Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze

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Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze (born in Camden, New Jersey in January 10, 1906)[1] was a natural born American citizen and the leader of the German American Bund. He succeeded Fritz Kuhn as national leader on December 6, 1939.[2] Kunze was known as the "Joseph Goebbels of the Bund"[3] and was director of the organization's youth movement.[4] Previously Kunze was a member of Friends of New Germany joining that organization in September 1933. Before he joined the Bund Kunze was employed as a chauffeur-mechanic and electrician.

Kunze along with August Klapprott were instrumental in undermining the leadership of Fritz Kuhn by providing financial documents to New York State District Attorney, Thomas E. Dewey showing Kuhn was misappropriating Bund funds.[5] Dewey would later become the Republican presidential nominee against Harry S. Truman.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor and German’s declaration of war against America, Kunze fled to Mexico with his plan to escape to Germany via submarine. He was arrested in July 1942 in the tiny fishing village of Boca del Rio, six miles south of Vera Cruz and extradited to the US.[6]

He was arraigned in New York on July 5, 1942 on charges of violating the Selective Service Act for failing to tell the draft board of his whereabouts. His bail was $50,000. Later he was also charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act. He was convicted on several counts including the espionage charge and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

Kunze was one of five Bund members who were indicted in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

Articles

  • "Blood is Sacred"

Notes

  1. Shadow Enemies: Hitler's Secret Terrorist Plot Against the United States, ny Alex Abella, Scott Gordon, page 65
  2. The Great Brown Scare: The Amerika Deutscher Bund in the Thirties and the Hounding of Fritz Julius Kuhn
  3. Under Cover, p. 46, by John Roy Carlson, (1943)
  4. Testimony of Fritz Kuhn, August 6, 1939, before the House of Un-American Activities Committee, page 3825
  5. [1]
  6. FASCISM AND ANTI-WAR ACTIVISM IN THE UNITED STATES 1939-45

See also

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