|Birth Name||Fritz Julius Kuhn|
|Height||6' (1.83 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Fritz Kuhn, the self-styled "American Fuhrer," was the Leader of German-American Bund (Federation), a group which, prior to its dissolution following Pearl Harbor, was directly connected to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Fritz is featured in the documentary film "Inside Nazi Germany," the January 1938 March of Time newsreel called "the first commercially released anti-Nazi American motion picture."
Born in Germany on May 15, 1896, the naturalized U.S. citizen was a stalwart supporter of the Nazi German government led by Adolf Hitler. He served in the German Army as an infantry officer during World War I, winning an Iron Cross for bravery. He graduated from the University of Munich with a masters degree in chemical engineering after the war and moved to Mexico in the 1920s. From Mexico, he emigrated to the United States where, in 1934, he became a naturalized citizen.
The Bund originally was called "Friends of New Germany" when it was organized in the U.S. Members wore a uniform, a white shirt and black trousers for men with a black hat festooned with a red symbol. Women members wore a white blouse and a black skirt. The organization originally was lead by German immigrant and non-citizen Fritz Gissibl, who made his headquarters in Chicago. Walter Kappe was one of Gissibl's chief lieutenant. (Kappe later returned to Nazi Germany, where he planned and executed the infiltration of the U.S. by two four-man teams of saboteurs in 1942. On August 8, 1942, six of the eight German agents were electrocuted at the District Jail in Washington, D.C. Two others were sentenced to prison, one for life and the other for 30 years. In 1948, they were deported to Germany. Meanwhile. This is the president President George W. Bush uses to justify the detainment of terrorists without recourse to habeus corpus.)
On the orders of Hitler, who wanted an American citizen fronting the organization, Kuhn replaced Gissibl. The name of the federation was changed to the German-American Bund. When the 1936 Summer Olympics were held in Berlin, Kuhn attended and was introduced to Adolf Hitler. Reportedly, Hitler was not favorably impressed with Kuhn, a man who, unlike the German Fuhrer, liked strong waters and women. The pro-Hitler Bund was considered a substantial threat by anti-fascist forces in the United States. German-Americans constituted the largest ethnic group in terms of numbers of immigrants entering the U.S. since such numbers were kept in the early 19th-century, and a good many German Americans in the wake of World War One had no desire for a second German-American war. When combined with the large groups of isolationists who desired that the U.S. stay out of European affairs, Kuhn and the Bund constituted a major stumbling block to those who desired action against Hitler's fascist regime.
Although the newsreel "Inside Nazi Germany" contains some footage shot in Nazi Germany, the "documentary" featured staged re-enactments shot in the United States, using anti-Nazi German-Americans. Kuhn was inveigled to stage some scenes in his German-American Bund office. When he discovered he had been tricked, Walter Winchell reported that he was recorded screaming "I will be ruint. Ruint!" at a screening in the March of Time building.
As for Fritz Kuhn, his own troubles preceded those that led to the downfall of the Bund. New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who was half-Jewish, launched an investigation of the Bund in 1939. Evidence that Kuhn had pilfered $14,000 in Bund funds was discovered, but the Bund -- loyal to its Fuhrer -- refused to prosecute. Undaunted, District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey indicted Kuhn on charges of embezzlement, charging that he had allegedly spent part of the $14,000 on his mistress. Kuhn was convicted, and although members of the Bund believed it was a politically motivated frame-up and continued to hold him in high regard, he was a spent force, politically. The man who had dreamed his Quisling dream of one day becoming "America's Fuhrer" was replaced by Gerhard Kunze.
A year after the outbreak of World War II, Congress enacted a peacetime military draft in September 1940. The Bund counseled members of draft age to evade conscription, a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Gerhard Kunze fled to Mexico in November 1941, and after Germany and America went to war in December of that year, Kuhn was incarcerated at an internment camp in Texas for the duration. In 1946, he was released and deported to Bundesrepublik Deutschland (West Germany), where he was imprisoned. He was released shortly before his death in 1951.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood