Throughout the 1930s, the Nazi regime attempted to reach German-American audiences to spread positive images of the "New Germany" in the United States. Organizations such as the Friends of New Germany and the German American Bund provided an ideal medium through which to spread this brand of propaganda. The German Teachers' Association,1 which sponsored a trip to the Third Reich for 70 teachers in the summer of 1939, also enabled the Nazi government to project an image of a revitalized nation working toward a strong and peaceful society. Many participants returned home carrying positive impressions of "Germany as it is today." The potential of such attendees to be a subversive force on American soil attracted the attention of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), which 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 Russian-German 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," with conditions not unlike "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, 1939,3 in Berlin. In his brief address to the Linnenbuerger's group, Hess urged the audience, upon their return to America, to "tell your loved ones all about it."