seriously considered. So far as I know, this view has not been accepted by any court and seems to have been entirely disposed of by the statement in the Schneiderman case, "where two interpretations of an organization's program are possible, the one reprehensible and a bar to naturalization and the other permissible, a court in a denaturalization proceeding, assuming that it can re-examine a finding of attachment upon a charge of illegal procurement, is not justified in canceling a certificate of citizenship by imputing the reprehensible interpretation to a member of the organization in the absence of overt acts indicating that such was his interpretation."
The published aims and purposes of the Bund as stated in its constitution and in much of its literature both official and unofficial are entirely consistent with loyalty to this country. It is unquestionably true, however, that many of the Bund leaders were wholly attached to Germany and the Nazi party and had dreams of developing a movement here that would come to achievement like Hitler's by like methods and with like results. The limited membership to which the exclusively Germanic character of the organization condemned it made any great progress in that direction unlikely in this country of mixed racial origins, but, as a fifth column, the Bund might have been a source of danger in time of stress. On the whole, I think that these activities within the organization were sufficiently widespread to justify the conclusion which Judge Bright reached in the New York cases that the constitution and outward forms of loyalty to the United States were or had become a mere front and that the aims and purposes of the Bund, considered as an entity, were un-American and subversive. However, as Judge Bright was prompt to say: "It does not follow * * * that mere membership in the Bund would be sufficient upon which to base the judgment here sought." United States v. Kuhn, D.C. 49 F.Supp. 407, 414. The evidence of the undercover aims and purposes of the Bund -- the "reprehensible interpretation" -- is relevant, but its value in this case depends upon whether the defendant knew, approved of or adopted those aims, and upon what can be inferred from it as to his state of mind when he took the oath of allegiance.
Having been naturalized in 1934, the defendant joined the Bund's predecessor organization in late 1934 or early 1935. So far as appears, when he was invited to become a member the social features of the organization were the only ones stressed. He attended no meetings for more than two years and took no interest in it until early in 1937. He resigned from membership about a year and a half later. From about August 1, 1937 until his resignation, about nine months later, he was the local group leader of the Philadelphia unit, the membership of which was between 150 and 200. He accepted the position, to fill a vacancy, only after some urging, and his selection seems to have been largely because of his knowledge of English and rather superior intelligence. For a few months after his resignation he maintained some sort of unofficial connection with the Bund, principally for the purpose of assisting his successor in office. After that, his only contacts were with the Deutschhorst Camp or Country Club -- contacts not known to be other than business and social.
There is nothing to show that the defendant when he came to this country in 1927, had been in any way identified with the Nazi movement in Germany. He stated that at that time he had never heard of Hitler. A Government witness, offered as an expert upon Bund affairs and National Socialism in General, testified that in 1927 the party was not well known throughout all Germany; cfor example in the Rhineland (the defendant's home) it wasn't very much known at all asit was in central."
Of course, during his active connection with the Bund, the defendant was undoubtedly exposed to propaganda, both official and unofficial, coming from Bund headquarters or appearing in its paper in articles, reports of speeches, etc., some of which can rightly be called un-American and subversive, but that is quite a different matter from saying that he endorsed or adopted these views. He expressed emphatic disapproval, in his testimony, of such as he believed contrary to the spirit of our constitution and laws.
The defendant's wife was never naturalized and has been interned as an enemy alien. It is plain that her sentiments, expressions and activities augmented the suspicion of disloyalty which fell upon the defendant as a result of his connection with the Bund. In his preliminary statement, offered in evidence, he said referring to his desire to conform to the principles of American citizenship, "between my wife and I through that fact came very big differences and heartbreaking differences. * * *".
Lastly I think I should say that the defendant, throughout his testimony on the witness stand, impressed me as truthful. He is an intelligent man and I found very little, if any, disposition on his part to evade or equivocate. He could have easily capitalized on his resignation from the Bund by pretending that he had become convinced that it was a disloyal organization and that he could not remain in it because its aims and principles conflicted with his obligations as a citizen. He said, however -- it seemed to me quite frankly -- that he was moved to resign by the fact that general disapproval of his Bund association (which culminated in a small riot at one of the meetings) caused him great annoyance, made it difficult for him to get along and threatened to cost him his job, and that when he left he was not convinced that there was anything wrong about Bund membership. This view, he testified, was confirmed by some communication from the New York office in answer to an inquiry of his, stating that the Bund had been investigated by the Government and given a clean bill of health.
For the reasons stated I am of the opinion that the prayer of the complainant should be denied and the complaint should be dismissed.
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