptured and has been since held in a prison camp near Nuremberg, Germany. Kuhn, former German-American Bund leader, passionately defends himself before a German appellate court in Munich.

Date: 14/02/1949

Kuhn died on December 14, 1951, in Munich, Germany. The New York Times noted he died “a poor and obscure chemist, unheralded and unsung”.



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