On October 8, 1933, an American citizen, Roland Velz, was beaten by Nazi storm troopers for neglecting to salute a passing Nazi procession.
In 1933 alone, American embassies and consulates reported at least 36 individual physical attacks on American citizens in Germany. Uniformed Nazi brownshirts or German mobs beat Americans—tourists, businessmen, and expatriates living in Germany for work or marriage—or effectively kidnapped or arrested them. The attacks were almost all unprovoked or for such “offenses” as failing to salute the German flag, for taking photographs, or for failing to submit to extortion.
On March 14th, US Consul George Messersmith reported to the State Department on the early attacks: “It is interesting to note that all of the above Americans are Jews with the exception of Mr. Dakin. The Consulate General is satisfied that in every one of these cases the attack upon the persons and homes of these Americans was unprovoked and brought about through the assumption that they were Jews. It is not believed that the attacks were made upon them as Americans or as foreigners, but on the grounds that they were Jews.” Messersmith and other members of the embassy staff—as well as consulates throughout Germany—protested these attacks vigorously to the German government.
In his report to the State Department, Messersmith also expressed his appreciation of American press coverage of the attacks, believing that such coverage might result in moderation by the Nazis. Nonetheless, abuse of Americans—particularly of Jews—continued, and the embassy sent affidavits and reports on attacks to the State Department almost daily for the next month.
Attacks on Americans occurred largely in March and April 1933, then trickled off, only to peak again in August, notably with a widely reported attack on Dr. Daniel Mulvihill on August 15th after he refused to perform the Hitler salute. Among the many incidents reported were attacks on Ludwig and Jean Klauber on March 10th and Edward Dahlberg on March 11th, Philip Zuckerman on July 16th, Rolf Kaltenborn (the son of American newsman H.V. Kaltenborn and a non-Jew) on September 1st, and Roland Velz on October 10th .
Newspaper Articles about this Event
980 articles in 385 newspapers
Dodd, William E., Jr. and Martha Dodd. Ambassador Dodd's diary, 1933-1938. New York: Harcourt, Brace, c1941.
Larsen, Erik. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. New York: Crown, c2011.
Metcalfe, Philip. 1933. New York: Perennial Library, 1989.
Nagorski, Andrew. Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazis Rise to Power. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
These dates and keywords are associated with this historical event.