Throughout the 1930s, the Nazi regime attempted to reach German-American audiences to spread positive images of the so-called "New Germany" in the United States. American organizations such as the Friends of New Germany and the German American Bund helped spread this propaganda.
The German Teachers' Association1 also worked to portray Germany under the Nazis as a strong and revitalized nation. The group sponsored a trip to the Third Reich for 70 teachers in the summer of 1939. Many participants returned home carrying positive impressions of "Germany as it is today." These teachers had the potential to spread Nazi propaganda in the United States, which attracted the attention of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). HUAC suspected the trips were aimed at German American newspaper editors.
Returning from the German Teachers' Union trip in September 1939, Dr. Fritz Linnenbuerger, a resident of Ashley, North Dakota, expressed his support for the Nazi government in a report. He submitted the text for an article in a primarily German-language newspaper, the Dakota Freie Presse (Dakota Free Press).2
In his report, Linnenbuerger describes his tour across the "New Germany," which included a visit to Buchenwald concentration camp. He concluded that the situation there "[was] altogether different from that reported" and was actually similar to "any other penal institution." Those who complained of the "terrible" conditions of the camp were most likely "criminals." Other reported highlights of the visit include a meeting in Munich with Rudolf Hess, deputy to Adolf Hitler, and an encounter with Hitler himself on September 1, 1939, in Berlin.3 In his brief address to Linnenbuerger's group, Hess urged the audience to "tell your loved ones all about it" after they returned to the United States.