Fritz Julius Kuhn

Fritz Julius Kuhn (May 15, 1896 – December 14, 1951) was the leader of the German American Bund before World War II. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1934, but his citizenship was cancelled in 1943, and he was deported in 1945. He was an American supporter of the German Nazi government led by Adolf Hitler that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945.[1]

Fritz Julius Kuhn
Kuhn German American Bund Rally 19380105 NARA 4
Kuhn in 1938
Fritz Julius Kuhn

May 15, 1896
DiedDecember 14, 1951 (aged 55)
Known forGerman American Bund
ChildrenWalter, Waltraut
  • Georg Kuhn
  • Julia Justyna Beuth
Nazi Strike 2
Madison Square Garden rally 1939
Fritz kuhn
Kuhn appearing on the street after leaving a courthouse in Webster, Massachusetts in 1939
Battle of the USA 5 Kuhn
Kuhn speaking at a "Bund"-camp-rally

Life and career

Kuhn was born in Munich, then the German Empire, on May 15, 1896, the son of Georg Kuhn and Julia Justyna Beuth. During World War I, Kuhn earned an Iron Cross as a German infantry lieutenant.[2] After the war, he graduated from the Technical University of Munich with a master's degree in chemical engineering. In the 1920s, Kuhn moved to Mexico. In 1928, he moved to the United States and, in 1934, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.[3] He worked at a Ford factory in Detroit before assuming control of the Bund in Buffalo, New York, in 1936.[4]

A Congressional committee headed by Samuel Dickstein concluded that the Friends of New Germany supported a branch of German dictator Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party in the United States,[5] and the Friends of New Germany disbanded. However, in March 1936, the German American Bund was established in Buffalo as a follow-up organization.[6] The Bund elected the German-born American citizen Kuhn as its leader.[7]

Kuhn, while describing the Bund as "sympathetic to the Hitler government", denied that the organization received money or took orders from the government of Germany. Kuhn also denied that the Bund had any agenda of introducing fascism to the United States.[8][9]

Kuhn enlisted thousands of Americans by using what would be criticized as antisemitic, anticommunist, and pro-German propaganda. One of his first tasks was to plan a trip to Germany with 50 of his American followers. The purpose was to be in the presence of Hitler and to personally witness National-Socialism in practice.

At this time, Germany was preparing to host the 1936 Olympics. Kuhn anticipated a warm welcome from Adolf Hitler, but the encounter was a disappointment. This did not stop Kuhn from elaborating more propaganda to his followers once he returned to the United States about how Hitler acknowledged him as the "American Führer".[10]

As his profile grew, so did the tension against him. Not only Jewish-Americans, but also German-Americans who did not want to be associated with Nazis, protested against the Bund. These protests were occasionally violent, making the Bund front page news in the United States. In response to the outrage of Jewish war veterans, Congress in 1938 passed the Foreign Agents Registration Act requiring foreign agents to register with the State Department.[10] The negative attention to the American Nazis was not to Hitler's liking because he wanted the Nazi Party in the United States to be strong, but stealthy. Hitler needed to keep the U.S. neutral throughout the coming war and sought to avoid provoking Americans, whereas Kuhn was eager to stir media attention. On March 1, 1938, the Nazi government decreed that no German national (Reichsdeutsche) could be a member of the Bund and that no Nazi emblems were to be used by the organization.[6]

Undaunted, on February 20, 1939, Kuhn held the largest and most publicized rally in the Bund's history at Madison Square Garden in New York City.[11] Some 20,000 people attended and heard Kuhn mock President Franklin D. Roosevelt as "Frank D. Rosenfeld", calling his New Deal the "Jew Deal" and denouncing what he called Bolshevik-Jewish American leadership. Kuhn also stated: "The Bund is fighting shoulder to shoulder with patriotic Americans to protect America from a race that is not the American race, that is not even a white race ... The Jews are enemies of the United States." Most shocking was the outbreak of violence between Bund storm troopers and thousands of angry protesters in the streets. During Kuhn's speech, a Jewish protester, Isadore Greenbaum, rushed the stage and had to be rescued by police after he was beaten and stripped by storm troopers.[12][13][14]

Later in 1939, seeking to cripple the Bund, New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia ordered the city to investigate the Bund's taxes. It found that Kuhn had embezzled over $14,000 from the organization, spending part of the money on a mistress. District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey issued an indictment and won a conviction against Kuhn. On December 5, 1939, Kuhn was sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison for tax evasion and embezzlement.[15] Despite his criminal conviction for embezzlement, followers of the Bund continued to hold Kuhn in high regard, in line with the Nazi Führerprinzip, which gives the leader absolute power.

While in Sing Sing[4] prison, Kuhn's citizenship was canceled on June 1, 1943, on grounds of it having been obtained fraudulently as shown by his ongoing activity as a foreign agent of, and person with loyalty including oaths of military service towards, Germany and the Nazi Party.[3] Upon his release after spending 43 months in prison, Kuhn was re-arrested on June 21, 1943, as an enemy agent and interned by the federal government at a camp in Crystal City, Texas. After the war, Kuhn was sent to Ellis Island and deported to Germany on September 15, 1945.[3] Upon his arrival in Germany, he wanted to return to the United States,[16] but was imprisoned, then released shortly before his death.[17] While in prison, Kuhn reportedly sent a message to Jewish columnist Walter Winchell, who had helped lead media counterattacks against the Bund back in New York City. It read: "Tell Herr Vinchell, I will lift to piss on his grafe [sic]."[18]

He died on December 14, 1951, in Munich, Germany. The New York Times obituary said that he died "a poor and obscure chemist, unheralded and unsung".[1]

Appearance in media

In the alternative historical dystopian television series The Man in the High Castle, a high school on Long Island is named after Kuhn.


  1. ^ a b "Fritz Kuhn Death in 1951 Revealed. Lawyer Says Former Leader of German-American Bund Succumbed in Munich". The New York Times. Associated Press. February 2, 1953. Retrieved 2008-07-20. Fritz Kuhn, once the arrogant, noisy leader of the pro-Hitler German-American Bund, died here more than a year ago – a poor and obscure chemist, unheralded and unsung.
  2. ^ Riess, Curt. Total Espionage: Germany's Information and Disinformation Apparatus 1932-40, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Fritz Kuhn, Former Bund Chief, Ordered Back to Germany". The Evening Independent. September 7, 1945.
  4. ^ a b O'Haire, Hugh (May 8, 1977). "When the Bund Strutted in Yaphankl". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  5. ^ U.S. Congress, House Special Committee on Un-American Activities (1938). Investigation of un-American propaganda activities in the United States. United States Congress. p. 1090. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  6. ^ a b Jim Bredemus. "American Bund – The Failure of American Nazism: The German-American Bund's Attempt to Create an American 'Fifth Column'". TRACES. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  7. ^ Cyprian Blamires; Paul Jackson (2006). World fascism: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 270. ISBN 0-8223-0772-3.
  8. ^ Says Hitler Group is 200,000 strong. Kuhn Denies Trying to Set Up Fascism in U.S. Associated Press in Reading Eagle, March 12, 1937
  9. ^ Kuhn Bares Bund Record Destruction. "Kuhn steadfastly denied that the German government had any connection with his organization." Associated Press in Reading Eagle, August 16, 1939
  10. ^ a b Nazi America: A Secret History (2000), History Channel (92 min)
  11. ^ Ratzis Fritz Kuhn and the Bund, 1939 by Jay Maeder Sunday, May 31st 1998
  12. ^ "Fight Nazis in Big N.Y. Rally" (February 21, 1939). Chicago Tribune Archive. Chicago Tribune News Service. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  13. ^ Philpot, Robert (February 22, 2019). "Eighty years ago this week: the night the Nazis played Madison Square Garden". The Jewish Chronicle. London. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  14. ^ Philip Bump, When Nazis rallied in Manhattan, one working-class Jewish man from Brooklyn took them on, 20 February 2017, The Washington Post
  15. ^ Adams, Thomas (2005). Germany and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History: A MultiDisciplinary Encyclopedia. G – N, volume 2. ABC-CLIO. p. 631. ISBN 1-85109-628-0. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  16. ^ Shaffer, Ryan (Spring 2010). "Long Island Nazis: A Local Synthesis of Transnational Politics". 21 (2). Journal of Long Island History. Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  17. ^ IMDb Biography
  18. ^ Bernstein, Arnie (May 28, 2017). "Walter Winchell, Nazi Fighter". The New York Times Book Review: 6. Retrieved 27 May 2017.

External links

1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden

On February 20, 1939, a Nazi rally was organized by the German American Bund at Madison Square Garden. More than 20,000 people attended, and Fritz Julius Kuhn was a featured speaker. The Bund billed the event, which took place on George Washington's Birthday, as a pro-"Americanism" rally; the stage at the event featured a huge Washington portrait with swastikas on either side.

A Night at the Garden

A Night at the Garden is a 2017 short documentary film about a 1939 Nazi rally that filled Madison Square Garden in New York City. The film was directed by Marshall Curry and was produced by Laura Poitras and Charlotte Cook with Field of Vision. The seven-minute film is composed entirely of archival footage and features a speech from Fritz Julius Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund, in which anti-Semitic and pro white-Christian sentiments are espoused. The documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was nominated for the 91st Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short.

Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule

The Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (DVS), German Air Transport School, was a covert military-training organization operating as a flying school in Germany. It began during the Weimar Republic in Staaken, Berlin in 1925 and its head office was transferred in 1929 to Broitzem airfield near Braunschweig.The DVS was outwardly a flying school for commercial pilots, but in fact became a secret military arm training military aviators for the future Luftwaffe. This training facility grew in importance in the initial stages of Nazi Germany, while camouflaging as a harmless civilian organization (Tarnorganisation), at the time of Germany's rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty.On May 31, 1945, after Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, the American Military Government issued a special law outlawing the Nazi Party and all of its branches. Known as "Law number five", this Denazification decree disbanded the Deutsche Verkehrsfliegschule and its facilities were taken over by the occupying forces.

Some flying schools in Germany operatie under the same name in different locations in the country. All of them were established after the war.

Eidgenössische Sammlung

Eidgenössische Sammlung (German; literally "Confederate Collection") was a Swiss political party, founded in 1940 by Robert Tobler as a successor to the recently dissolved National Front.The party demanded an adjustment in Swiss policy to favour the Axis powers. This was particularly important as, after June 1940 the country was surrounded by fascist and Nazi states. It was open in its loyalty towards Nazi Germany.The Eidgenössiche Sammlung was closely supervised by the state because of its origins and so could not develop freely. In 1943 the police finally cracked down on the group and it was outlawed along with all of its sub-organisations as part of a wider government initiative against the National Front and its offshoots.

Faith and Beauty Society

The BDM-Werk Glaube und Schönheit (German for BDM Faith and Beauty Society) was founded in 1938 to serve as a tie-in between the work of the League of German Girls (BDM) and that of the National Socialist Women's League. Membership was voluntary and open to girls aged 17 to 21.

German American Bund

The German American Bund, or German American Federation (German: Amerikadeutscher Bund; Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, AV), was a German-American pro-Nazi organization established in 1936 to succeed Friends of New Germany (FoNG), the new name being chosen to emphasize the group's American credentials after press criticism that the organization was unpatriotic. The Bund was to consist only of American citizens of German descent. Its main goal was to promote a favorable view of Nazi Germany.

German National Movement in Liechtenstein

The German National Movement in Liechtenstein (German: Volksdeutsche Bewegung in Liechtenstein, VDBL) was a National Socialist party in Liechtenstein that existed between 1938 and 1945.


Hirden (the hird) was a uniformed paramilitary organisation during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, modelled the same way as the German Sturmabteilungen.


Kuhn is a surname of German origin, derived from the Old German name Conrad. It may refer to the following individuals:

Abraham Kuhn (banker) (1819–1892), German-American founder of Kuhn, Loeb & Co.

Abraham Kuhn (1838–1900), Alsatian otolaryngologist

Adam Kuhn (1741–1817), American naturalist and physicist

Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880–1963), American scholar of mythology and linguistics

Anthony Kuhn, NPR correspondent in Beijing, China

Bob Kuhn, a former mayor of Glendora, California

Bradley M. Kuhn (born 1973), American free software activist

Bowie Kuhn (1926–2007), American Major League Baseball commissioner

Franz Kuhn (1884–1961), German lawyer and translator of Chinese novels

Franz Felix Adalbert Kuhn (1812–1881), German philologist and folklorist

Frédéric Kuhn (born 1968), French hammer thrower

Friedrich Adalbert Maximilian Kuhn (1842–1894), German botanist

Fritz Kuhn (born 1955), German Green Party politician

Fritz Julius Kuhn (1896–1951), leader of the German American Bund

Harold W. Kuhn (1925–2014), American mathematician, John von Neumann Theory Prize winner, developer of Kuhn poker

Heino Kuhn (born 1984), South African cricketer

Johannes von Kuhn (1806–1887), German Catholic theologian

Joseph Kuhn-Régnier (1873–1940), French illustrator

John Kuhn (born 1982), American football player

Judy Kuhn (born 1958), American singer and actress, Tony Award winner

Köbi Kuhn (born 1943), head coach of the Switzerland national football team

Maggie Kuhn (1905–1995), American activist, founder of the Gray Panthers

Markus Kuhn (American football) (born 1986), German-born NFL player

Markus Kuhn (computer scientist) (born 1971), German computer scientist

Mickey Kuhn (born 1932), American former child actor

Oliver Kuhn (1898–1968), "Doc Kuhn", American football, baseball and basketball player

Oskar Kuhn (1908–1990), German paleontologist

Philip A. Kuhn (1933–2016), Harvard professor and preeminent China expert

Paul Kuhn

Peter Kuhn (1955–2009), American race car driver

Richard Kuhn (1900–1967), Austrian biochemist, winner of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Rick Kuhn (born 1955), Marxist economist and lecturer at the Australian National University

Robert Lawrence Kuhn (born 1944), American author, investment banker, China specialist and PBS TV documentary host

Robert "Bob" Frederick Kuhn (1920–2007), American illustrator and sculptor

Robert Verrill Kuhn (known as Bob Keane, 1922–2009), American clarinetist, producer and label owner

Roland Kuhn, a Swiss psychiatrist

Simone Kuhn (born 1980), Swiss beach volleyball player

Steve Kuhn (born 1938), American jazz pianist

Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922–1996), American philosopher and historian of science, author of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Walt Kuhn (1877–1949), American painterKihn (variant)

Hans Alfred Kihn, German playwright

Greg Kihn, American musician and novelist

Martin Kihn, American writer and digital marketer

W. Langdon Kihn (1898–1957), American painter and illustrator

Liechtenstein Homeland Service

Liechtenstein Homeland Service (German: Liechtensteiner Heimatdienst, LHD) was a political party in Liechtenstein that advocated corporate statism and the abolition of party politics.Established in the autumn of 1933, the party's positions began to radicalize and move toward National Socialist ideas within a few months of existence. By December 1933, this radicalization caused some members (such as co-founder Eugen Schafhauser) to abandon the party.LHD merged with the Christian-Social People's Party (VP) in 1936 to form the Patriotic Union (VU).

National Front (Switzerland)

The National Front was a far-right political party in Switzerland that flourished during the 1930s. At its peak the group had as many as 9,000 members, according to the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland,

and "may have had a membership of 25,000 or so", according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

National Socialist Flyers Corps

The National Socialist Flyers Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps; NSFK) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that was founded 15 April 1937 as a successor to the German Air Sports Association; the latter had been active during the years when a German air force was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. The NSFK organization was based closely on the para-military organization of the Sturmabteilung (SA). A similar group was the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK).

During the early years of its existence, the NSFK conducted military aviation training in gliders and private airplanes. Friedrich Christiansen, originally a Generalleutnant then later a Luftwaffe General der Flieger, was NSFK Korpsführer from 15 April 1937 until 26 June 1943, followed by Generaloberst Alfred Keller until 8 May 1945.

National Socialist Schoolchildren's League

The National Socialist Schoolchildren's League (Nationalsozialistischer Schülerbund), known under the acronyms NSS and also, more rarely NSSB, was a National Socialist organisation for primary school pupils providing a student council and child protection system in Germany from 1929 till 1933.

National Union (Switzerland)

The National Union (French: Union Nationale) was a French-speaking fascist political party in Switzerland between 1932 and 1939.

The Union was formed in Geneva in 1932 by Georges Oltramare, a lawyer and writer. Noted for his anti-Semitic writing, Oltramare founded the Order Politique Nationale in 1931 but merged it with the Union de Défense Economique the following year to form the National Union. The group continued under Oltramare's leadership until 1940 when he moved to Paris in order to co-operate more closely with the Nazis. Oltramare spent four years as a member of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland representing the National Union.The Union became notorious for a demonstration in Geneva on November 9, 1932 when their march to the city's Salle Communale was counterdemonstrated by the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. In the resulting trouble the Swiss army opened fire on the Socialists resulting in 13 deaths.

National Unity Party (Canada)

The Parti National Social Chrétien (English: National Social Christian Party) was a Canadian political party formed by Adrien Arcand in February 1934. The party identified with antisemitism, and German leader Adolf Hitler's Nazism. The party was later known, in English, as the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party or National Unity Party.

Nationale Jeugdstorm

The Nationale Jeugdstorm (English: National Youth Storm; NJS) was a Dutch youth movement that existed from 1934 to 1945, organized as the Dutch equivalent of the German Hitlerjugend and as a Nazi counterpart of Scouting Nederland.

The California Reich

The California Reich is a 1975 documentary film on a group of Neo-Nazis in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tracy, California, USA. They are members of the National Socialist White People's Party, a United States Nazi party started by George Rockwell. The film received a nomination at the 1976 Academy Awards in the Best Documentary category. It was also screened at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn't entered into the main competition.The film features scenes with Jewish Defense League (JDL) leader Irv Rubin confronting American Nazis.

The Immortals (neo-Nazis)

The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.

Volksdeutsche Bewegung

Volksdeutsche Bewegung (German; literally "Ethnic German Movement") was a Nazi movement in Luxembourg that flourished under the German-occupied Luxembourg during World War II.

Formed by Damian Kratzenberg, a university professor with a German background, the movement only emerged after the invasion and was declared the only legal political movement in Luxembourg by the Nazis. Using the slogan Heim ins Reich (Home to the Reich), their declared aim was the full incorporation of Luxembourg into Nazi Germany. The policy was supported by Nazis who used the Bewegung as means towards this end. The aim was accomplished in August 1942, although the VDB continued to operate and peaked at 84,000 members. Many of these joined when it became clear that membership was necessary to retain employment. A number of leading members also held dual membership of the National Socialist German Workers Party after incorporation. The movement disappeared after the war, and Kratzenberg was executed in 1946.

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