The German Argentines between Nazism and Nationalism: The Patagonia Plot of 1939 Author(s): Ronald C.

Newton Source: The International History Review, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 76-114 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40105102 . Accessed: 22/05/2011 12:16
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RONALD

C. NEWTON

The German Argentines between Nazism and Nationalism: The Patagonia Plot of 1939

around 20 march 1939 the President of the Argentine Republic, Dr. Roberto M. Ortiz, came into possession of a set of documents of potentially explosive import. They consisted of photocopies of a secret report, with attachments, concerning Argentina's remote and thinly-settled southern extremity, Patagonia. The report was written on the stationery of the German embassy in Buenos Aires, and was signed by Alfred Miiller, deputy leader of the LandesgruppeArgentinienof the German Nazi party, and Conrad von Schubert, Counsellor of Embassy. It has been sent, under date 1 1January 1937, to Rittervon Epp of the Colonial Policy Office of the Nazi party at the Brown House in Munich. In it von Epp was informed that the embassy was collecting data on the state of Argentine military defences in Patagonia; that the German Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Aires, the German banks, and private business firms were all at work assembling economic information on the region; and that such organizations as the German People's League for Argentina (the and the Argentine branch of the German Labour Front (daf) Volksbund) were preparing plans for the founding of German agricultural settlements in areas in Patagonia most suitable for the purpose. The report also alluded to aerial photos and to annexes and maps still being compiled from sources within the Argentine Government, including the national petroleum corporation, the national bank, and the war and navy ministries. It concluded by observing that despite repeated judicial decisions in international courts affirming Argentine sovereignty in Patagonia, no Argentine administration to date had effectively populated the region and provided it with public services; and that therefore, 'under the aspect of nature', Patagonia was to be considered a no-man's-land - hence available for the taking.1
1 Mttller to von Epp (true copy of disputed document), in: A[uswartiges] A[mt Bonn], P[olitisches] A[rchiv], Buro des Staatsekretars, Akten betr. Patagonien, Jan. 37- Aug. 39. Two other aa files were kept: Pol Abt ix, Patagonien- Af fare, Mar. 39-May 39, Po 2 The InternationalHistoryReview, in, 1January 198 1 cn issn 0707-5332 © TheInternationalHistoryReview

The Patagonia Plot For about ten days Ortiz kept the matter within his office and made no public announcement, but at the end of the month his hand was forced. The source of the documents, an anti-Nazi exile named Heinrich Jiirges, who claimed to have photographed them surreptitiously in Germany, passed copies to the daily Noticias Grdficasand the outspokenly anti-Nazi German-language Argentinisches Tageblatt\ both newspapers published them on 30 and 3 1 March. In the ensuing hue and cry it was alleged that Ortiz had not intended to act upon the documents at all and only did so on learning that a political opponent, Jose Agusti, the publisher of Noticias Grdficas,had obtained copies; he then found himself with no choice but to order an investigation.2 As events would show, this was less than fair to Ortiz. He had little enough breathing space in which to sort out a number of issues of great complexity and to choose his course of action. In March 1939 there could be little doubt that a major European war was about to begin. To most Argentines this was a matter of regret, but the intensity of that regret declined rapidly in proportion to the years or generations that separated them from the emigrant's leave-taking of Europe at Genoa or Trieste, Le Havre or Liverpool, Odessa or Bilbao or Hamburg. The dominant public mood was complacent and inwardlooking and, in business circles, healthily optimistic. Eduardo Labougle, who returned to Buenos Aires shortly afterwards from ten year's service as his country's Ambassador at Berlin, observed sourly of the Argentines that the booming prosperity had contributed to a sense that 'the European war cannot affect Argentina' other than positively, for they were anticipating that they would again profit from neutrality as they had during the First World War.3 But internationalists like Labougle had to be aware of the failure of the international order and of the peril into which weak and more-or-less democratic republics like Argentina were falling. A year before, Austria had been obliterated by the Anschluss. The previous September at Munich the Western powers had delivered Czechoslovakia to Germany; even now German troops were occupying Prague and the defenseless remainder of the country. In Spain, Madrid had just surrendered to the Nationalist armies after two and a half years of siege;
Argentinien,Bd 1; and Biiro des Chefsder a-o, Argentinien,FallMiiller,1937-40, Bd

75. The affair is discussed in: Arnold Ebel, Das DritteReichund Argentinien:diediploma1933-1939 (Koln, 1971), tischenBezkhungenunterbes.BerucksichtigungderHandelspolitik, (Ohio, 1977), pp. 151-2; pp. 401- 18; Donald M.McKale, TheSwastikaoutsideGermany Politik Reiner Pommerin , Das DritteReich und Lateinamerika,1939-1 942: die deutsche

und (Dusseldorf,1977),pp. 65-7; and W. N. Simonson,'Nazi gegenuberSud' Mittelamerika in Infiltration SouthAmerica,1933-1945' Ph.D.,Tufts University,1964,pp. 549-62. BuenosAires 2484, 4 Apr. 1939, to Secretary of] S[tate],us N[ational] 2 us Embassy R[ecord]G[roup]59, 835.00N/14. A[rchives,] en 3 EduardoLabougle,Mision Berlin(BuenosAires, 1946),pp. 37-8.

77

RonaldC. Newton the Spanish Republic, shunned by the democracies, abandoned by the Soviet Union after Munich, was expiring in reprisal and recrimination. No one believed it would end there. The threat to Argentine integrity perceived by Ortiz and his advisors did not include militaryinvasion: Argentina'sremoteness from Europe seemed to preclude that. The danger, rather,lay in the ill-definedmenace of an internal 'fifth column' (a term which the Spanish Civil War had recently given the world). Argentina'sGerman-speakingminoritynumbered a quarter of a million people. At one time the Germanshad been prized as among the most desirable of immigrantsfor their skills,industriousness, passion for respectability,and abstention from politics, but more recently doubts had arisen concerning their loyalties. Since early 1933 intensive propaganda had been carried on among them by functionaries of the Auslands-Organisation the nsdap. This had been kept of from the publicview, however, by the complaisanceand press censorship of the previous presidential administration, and it was only with the election of Ortiz himself in September 1937 and the accompanyingrestoration of civil liberties that a deluge of incidents and press exposes broke upon an increasinglyagitated public.Evidencewasalso accumulating that the Nazis and the German Embassyhad cultivated influential supportersamong right-wingArgentines, both civilianand military.Nor could well-informed Argentines fail to be aware of what had been happening in neighbouring Brazil and Chile, both of which also had large, poorly-assimilated,German minorities. In May 1938 the Brazilianfashad cists,the Integralistas, attempted a coup whichwasbloodilyrepressed. In the aftermath the German Embassywas implicated,the Ambassador declared nongrata,and diplomaticrelationswere broken off. In September of the same year the Chilean Nacistas had also attemptedan uprising; it wassuppressed with the loss of sixty-twolives. And how, in March1939, could anyone ignore the role so recentlyplayedby the Sudeten Germans? AmbassadorLabougle returned from Germanywith a message for the their methodsof Argentines. He had approved of the Nazis- particularly dealing with Bolshevism- when they firstcame to power,but in the years since 1933 he had grown increasinglyalarmedby their culturalnihilism, brutality,and apparently limitless appetite for power. Adolf Hitler had repeatedlyassured the world that Nazismwasentirelya Germanconcern, that it was 'not for export'; and this had been reiteratedby Erich Bohle, Gauleiterof all overseas Germans,and by Bohle'ssubordinatesin Argentina. But Labougleno longer believed them. Nor - tojudge by his actions in the Patagoniaaffair - did Ortiz.4
4 loc.cit,also pp. 79, 227-8.

78

however. even within the military. The benefits of the restored British tie accrued mainly to a small and senescent elite. Justo. to concede sweeping privileges to British investments and imports. and sought to impose a similar regine on Argentina. at 80. Uriburu had been a protege of the pre. The traditional landowning classes. He had been much impressed by the authoritarian. to be gaining both in sophistication and in the capacity to represent the urban middle classes. already mortally ill. it was not easy to restore the traditional export trade based on grains and livestock products. amid the careless prosperity of a boom decade. to be sure. Hipolito Yrigoyen. Justo resorted to the practices of electoral fraud and police repression that 79 .1914 German training missions in Argentina and was later patron of the unofficial German military advisors who returned there in the 1920s. who had made their peace). in the Roca-Runciman Agreement of 1933. therefore. Outside a small following. on consumers generally . least of all the vital trade with Great Britain.all of whom became increasingly responsive to nationalistic appeals. anomalies which grew out of the course of Argentine statecraft since the 1920s. Argentina in the 1920s was governed under an open presidential and legislative system that seemed. nativist and populist. In General Justo the oligarquia had an agent through whom clocks could be set back to the palmy days before the World War when it ruled all Argentina as its own gran estancia. In the 1930s. which was moving towards a system of imperial preferences in agricultural commodities. he was pushed aside by a rival military clique headed by General Agustin P. To contain discontent. in a time of worldwide crisis they found it imperative to retrieve one to retain the other. was no longer competent to deal with either the economic repercussions of the world depression or the venality of cronies within his party. on workingmen (especially the unorganized). Primo de Rivera. To retain access to the British market. some sectors of organized labor. on middle-class professionals and bureaucrats (except those. Uriburu. The system was dominated by the Radical Party. which was largely the creature of its long. and Salazar. even. of course. while its burdens fell heavily across the social spectrum: on nascent industrialists. corporatist. and nationalist experiments of Mussolini.The Patagonia Plot Ortiz's response to the revelations of March 1939 was also complicated by anomalies in his own political situation. had by no means been dislodged from the economic heights. These arrangements ended in 1930 because Yrigoyen. centred in the urban lower middle class. His immediate successor was Lieutenant-General Jose F. through the Socialist Party.time boss. in 1931. He was deposed in September of that year by a military coup which at first had wide popular support. the Argentines were obliged. although they had ceded political hegemony. his projects met with little approval.

the majority were complacent towards fascism if not mildly approving.Ronald C. He would die in 1942. they found it regrettable that they could not call on their allies in crises (usually of their own making). limited representation and economic success. With respect to German support for native Argentine fascists and cultivation of the German-Argentine collectivity. This collaboration. The Germans ascribed this to unwillingness to expose the extent of anti-fascist sentiment in Argentina's vast Italian community. ex-Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires.1937 he arranged to pass the office to his nominee. he would die in January 1943). Ortiz. Newton had characterized the oligarquia's heyday. a 5 Italian fascist diplomacy was very circumspect. a consummate politician. there was little reason to suppose that he would violate the expectations with which he had been put in office. many of them exRadicals (or anti-Yrigoyenists). Ortiz made clear his intention to restore Argentine democracy. an arch-reactionary. whom he loathed. could bring to bear on his Presidency. in perpetuating a regime of doubtful legitimacy. Justo's selective observance of the Constitution of 1853 required that he have himself elected President in 1932 for a six-year term. Ortiz himself was an amiable legal-trained politician and public functionary with a youthful reputation as a maverick. Yet once in power. 80 . had been fully apprised of the problem. a large minority were active collaborators with the Germans. Roberto M. Ortiz had little reason to trust his natural allies in this issue. Castillo. And he was known to be in precarious health: he was overweight and suffering from diabetes which was affecting his eyesight. his sympathies clearly lay with the anti-fascists. during his year in office. in mid. Yet his views were incongruous with those of the political coalition he nominally headed: there. however. It was evident that Ortiz was meant to keep the legacy intact. However. This was partly cause and partly consequence of the collaboration of the majority of civilian politicians. Ortiz. and that Justo intended to return in 1944 (he didn't. and head of the Nationalist Party. Civil liberties were reinstated and fraudulent provincial elections dissallowed. was known as La Concordancia. He succeeded in maintaining public order and business confidence and in restoring by 1934 a considerable prosperity. Ortiz was also hindered by the Vice-President which Justo's electoral coalition had thrust upon him: Ramon S. by July 1940. as he had neither an impressive social background nor an independent political following. He fought a gallant fight but. advancing blindness compelled him to cede power to Castillo. and since the constitution specified that a President could not immediately succeed himself. In addition to the pressures which Justo.5 At the same time.

Peru. 1. of German manufactures. Farben Economic Reports: 1.P. 62/32/26 1. moreover. PB 74092. pp. they had been unable to conclude a satisfactory trade treaty. metallurgical. they him. 54. unlike their competitors. 200 railway cars. The Germans concentrated their efforts in a relatively few branches of industry (chemicals. the Germans and Argentines were both eager early in 1939 to close a deal whereby 64 locomotives. London]. By 1939 German capital investments in Argentina were exceeded only by those of Great Britain and the United States. Hitler overLatin America(London. In trade. Surveyof InternationalAffairs 1938. and other railway equipment would be traded against 100. the long-standing problem of an imbalance in Argentina's favour had been partly resolved by the conclusion of a new trade treaty in 1934. Radicals. they were still attempting to obtain one in 1939. 67-8. It established a 'balanced clearing' system under which Argentine commodities were sold in Germany against blocked Reichsmark which were in effect credits usable only for the ('Verrechnungsmark'). mss Div. and reinvested their profits within the country. Royal Institute of International Affairs. 23-6. pp. pharmaceuticals. That a public airing of the Patagonia documents would provoke a great deal of bluster through German press and diplomatic channels was predictable. given the political culture of which he was the figurehead. N. Most of it could be discounted. 44. mss in W[iener] L[ibrary. heavy construction). The us State Department under Cordell Hull complained endlessly of German trade practices and proclaimed the virtues of Tan. and recent anti-fascist exiles from Europe. but the American position in Argentina had undoubtedly weakened since 1929. they managed their firms locally. to a greater extent than their rivals. 1940).G.Americanism' and of 'the open door' in international commerce. 1945).180 Argentina. Similar bilateral agreements were the purchase instruments of the German trade offensive throughout Latin America. us L[ibrary of] C[ongress].The Patagonia Plot dishevelled aggregate of Marxists. lc. Jiidischer Weltkongress. electrical equipment. The last major element of the equation of March 1939 was economics. nor. Cordell Hull Papers. Los capitalesalemanesen la Argentina (Buenos Aires. 81 . mss Div. and Colombia were mainly at British expense rather than American. 'Die deutsche Wirtschaftsoffensive in Sudamerikaa'. 669-74. There the situation was made all the more galling for the Americans by the fact that. 72-6. Sommi. for neither side was prepared to jeopardize a highly valuable economic tie. The Germans thus fell into bitter rivalry with the United States. Jews. however. 1.6 For their part. invited the participation of local capital. MacDonald. German gains in countries such as Brazil.000 tons 6 Luis V. which for the success of New Deal recovery programs believed itself obliged greatly to expand its export sales in Latin America.

82 . local police detachments raided German bars and clubs and branches of the great German trading firm of Lahusen and Company. 8 Nov. 1939.2 Apr.See alsoJuan C. had already been transferred out of the country. Carlos Fleischer. Newton of wheat and 8. ba ibid.i9july 1939. Dr.635. responsibility at the German Embassy fell upon the Charge d'Affaires. 1939.. HandaktenClodius. and in some cases their houses searched.to ss. On Jantus's authority well-co-ordinated police raids were carried out on nsdap offices in various quarters of the capital and in provincial cities such as Cordoba. however.Jenks. Large quantities of documents were seized.to ss. Meynen was a career diplomat descended. had little use for men he regarded as 7 Thermannba an aa 18 1. 635. Von Schubert. Bahia Blanca. us Embassy 258. Prominent German businessmen and bankers. ba 526. it was worth in the aggregate 14.8 In remote wind-battered settlements in Patagonia. 1939. 1939. 3 Nov. stories of tipoffs by Argentine collaborators circulated. and Comodora Rivadavia. Buenos AiresHerald.20 Apr. Dr. Salta. two German filmmakers working on a nature film near the Chilean border were thrown in jail. Edmund Freiherr von Thermann. Alfred Miiller.memoof conv. 14Aug. Erich Otto Meynen.7 of At 5 pmon 3 1 March. In the absence of the German Ambassador.000 tons of wool. was arrested. from a wealthy industrialist family of Cologne.28 Mar.us Dept.Ha Po Abt.62 17/29. usna rg 59 635. 1939. 1939(editorial). Also interrogated at this time were the heads of the German Welfare Society and the Argentine branch of the German Labour Front . but he. In Buenos Aires the investigation was placed in the charge of a federal judge. and leaders of the German-speaking community were questioned. Miguel Jantus. In 1937 he had joined the nsdap to preserve his career.us ConsulateGen. But it had not yet been signed when the Patagonia affair burst upon the Argentine public in the last days of March. 635. the Deputy Landesgruppenfiihrer the Argentine nsdap. 623 1/90.withP. who appointed as a special attorney to report to him. suffered a bad quarter of an hour trying to explain away the recent revelation that the metal-fabricating firm of Klockner in Buenos Aires was deducting daf dues from employees' pay without their consent and in violation of the Labour Code.000 pesos. de Mendoza. Paolucci Cornejo.623 1/85. ElMundo (BuenosAires).the latter.000. Tucuman.LaArgentinalaswdstica (Buenos y Aires. 8 ba Herald. 38.Argentinien Bd 4.29 Nov. 1941)^. and 30 Nov. like his wife. officials of the German Chamber of Commerce. who was on home leave. Victor J. he would remain in custody for five weeks.623 1/91.C. like von Thermann. despite his indignant objection that he was Press Attache to the German Embassy and therefore enjoyed diplomatic immunity. aa/pa.93. which resulted in the search parties coming up empty-handed. 30 Nov. of State. His superior.Ronald C.

and that he had been stripped of German citizenship in 1937 in consequence of his work in Chile for the Strasserites. file cited. Meynen also 9 Meynen ba an aa 1056. 12 Apr.. Meynen's efforts to obtain Miiller's release from jail do not seem to have been particularly vigorous. conflict between the Landesgruppeand the Embassy had intensified. abb Box 24. and forgery. with Meynen. On Meynen see Hoover. Meynen learned that Jiirges had indeed made such a request in August 1938. his mother had also died at the hands of the Gestapo. however. usna RG 59. 1946. fbi. Biiro des Staatsek. possibly a lot of material will come to light that will be taken critically in the local liberal democratic atmosphere. 'Argentine] B[lue] B[ook]. Lisbon. aa/pa. 1945. he said. Meynen merely declared that Jiirges had been convicted several times in Germany in the 1920s on charges of fraud. interrogated concerning Jiirges's contacts with surviving members of Otto Strasser's SchwarzeFront within the Reich. State. To the public. Jiirges had apparently at one time been close to Goebbels. in the 1930s he had worked for the of Landesgruppenleitung the Chilean nsdap but had disappeared one day and had turned up somewhat later as an agent of the SchwarzeFront. that she died soon afterwards. According to another version. to Lyons. and held for ten months in a concentration camp. Although his defense of German interests in the Patagonia Affair was skilful. 2 1 Aug. Heinrich Jiirges claimed to have mailed the documents to President Ortiz . he had also promised that he would in return cease his journalistic activities on behalf of 'the United States' commercial campaign against German interests'.The Patagonia Plot social upstarts in the leadership of the Argentine Nazi movement. fbi memo of conv. embezzlement.' Box 28. 6 Feb. his sweetheart Catalina Stohr had been picked up by the Gestapo in Germany. in the past year. 1939. her health had been so damaged by her experience. and would not participate in 'the Argentine investigation of the nsdap'.'9 He recommended that the counterattack be concentrated on the questionable authenticity of the Patagonia documents. it is difficult to believe there was no intermediary . but according to the Foreign Office he was reputed to be 'politically unreliable'.although Ortiz was notably unceremonious.and told the press he had been motivated by disillusionment with Nazism. and the activities they have carried out in detail . Jiirges had applied at the embassy for permission to send Catalina's ashes back to Germany but had been rebuffed. indeed. He warned the German Foreign Office on 12 April: 'I have learned that [as a result of the raids] material has been found and seized from which can be determined the role played by Party units in the work of organizing local Deutschtumand aligning it to the purposes of the Homeland. 83 . however. fbi Misc File.. On her release she travelled to Argentina (or Chile) to join him. that he had been expelled from the nsdap in 1933. Specifically.

Newton pointed out discrepancies in the documents which supported his claim that they were forgeries (Miiller. 1939. 134-5.10 Amid the uproar. 21 May1937. 408-9. 1941 (onJiirges's conviction). 15Aug. On 25 April Weizsacker told Labougle that he had lost patience': the German Embassy's explanation should be the end of the matter. a/b Inland11 83-45A Bd 1.Jiirgesan B3Thermann. Inland11 83-76. When asked to produce the original documents from which the photocopies had been made. On the same day Weizsacker ordered Meynen to inform the Argentine Foreign Ministry that reprisals would be taken against Argentine citizens residing in Germany if Miiller were not released within fortyeight hours (Wilhelm Faupel's Ibero-Amerikanische Institut in Berlin had already been requested to identify vulnerable Argentines). the Wilhelmstrasse's communications thereupon grew increasingly testy and menacing. suspended. 38: Pol Abtix file cited. Paolucci Cornejo ruled that no physical proof existed that a crime had been committed and ordered Miiller's release.pp. although Meynen's superiors in Berlin frequently made this difficult. 6 May T a/b. Apr. T 149 and T 150.file cited. the sentence was. but he refused to waive diplomatic immunity to testify under oath. Biiro des Staatsek. He was finally convicted in 1940 on a charge of damaging the relations between Argentina and a friendly power and received a twoyear sentence. G144. On 7 May. Thermann an aa. 152.Ronald C. 11 Three Argentineswere detainedby the Germanpoliceon 4 May1939. of course. Woermann. Meynen and the Foreign Minister. Cantilo and Labougle demurred. 267. Jiirges did not help his case by changing his story several times about the documents' provenance: first he said they had been brought by Catalina. Jiirges was unable to. 5 May1939 (on Krebs). however. T 1582. 9. Jiirges was arrested at the same time. communicated with each other calmly and professionally. the Argentines must accept this and consider the matter closed. too. pp. Nor would Meynen have permitted him to do so. and Labougle. Ausbiirgerungsliste 16/11. 137-8. for Germanpressreaction. AnzeigerNr. insisted they were forgeries. 1937.ibid. saying that Argentine opinion could only be satisfied by an Argentine investigation. Jose Maria Cantilo. 19 Nov. according to Labougle. 39. 6 Apr. This was of course denied by Krebs. 124-6.pp. On 6 April the Under-secretary of State.Ebel. and the latter did the same. 17 Sept. also Labougle. See DeutscheDiplomatisch-Politische 25 Korrespondenz. probably by stipulating a date by which the matter would end. 84 . informed Labougle that the Foreign Office had conducted its own internal investigation and had found no evidence that the Patagonia documents were genuine. 1939an aa. later he claimed to have received them from a consular secretary in Buenos Aires named Krebs. aa/pafilecitedfn. but admitted his signature was genuine). Weizsacker raised his voice for the first time. Thermannan aa.636. Meynenan aa. Dr. Labougle was able to blunt this threat. *x 10 GestapoBerlin11 i479/38g.

The Patagonia Plot Gauleiter Erich Bohle contributed his share of bluster in a speech at Leipzig: 'The present-day German Reich is unwilling to stand by with folded arms while its totally guiltless citizens are persecuted. They might engage in no activities implying a stand on the politics of third countries.and adopted other measures of camouflage. whereas the Germans did not. the Parliamentary Commission on Anti. made it clear that more was at stake than an inept forgery and an exchange of diplomatic notes: 'Be the document authentic or no. will be considered below. And they might receive no foreign financial support aside from small amounts of money devoted to charitable purposes specifically approved by the Argentine authorities. the incident in itself must be considered as part of the titanic world struggle between opposing politics. 11 Apr. all immigrant associations were ordered to register with the police within ninety days on pain of dissolution. and the consequences. 510-12. The decree was at first enforced haphazardly.14 The President's spokesmen denied that the Germans had been invidiously singled out for surveillance: they observed smoothly that should pro. one which will not tolerate that peaceable Germans living overseas should be mistreated simply because they wish. Foreigners must realize that each and every German citizen stands under the protection of a world power. 12 DerAuslandsdeutsche (Stuttgart). They must be locally-founded and governed by local officers democratically elected. 85 . but the press and. however. Most Italian and Spanish community leaders respected the decree. Undoubtedly the cynicism and deceit thus revealed did more injury to the German cause than immediate compliance with the decree of May 1939 would have done. The latter changed the names of all their organizations . xn (1939). the potential for public disorder was great. Their statutes and by-laws were to be published in Spanish exclusively.the nsdap. Under it.'12 President Ortiz. he promulgated a decree directed with special force against the autonomy of the Germanspeaking collectivity in the country. for his part. 13 ba Herald. to be National Socialists. following the apparent exoneration of the German leadership. They were forbidden henceforth to use the outward signs or symbols of nationality. They were forbidden to use threats or rewards to gain ideological adhesion.1941. became the Federation of German Circles of Benificence . including flags. pp. 16 May 1939. 1939. In German without comment in DeutscheLa-Plata Zeitung (Buenos Aires). 65-8.and anti-fascist sentiment become inflamed in the numerous Italian and Spanish immigrant associations. as honourable men. for example.Argentine Activities continued regularly to bring exposes to public attention. The responsibility for this.'13 On 15 May. 14 Text in Mendoza. after mid.

They have their clubs. In their last interview.for example. as did Krebs). 264. 86 . Meynen's bureaucratic language (befehlsgemdss) nor the joint signature (Miiller for the Landesgruppeand von Schubert for the embassy) represented current practice is confirmed by archival material made public since 1945. their rather absurd training of children. 16 ba Herald. purport to derive from a joint venture of the Argentine Nazis and the German diplomatic service. 6 May 1939. it is remotely possible that von Schubert on his own authority was somehow involved (the idea was canvassed in the Foreign Office internal investigation. whose relationship in January 1937 was cool at best . as Labougle was about to return home in June 1939. the voice of the British community. but von Schubert seems to have cleared himself. It is not impossible that a cabal of Nazi leaders. or reputable communal institutions. sketched some such taradiddle on a beer-stained tablecloth in a Gasthausin Belgrano. Newton Largely unnoticed amid the clamour. the barter deal between Germany and Argentina. 7. is scarcely believable. nor some of the level.Ronald C. Hitler did not want it either. and provisional answers suggested: Werethe Patagonia documents forgeries? Almost certainly. At the simplest assertion that neither the letterhead. in a fit of exaltation. It was never consummated. This. but in this matter 15 Seefn. 17 Labougle. the Argentines were reluctant to deliver commodities immediately against promises of future German shipments. too. that I want to conquer Canada or even occupy Patagonia!'17 Hitler's statements to foreign diplomats are hardly a definitive source for his territorial ambitions.15 A number of questions need to be asked. it should be recalled. but they certainly never dreamt of snatching Argentine territory for Hitler/16 But according to Labougle. their parades. It was rumoured that the Germans proposed to supply the Argentines with captured Czech rolling stock. was signed in the second week of April. could believe in The Plot: 'We took the line that the local Germans were not so foolish as they were said to be. to carry out a vast amateurespionage operation. of course. railway equipment for wheat and wool. p. the Fiihrer told him: 'Everything the American Jewish press attributes to me is ridiculous . the Argentine government. Cancellation of the deal was announced in November 1939. but their own requirements were too great. The documents.to enlist the services of a great number of private German-Argentine individuals . Not even the BuenosAiresHerald. Jiirges's tangled accounts of the documents' provenance strain credulity. however. Given the international situation.many of them employees of well-established German or Argentine business firms.

Kannapin. 'Hauptprobleme der deutschen Lateinamerikapolitik. abb Box 26). Jurges denounced the ex-ambassador for the alleged murder of an antiNazi German in Buenos Aires in 1939. the organ of which had first appeared in the Comitecontra el Racismoy el Antisemitismo. Simonson. 1889-1 941 (Boston. pp. 2 1 Dec.S. For the western hemisphere. Herwig. 416-17. and especially Hans Jurgen Schroder. 1976).18 Who then was responsible? urges was certainly involved. file cited. fu'nfteKolonneim zweitenWeltkrieg 1959). s 1937. In 1945. in aa/pa Inland 11 a/b. 1964). he admitted as J much. Politicsof Frustration:The United Statesin GermanNaval Planning. and Edmund Freiherrvon Thermann (especially that of 1 1July 1945.Argentine barter deal. us Embassy Montevideo 6744. The earlier thesis of grandiose Nazi aims in the Americas found in such writers as Frye. Although the evidence is far from conclusive. But his record does not support the thesis. von und 1933. Peterson. on learning that Thermann might be tried as a war criminal. for much recent research confirms his lack of interest in expansion into the Western Hemisphere. For German foreign policy under the Nazis. 87 . and Trotz. 1939. Wirtschaft Gesellschaft Lateinamerikas.194 1\Jahrbuchfiir die Geschichte Stoat.19 The reasons why the Germans may have been willing to accept such an explanation will be considered below. Arturo Frondizi. Katz. see also Holger H. see also Harold F. File 24. the Patagonia Affair did not blow up out of the blue in mid-March 1939. Argentinaand the UnitedStates. xii ( 1975). Kossok. its footnotes and Spanish chapter summaries suggest a slender document base. for Jiirges's boasting and attempts to extort money from the embassy after the Patagonia excitement abated. 1975) is inaccessible to most western scholars. Pommerin. 8 Oct. for the moment be it observed that before fixing on Jiirges's sole responsibility. 1945. Jacobsen and Weinberg are basic. was challenged as early as 1959 by the Dutch journalist Louis de Jong. abb Box 2. they considered two other possibilities: the Jews and the Americans . Ebel is authoritative though indulgent to the Auswartige Amt (not to the Nazis). In the CorresponsaVs 18 See the postwar interrogations of Erich Bohle (abb Box 21). L. Since the beginning of the year rumours of intrigue in Patagonia had been circulating in Buenos Aires. and Jurges an Thermann. which the German Foreign Office eventually accepted. The easiest thread to follow shows up first in the Corresponsal argentino. Die deutsche (Stuttgart. Pamperrien (abb box 24). 408-33.The Patagonia Plot he can probably be believed. a brisk trade had sprung up in purported National Socialist documents. material that has become available since the war forces one to look at these hypotheses seriously. The Comite1leaders included prominent non-Jewish Argentines of the near-Left such as the future Radical president. Jurges was not that sort of man. For Argentina. Ryszard Stemplowski's study of the rivalry between the Anglo-Saxon powers and the Third Reich over Argentina (Warsaw. McKale. 1810-1960 (New York. that the Patagonia Affair arose from Jiirges's solitary 'act of revenge'. To begin with.the latter presumably eager to sabotage the pending German. but there is little doubt that its moving force was the Argentine Communist issue of 20 February the lead article was titled Party. 19 See Ebel. moreover.

was reported in the article to have said that the charges of foreign subversion were unfounded and would not be investigated. xx (2ojan. predecessor of the oss. was well connected in Jewish business circles in Buenos Aires. On 28 February the consulate reported directly 20 El corresponsal argentino(Buenos Aires). Dr. us-trained anthropologist. Vice-President of United recently given Press. but would in fact be 'under the aegis of a powerful European State. President of the Development Commission for the National Territories. in turn. Johnston. It reported that a project to establish 'the United States of the South' was afoot. xxn (20 Feb. had denounced the secessionist work of the German National Socialists but had been ignored. If there was an intrigue. 1939). had recently been buying purportedly confidential Nazi documents from German sources.. A later issue of the journal reported that Dr. Grassi. 88 . David was a student of Franz Boas at Columbia University and persuaded Boas to serve as Honorary Chairman of the Congress. ba Herald. in Washington in 1942 and a consultant of the coi. Efr6n's father. had passed some of these to us diplomats in Buenos Aires. held sessions across the La Plata in Montevideo. an official of the Jewish Colonization Assn. After the war he worked for the International Labour Office in Geneva. particularly Henry Johnston of Associated Press. On 7 February the us Consulate-General cited one such document concerning German-American commercial rivalry which had been sent from the nsdap Landesleitung in Buenos Aires to ParteigenosseErich Bohle at Auslands-Organisationheadquarters in Hamburg (but Bohle by this time had been taken into the Foreign Ministry and had his office in Berlin). for the Director of National Territories.20 The Corresponsal 20 February reported also that President Ortiz had of an interview to Clem J. that there was no foreign penetration there. the conversation is of interest because American newsmen. Apr. the Argentine-born. The Corresponsal gave much space to the activities of the us delegation and its head. It was later noted that Efron had taken copies of the Patagonia documents back to the us and had caused them to be published there as early as 12 April. 1939). Randau. however. Ortiz told him. he did not mention it to Boas in their correspondence. with which the Comitewas affiliated.Ronald C. 1939 (reporting us reaction): Auslandsdeutsche 510-12. Aside from Ortiz's reaction. Newton 'Secessionist Propaganda in Patagonia Must Be Investigated'. the new country would be 'nominally independent'. Randau had apparently picked up the rumours concerning Patagonia. 1939). LieutenantColonel Guglialmelli. He was an official of the National Planning Assn. xxv (5 xxu ( 1939). 15 Apr. David Efron. One of the theses considered within the German Foreign Office was that Efron had been the agent for 'the Jews' in the Patagonia Affair.' These rumours must have been well known. In March the International Congress for American Democracy.

e. 28 Feb. 89 . 862. recently in port at Buenos Aires... this one dated 3 January 1939 and directed to ParteigenosseFleischhauer of the in Weltpressedienst Erfurt. Summer Welles.. 1939.202 10/243. The documents covered various matters. 7 Feb. He was frank about economic problems with the us and spoke approvingly of the pending railroad deal with the Germans. He and Spuerckel seem to have been freelances without ideology or affiliation. the local nsdap had become nervous about traitors within its ranks. In 1941 the State Department carded him as a forger of documents who had sold material on the Nazis to various persons. 62 1/41 (11 Nov. Spuerckel had been twelve years in Argentina and was a house-painter by trade.. ibid. (as it now had permission to do in 'spy matters') on 'Alleged German Activities in Patagonia'. memo of conv. ba 27 1. ba.The German Embassy was overjoyed with the Randau interview. Friends won for achieved great Germany by Gunther Pluschow stand today by our side . Thermann an aa. 4 Feb. Since then. possibility of obtaining a colony in Tierra del Fuego. One of the documents had been cited by John Whitaker of the Chicago Daily News. The anonymous local author wrote. 1941). who in 1940 offered his services to the us Consulate. He was a friend of Jiirges. to Welles. including German attempts to gain information from crewmembers of the cruiser uss Phoenix. Pinckney Tuck. 800. according to Tuck.20235/365. 1939. 3 Mar. 22 us Embassy ba. It had been rumoured several years earlier that Jiirges had stolen Black Front funds. 1939. also Argentines .The Patagonia Plot to the Under-secretary of State. He had worked for the local nsdap and claimed good contacts among important local Germans: his wife was cook to Christian Zinsser. T 120/ 218/168276. S. usna rg 59 Purport Book 800.202 10/24 1$.. Counsellor of the us embassy. 1939. 800. the motive for an American intrigue became stronger at that time. to Welles (personal strictly confidential). The Informationnote warns Black Front members against associating with either man.202 10/247$. If Thermann's interpretation is correct. He was convinced they were genuine. Information (Buenos Aires).. Spuerckel had access to nsdap circles but J urges did not. no number.. 5 June 1940. It cited another document from the Landesleitungin Buenos Aires. He had already passed titbits to the Americans (date unspecified).23 The immediate source from whom Johnston received the documents 2 1 us Consulate Gen. Freies Deutschland Bewegung [i. for Ortiz had rejected the threat to Patagonia as a 'fairytale'. Black Front].'21 On 3 March.22 Who were the 'traitors'}One possibility is Eric Spuerckel. Spuerckel was then claiming earlier connections with the us Embassy or the Secret Service.. Patagonia has always been treated on the part of the Argentine State as a stepchild . forwarded six more documents that he and Consul-General Davis had gotten from Johnston (the latter had recently been transferred to Santiago and Tuck wanted assurance that he would be reimbursed for the money Johnston had been advanced). at that time the resident Gestapo chief. 800. 'We have influence through our work in Patagonia. 23 us Consulate Gen.202 10ES. to ss.

he brought Siemssen with him to work up press material there. Thermann interrogations of 10 May 1945 and 10 Dec. 8. Gottfried Brandt. on the diplomatic staff. A one-time travelling salesman in phonograph and had records. Siemssen is Willi Kohn. he had been the organizer of the Chilean Landesgruppe been called to Buenos Aires early in 1933 to preside over the of Gleichschaltung the Argentine Germans. in the snobbish view of von Thermann it also satisfied the yearning for social respectability from which almost all Nazis suffered.not only Kohn and Bohle but also Goebbels at the Propaganda Ministry . mss in wl. therefore. had been one of the most energetic and ruthless Nazi organizers in southern South America. Handakten Clodius Bd 5. 90 . starting with himself. Miiller landed in jail and Siemssen remained extremely vulnerable. 1945.Ronald C. A handwritten note by Dr. Newton was. L. however. 25 On Kohn: Jiidischer Weltkongress.it clearly behooved Meynen to 24 On Meynen's T98.S. Kohn proved so meddlesome and overbearing. that the administrative experiment was eventually abandoned (he was the only nsdap Overseas-Commissar ever named). When Herr von Kohn was nsdap OverseasCommissar for South America and Press Attache in Buenos Aires. Thereafter Alfred Miiller claimed the post. By March 1939. Rhodin in turn got them from an unnamed contact .924 ron. 7 Apr. however. one Karl Rhodin. Bohle interrogation. Pamperrien in the Foreign Office files describes him as: 'Many years a businessman in Chile. von Thermann had not yet taken the necessary steps to obtain Argentine recognition of their diplomatic status.in the office of Paul Gerhard Siemssen. in his late fifties. This served. however. he irritated the embassy by attempting to place nsdap members. yet he remains a shadowy figure. and Siemssen figured as Miiller's assistant (and in fact did the work). a Jewish newspaperman who alleged he had been mistreated by the Nazis. 'Die kunstliche Schaffung deutscher Minderheiten in Siidamerika'. nominal nsdap Landesfuhrerfor Argentina. p. of course. Given Siemssen's political backing . When the Patagonia affair broke. He irritated the Argentine Nazis by placing cronies from Chile in high posts. Kdhn's work so impressed Bohle that the latter made him Overseas-Commissar for all South America with headquarters in Buenos Aires. in doing so he had supplanted the ineffectual Dr. Siemssen's patpaid by the Propaganda Ministry [Promt].a man pressed for money with which to keep a mistress on an insufficient nsdap salary . Siemssen had been running the Landesgruppe's press office out of the embassy for three years and was undoubtedly an influential Nazi.25 Kohn held diplomatic status as Press Attache at the Buenos Aires embassy from August 1934 until he was appointed Consul at Salamanca in Franco's Spain late in 1938. to provide diplomatic cover for Party activities. in Ha Pol.

us Embassy ba 16737. 26 Apr. Meynen reported that the idea of slipping him out of the country and into Uruguay had been broached. 23 and 26 Jan.The Patagonia Plot handle his defence with great care. On the 21st. however. Siemssen's performance can only have been judged most adversely. Woermann in the Foreign Ministry reported that the Propaganda Ministry had no objection to Siemssen's recall in view of the 'danger of his being compromised in connection with the well-known events'. that the Patagonia documents began their journey to Ortiz's desk in Siemssen's office.or it may be that Siemssen was attempting a venture in 'disinformation' with which to discredit the opposition. It seems highly likely. Jiirges was the messenger and front man. a distinguished anti-Nazi leader in Buenos Aires. he objected. citing agreement of Propaganda Ministry officials to Siemssen's recall.27 He does not seem the man for an act of disinterested revenge.26 Landesgruppe In the diplomatic correspondence no hint appears of the annoyance Meynen and the Foreign Office must have felt. 1939: Pol Abt ix. Meynen an aa. On 7 April Meynen cabled the Wilhelmstrasse for instructions and received the unhelpful advice that although Siemssen had not been reported to the Argentine Foreign Ministry as a diplomat. 614. 27 When the Hellmuth mission was exposed and Germany and Argentina broke relations in January 1944. memo. 7 Apr. Criticamentioned his name in the public press for the first time. if exposed. About that time. he was the principal . even. this was sent (with misgivings) to Washington by cable 908 of same date 862. on the 26th. On this hypothesis a forger like Spuerckel might have been employed at some stage to embellish the documents. 1939. 1944.20235/11-2944. 1944. 91 . ibid. 1939. On the 12th. publisher oiDasAndere Deutschland. but his name does not appear again in affairs. 29 Nov. extortion. Jiirges published purported German documents to La Razdnof Montevideo. dlpz.perhaps.20235/9-2644. That the German Foreign Office so easily accepted 26 Meynen an aa. The Buenos Aires embassy checked the data and found most of them pure fantasy. 862. would arouse great suspicion. He gave or sold a long report on recent Nazi arrivals to the us Embassy in Montevideo on 26 Sept. on the same hypothesis. toss. that such a trip. 12 Apr. the danger began to abate. his subsequent wartime service as an imaginative and mistrusted informant to the Allies confirms it. aa. after all. Woermann.. It may be that Siemssen was negligent in permitting a subordinate to attempt to raise pocket-money by selling off a forgery to the opposition . His previous record establishes his capacity for forgery. In whatever case the venture backfired. blackmail. however. This Siemssen should not be confused with August Siemsen (note spelling). It is unclear whether he left or not. he should be treated as an 'embassy employee'. and random mischief with pecuniary ends. Meynen reported that Siemssen was prepared to leave at any moment despite the risk. 1944 .

On the history of the Germans in Argentina see Hermann der BuenosAires. cited in full inMendoza. Immigrants not only built the land. Both offer much detail on the nineteenth century and are weak on the twentieth. Newton this explanation is quite possibly due to reluctance to ventilate Siemssen's activities. 1900. Under enabling legislation . 2 and 19 Dec. 29 Paolucci's legal opinion of 7 May 1939 enlarging on the decision not to prosecute Muller. 1942). of these.000 in the mid-nineteenth century. ba.openhanded until the depression of the early 1930s . Italian. 1939. 1843-1 943 (Buenos Schmidt. This surely had not been foreseen by the founding fathers. Geschichte Deutschtums inArgentinien (Buenos Aires. WhomwasJilrges fronting for? It is impossible to say. 92 . p. as Dr. The immigrant flood spread across a broad undeveloped land whose original polulation numbered little more than 1. they also in the process created a genetically and culturally new Argentine people. just under half remained to make new homes on Argentine soil. 800. for example.more than 6. and Argentine fascists which prevented them from gaining relief for us imports. Korner.000. Werner Hoffmann. Ortiz skilfully took advantage of the Germans' embarassment. For the twentieth-century antecedents to the Nazi period see R. The Americans. was theFifth Columndanger sufficientlygrave to warrant the Decree of 15 May 1939? To illuminate the perspective from which President Ortiz saw events in early 1939. Article 25 of the Argentine Constitution of 1853 laid a positive requirement on government to foment European immigration. at the Germans' discomfiture and the weakening of their position. 1939. ba Herald. 14 Apr. a sketch of the history of Argentina's German-speaking collectivity is necessary. Geschichte deutschenevangelischenGemeinde des Aires.Ronald C. 1955). Newton. they also complained that 'unfortunately British commercial interests still have the point of view of 1933/ The consulate expressed satisfaction. Paolucci said in one of the key documents of May 1939.'29 28 us Consulate Gen.W. whose chief concern had been to attract a cheap and docile labour force. 202 10/31 6. Wilhelm Lutge.28 GrantedthatthePatagonia plot was a mare'snest. But it was not until after the outbreak of war in September that us sales began to rise steeply. for their part. and other industrial commodities. 1977). to make it by 1914 one of Europe's chief sources of foodstuffs. and K. One must be wary here of the post hocpropterhoc fallacy. but by the twentieth century the goal of immigration legislation had become.C. it is unlikely that he would have sanctioned any intrigue beforehand.000. continued as late as April 1939 to complain of the economic influence of German. but in view of the trade negotiations scheduled for March.000 had come.193 3: Social Changeand Cultural Crisis(Austin. fibres. to Welles (strictly confidential). to induce 'the immigrant mass to participate in the formation of a homogeneous national race. GermanBuenosAires. however. 52.

In the cities. displaced artisans. of whom 1. they prospered. in this respect the Germans' experience in Argentina differed markedly from that in Brazil or Chile. mainly Italian and Spanish. The population rose to 8. Russian-German peasants began to found closed settlements in Entre Rios Province in the 1870s. and assorted urban types. and manpower. technology.The Patagonia Plot Eighty per cent of the immigrants who remained were of Latin origin. and technical branches of the public service. founded another zone of compact colonies in southern Buenos Aires Province and adjacent areas of La Pampa Territory.000 of nearly 1. In the same years the city-dwellers created. A fervent 93 . The upper strata of the business and landowning classes grew immeasurably more wealthy. clubs. The founding of the German Empire in 1871 had profound consequences: the formerly cosmopolitan merchants turned increasingly to representation of German manufactures and capital consortia and identification with imperial fortunes. in the absence of appropriate Creole institutions. Buenos Aires above all. Many of the early-comers (like early-comers among the English and other northern Europeans) married into bourgeois Creole clans and/or acquired rural property recently wrested from the pampas Indians. The impression of this ethnic community left by memoirs and the lively nineteenth-century periodical press is that of an intensely convivial. On the land.600. however.000. in this way theyjoined the landed oligarquiastill in the process of formation. The social composition of the German-speaking collectivity reflected these changes.000 lived in Buenos Aires. schools. the urban artisans were nearly wiped out by the competition of factory-made European goods and of less-demanding workingmen from southern and eastern Europe. Agents of German merchant houses began to arrive shortly after independence in 1810. preindustrial small town. the Argentine schools.000 up to 1895. socially-homogeneous. and was articulated to the world trading system of which industrial Europe was the motor and principal beneficiary. In the nineteenth century the Germans contributed only a miniscule portion of the immigrant stream: 25. a network of churches. In the decade before the First World War a second wave of Russian-Germans. augmented by land-hungry descendants of the original settlers. Between the 1870s and the First World War the raw new country was transformed by European capital.000 by 1914.700. and were soon followed by soldiers of fortune. The place of the artisans at the middle of the social order was taken by white-collar office workers and professionals who found employment in the increasing number of German branch concerns. and welfare agencies through which almost all social wants could be met in a German cultural context. Attempts to found closed German-speaking farming communities were unsuccessful.

perhaps 130. brought unemployment or economic retrenchment to most of the Argentine Germans.perhaps 100. and threats of Germany's internal collapse. Krupp. It was given a fillip by the appearance in 1900 of the first cadres of German military instructors contracted by the Argentine Army and later by periodic visits by warships of the new Imperial Navy.found themselves isolated in a country ostensibly neutral but in fact bound in many ways to Great Britain. The business classes. aeg. G. The war. Argentina in the 1920s exerted a great pull on the German imagination. fears of ruinous reparations. Freikorps volunteers. The strife which overtook the Volksbund was prophetic of much that would occur in the 1930s. When war came in August 1914 the Germans in Argentina .Ronald C. notably the Swiss-German Alemann family. and a host of I. A immediately number of its leaders. attempted for the first time to create a lobbying organization to further German interests: the result was the Deutscher Volksbundfur Argentinien (German People's almost League for Argentina). Schering. by 1939 several of them were doing a lively export trade to the rest of the western hemisphere. amid the general postwar hostility to Germany. The combination of economic distress and patriotic indignation led to the 'popular assemblies' held by the common folk of the Buenos Aires community in November and December 1918 in sympathy with the German Revolution and the founding of the Republic. Farben subsidiaries were set up.000 of them with ties to the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires . Thyssen. white-collar workers. Klockner. German-speaking immigrants came also in sizeable numbers. and placed alleviation of local distress higher in the organization's priorities than furtherance of Berlin's wartime aims. and exMonarchist officials unreconcilable to the Weimar Republic. Bayer. rejected the thesis that the fortunes of the German cultural community worldwide were coextensive with those of the German Empire. In 1916 the German Legation. Newton nationalism also overtook the middle classes and was inculcated in the schools.000 from war's end to the beginning of the depression. to attract German investors. under Count von Luxburg. France. As the country had remained neutral throughout the war. It was therefore easy. and the Entente. their annual contingents usually ranked third in numbers behind the Spaniards and Italians. remained openly hostile to Weimar. skilled tradesmen. They included ex-soldiers. Merck. but it also brought enormous profits to those merchants of easy conscience who traded with Germany's enemies. students without prospects. the German-controlled economic enclave had not only remained intact but had in fact expanded. in fact. shopkeep- 94 . for their part. The most notable economic development was the growth of branch-plant manufacturers: Mannesmann.

and cattle-raising pampa heartland was all but completely occupied. Life in the pioneer colonies was hard and the economic situation precarious. Argentinisches it was represented by veterans' associations. In part the latter was a function of economic hardship.000. The unsuccessful drifted back to Buenos Aires. especially as perceived by residents of longer standing. also many peasants and townspeople from former enclaves of German settlement in eastern Europe. gaining a foothold in Argentina was difficult for the immileft grants of the 1920s. the hospital. there to meld with white-collar immigrants whose situation was little better. In all but patronymic they 95 . But anxiety over socio-economic status was aggravated by anxiety over the rate at which Germans were being assimilated to Argentine society (or The fact of assimilation was nothing new: by the linking into Kreolentum'). welfare and mutual assistance funds. failures were common.000 persons.The Patagonia Plot ers ruined by the inflation. a monarchist group. and the liberal-bourgeois daily Tageblatt. Would-be agriculturalists were therefore directed to new ventures on the periphery of the pampa: the orchards of the Rio Negro Valley in the south or the cotton plantations of the Chaco and the citrus and yerba mate groves of Misiones in the north. Whatever their provenance. and of decline in status. Political bickering was symptomatic of deeper malaise. and regional associations (Landsmannschaften). 20. churches. at least 55 percent of the Reichsdeutsch again. 1920s many of the famous founding families maintained only proforma contact with the German-speaking collectivity. a branch and the daily DeutscheLa-Plata Zeitung. a Republican Association.The right was coextensive with the business elite. especially that of newcomers. By 1938 the German-speaking population of the republic was estimated at 237. Self-identification as a persecuted minority was all that remained of wartime solidarity.In 1932 there was a total of 119 such associations in the Greater Buenos Aires area alone. Large business firms and the very wealthy therefore strengthened their hold on the leadership of schools. 43.The largest German-speaking community was that of Buenos Aires: 45. By this time the grain. The political split that first appeared in 1918 was perpetuated in the factional feuding of the 1920s. Of these.600 were Reichsdeutsch. Increased immigration and increasing scarcity placed greater financial demands on voluntary associations and at the same time weakened popular support. The left was represented by workingmen's associations grouped around the Socialist club Vorwarts. of the DeutschnationaleVolkspartei.000 of whom were Reichsdeutsch. well over half were peasants of Russian or east European background. jobplacement bureaux. not including German Jews. sport and musical clubs. opportunities there existed only for those in possession of large start-up capital.

indeed. but one had to fear what might come. After the 1880s. The professional.until the First World War. of course. and the founding of families.indeed. but by that time the urban communities had created a social environment that insulated them from the absorptive processes at work in the new country. ascent into the landed oligarquiabecame less frequent. In these occupations they were seldom troubled by competition from Creoles . About 1930 the mood of the German Argentines was compounded of anxiety concerning status (socio-economic and cultural). Protestantism. Against these processes. The Radical Party. Schooling was. a crucial issue. the less the likelihood of disturbance. began to be compelled to employ Argentine citizens to teach the nation's geography. and to promote respect for the flag and other patriotic symbols. to use Spanish more effectively. the oligarchs were quite aware that the smaller the politicallyactive class. marriage. sexual liaison. With straitened circumstances after 1918. by 1930 the German-language schools were providing a German component at most to what was essentially Argentine schooling. they could not realistically hope for German careers for them either. After the war not only were relatively few parents able to send their children to Germany for schooling. The majority. was committed to nationalism. but the process of assimilation went on anyway. the Germans. had also to be aware that Creoles were beginning to rise in the social order to occupational and income levels once monopolized by Europeans. The more insidious effects on foreign residents worked from below: in language and customs. seldom to be aware of them . resentment to- 96 . Many of its measures were as yet only pinpricks. voluntary associations. and extensive educational facilities in the mother tongue. sports and entertainments. pressures from above on foreigners to assume the obligations of citizenship were nil . which provided prestigious and often indispensable supplements to the public systems. history. Under oligarchic rule. technical. notably the British.Ronald C. more vulnerable now to assimilative pressures at the everyday level. The practical considerations in favour of acquiescing in the children's use of Spanish and their vocational preparation for life in Argentina were great. work groups and trade unions. however.had. like other high-status foreign communities. for in this decade the foreign-language school system. Thus. threw up sturdy insular defences: bourgeois norms of behaviour. Newton were Creole oligarchs. and to assimilation at this level of status there had never been perceptible objection. and clerical occupations held by Germans gave them income with which to keep up a middle-class way of life. and civics. Many German schools evaded these provisions flagrantly. all this changed. in power since 1916.

97 . from whose journalism and fiction arises clearly a detailed apologia for the 'left-wing' variety of National Socialism (both men had been leftist activists in the popular assemblies of 1918): a National Socialism which combined denunciations of the Versailles Treaty with denunciations of tired privileged elites and the capitalist order generally. their antics had made the work of later organizers extremely difficult. Gross and Max Rene Hesse. it might have discredited the entire cadre of advisors. Inland 11 ( 1936-7). was maintained on the tumultuous affairs of Landesgruppe Argentinien. Ernst Alemann. Seyd's group disappeared shortly thereafter. an ex-major named Schneider. In May a Buenos Aires local (Ortsgruppe)of the nsdap was set up ashore. It began early in 193 1 when meetings of a Nazi Vereinigung were held aboard Hamburg-Sud ships at anchor at Buenos Aires.The Patagonia Plot wards those more successful in 'Making America'. had the Argentines learned of the scandal. is a repository for fascinating material from all over the world. a salesman of advertising space for the local German-language newspapers. on a number of counts including the assertion that Kretzschmar was crazy. Their mostly inchoate feelings were shaped and expressed by such popular writers as A. Documentation for the early years of the National Socialist epoch in Argentine is somewhat scanty. probably on the initiative of Nazi Bordzellenon the ships. attacked the senior German military advisor to the Argentine army. its schaffendesVolk. however. hostility towards the ever more assertive Creoles. Johann Kretzschmar. and yearning for a mythicized past of Germanic might and prestige. however. Its local leadership was drawn from down-at-heel ex-officers.or these seven volumes were combed of such material at some time. It contains nothingon Argentina. President Hindenburg. By the end of 1932 a a/b. Bd 1 ( 1933-4) bis Bd 7 30 aa/pa. Akten betr. One of them. this is not the variety of National Socialism the German Argentines got. The first (selfproclaimed) Landesfuhrerwas one Captain (Inactive) Rudolf Seyd. now lost. and members of the diplomatic mission in Buenos Aires.E. and promises of German national revindication with promises of a place in the sun for Germany's hard-working little people. NS-Ortsgruppen im Ausland. Seyd was a known deadbeat who had recently been involved in steamy divorce proceedings .hardly recommendations in a community still dominated by a pinched Wilhelmian gentility. According to the German Legation in Buenos Aires.Despite much rhetoric and rodomontade. His colleagues simultaneously opened hostilities with the traditionalists by denouncing Chancellor Bruning. to a duel (which Alemann refused disdainfully). Either a separate file. Dr. Seyd soon became embroiled in controversy with the local leftists and challenged the editor of the Argentinisches Tageblatt.

On Fricke see: Denkschrift. Akten betr. ibid. ba. and so on. 103 executive committes offered their endorsement. are entirely behind Hitler and his policies.Bd2o. the sport and school organizations.31 When Hitler came to power in January 1933 the Argentine was Dr. 1920-36. Willi Kohn. 14 Aug. but not before the energetic and brutal Chilean-German.to organize the festivities in which the ArgentineGerman collectivity welcomed the coming to power of the Nazis in Germany. 193 1: all in aa/pa hi. 1931.). Keller 1272/31. In that month Thilde Deckner of Buenos Aires wrote. VolkischerBeobachter (Berlin).as was noted earlier . Brandt owned a small factory that Landesfuhrer manufactured chemicals and hair tonic. He had little rapport with the working-class firebrands who dominated the local Nazi movement.. die Schwarze Front. 878/31. 'Argentinien 1936/ s/Franz Schubert (pseud. his passion was amateur theatre. and the executive committees of the voluntary associations declared their adherence to the New Order. an Minister Keller. 1947. Paraguay. Schneider. had been called in .Ronald C. Minister Keller. In 1935 he was stripped of his German citizenship. Forderungdes Deutschtums in Argentinien. unburdened himself to the newly-arrived minister: 'The opponents of our Third Reich have already been laughing in my 3 1 Vernehmung ehem. Keller 616/31. was in existence. He resigned as Landesfuhrer in 1934. Botschafter Edmund Freiherrvon Thermann.C. Munchen. Bruno Fricke. Inland 11a/b.community leaders spoke. opponents. Minister Kaufmann. an aa. 98 . an aa. who we hope will be fired as soon as the new minister gets here. 1933: all in Kulturabt A-via. Newton LandesgruppeArgentinien. HemmenBA 1047/31. 1931. 3 1. These took the form of mass rallies at which local choral groups sang the Horst WesselLied. to a Dr. 'not a dangerous man'. 'Bericht 1945: Die Entwicklung in Lateinamerika seit 1932. and 315 members. 26 June 193 1. 3 1 Oct. 25 Apr. for Fricke later reappeared as leader of Strasser's SchwarzeFront in Argentina. comprising the Buenos Aires local. Bd 1. an immigrant then in his sixties who had joined the Party in Argentina. Communists.' But in December Daniel Soemmering. Sometime during this period one Bruno Fricke arrived from Germany to take charge.' Institut fur Zeitgeschichte. 1935-37. By November 1933. Ed n8.21 Aug. 9 Oct. 7 'strongpoints'. chamber of commerce. Staatsarchiv Nurnberg. 3ijuly 1931. Gottfried Brandt.1 June 1931. Po 25 Arg. Details of his incumbency have disappeared but it can only have been disastrous. on the stationery of the German Women's Club. 17 Oct. ba. He was later described as 'an idealist'. 471/33. and Uruguay. Boye of Halle: 'All the clubs here. Unfortunately in the schools there are still some non-conformists. at a rally in support of the German government's departure from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations. 1920-36. until the end of the Second World War he would maintain a hole-and-corner existence as head of the most disreputable strain of the anti-fascist resistance in southern South America. 1023/31.

181-2. also contributed to his own difficulties. an aa. State. Stanford. 1939). 99 ./Nov. 1968). in which Soemmering is dismissed as a 'typischer Querulant'. Peter Bussemeyer. 5 June 1934. Levine. dlpz. See also Herbert S. he was summarily dismissed. where he had had several run-ins with the local Nazis. They say the Hitler regime only holds festivals and praises itself. 1933. Folder 660: 'Argentinien': Hoover Archive. Kaufmann had an excellent record both as an officer in the First World War and as a diplomat. The Deckner letter was kept as an example of 'Lesepatenwerk' in nsdap Hauptarchiv. Thermann. pp. set aside their differences and proceed to rebuild 'the German house'.. Nazionalsozialistische Aussenpolitik 3-1 938 (Frankfurt/Main. 1945. Newton. 129-30. The implacably rightthinking dlpz never breathed a word of the dismissal until it came time to report on the round of leave-taking dinners that preceded Kaufmann's departure on 1 September. 1933. 22 Mar. and Kaufmann duly arrived aboard the Cap Arconaon 17 March. with Meynen in Portugal). to remain at his post until a suitable replacement could be found. 1945. 1925. 8 1. 1 Sept. 17. 34. In January 1933 President Hindenburg named Heinrich Ritter von Kaufmann-Asser to the recently vacated ministerial post in Buenos Aires. 34 Bussemeyer. 30 Nov. fbi Misc File. 1945 (reporting conv. Early in 1933. pp. under Hitler's strong central government. 2 1 Aug. fbi. and the Schutzstaffelto boot (he later claimed he had been inducted into the ss without his knowledge). Hitler'sFree City:A Historyof the Nazi Partyin Danzig. to Lyon. At these affairs the leaders of GermanArgentine society seem to have expressed their support and sympathy for Kaufmann in uncommonly blunt terms.Adolf Jacobsen. 24 Aug. On Brandt see Bohle interrogation. p. 1945. California. but nothing gets done!'32 Unfortunately the Third Reich's diplomatic mission to Argentina was also getting off to a wobby start.33 His successor. He was required. 1 May. and of 10 Dec. pp. 627. p. reported in omgus Germany 1434. 224./Oct. Deutschtum im Ausland. however. he had joined the nsdap. His successor's work would be hampered by the enduring bad taste left by the affair. Thermann interrogations of Sept..1939 (Chicago. in abb Box 28. Thermann interrogation 10 May 1945. 101. 193 33 Ebel. He was promoted to ministerial rank and see 32 On the Gleichschaltung Ebel. It is doubtful that such a pluralist view would have been congruent with the Nazi in Weltanschauung'. however. Hans. Soemmering an Thermann. 1973). with cover letter Thermann 6 10/34. p. Thermann too was a career diplomat: he had spent the previous eight and a half years as consul-general in Danzig. any case Kaufmann had Jewish forbears and. Fiinfzigjahre Argentinisches Tageblatt:Werden undAufstiegeinerauslanddeutschen Zeitung (Buenos Aires. Hoover. According to the Deutsche La-Plata Zeitung he quickly won the support of the business community with his view that the various 'tendencies' and 'movements' in Germany could now. 25 Dec. 1 19-20.The Patagonia Plot face. In Kulturabt A-via. under the Law for the Reform of the Civil Service of April 1933. file cited fn. p.

Roosevelt visited Buenos Aires in 1936 and was waited upon by the diplomatic corps. 13.35 In theory the LandesgruppeArgentinienof the nsdap assumed responsi35 dlpz. 1945. Auslandsdeutsche ( 1936). She was also xix interrogated on 10 Dec. conveyed Hitler's personal greetings and led the welcoming delegation in singing DeutschlanduberAlles and the Horst WesselLied. all of them lavishly decked with the symbols and trappings of the New Order. There followed a round of receptions. widely credited with being the motive force behind her husband's careerism. during the leisurely sea-voyage Thermann made things worse by consorting with a wellknown Creole fascist and perennial intriguer. The encounter with fdr emerges from the legal attache's 1OO . p. 2 1 Dec. For her part. General (Retired) Juan Bautista Molina. he immediately spotted Thermann who was wearing a black uniform with swastika armband. 953. The local Nazis were ecstatis that a Parteigenosseand ss -Mann was at the head of the diplomatic mission. from the gang plank. Wilma Freifrau von Thermann (nicknamed Tegine' by the community) declared on her arrival that the Nazi women's associations were the 'bearers of National Socialist Weltanschauung'. On Frau Thermann. When the ship arrived at Buenos Aires on 10 December Thermann. who was also a passenger. 16. 138. On the 15th he appeared at the year-end ceremonies of the prestigious Goethe School. 33. see Bussemeyer. The Argentine diplomatic establishment was already displeased with the Germans over the treatment of Kaufmann and with Germany's resignation from the League (for Argentina had sponsored Germany's admission in 1926). Socially ambitious. she set about winning over the petite bourgeois womenfolk of the community by inviting them to teas and receptions at the minister's residence. she also wrote a play on Franz Schubert's unrequited love which was performed by Argentine students at the embassy in November 1937. Newton immediately posted to Buenos Aires. See Thermann interrogations and affadavit cited above. On the 17th he turned up at the nsdap Sonnenwendfeierin the suburb of Vicente Lopez: this was the torchlit neo-pagan ceremony at which the Argentine Nazis were wont to greet the summer solstice.19. (When Franklin D. fdr asked his aides to find out what it was: the answer drifted back through channels that is was a little something that had become fashionable in the German Foreign Service). Her style in cultural matters was earnest if a bit uncertain: in September 1936 Argentine winners of Olympic medals were honoured at the residence by a Greek Olympic dance of her devising. Oblivious to the fact that the majority of students were Argentine citizens.Ronald C. Thermann for his part was not shy about wearing his ss-Sturmfuhreruniform and being photographed in it. he ordered the hall decorated with Nazi banners and led the children in patriotic songs and the Hitler salute.

A-via. At the end of the year the Teatro Comico staged Ferdinand Bruckner's anti-Fascist farce Die Rassen (Las Razas). Its members were Creoles but the leader was a German national and nsdap member named Hans Herrmann Wilke.pp. 1933. for which he performed no discernible service. 1933-1946 (W. Unexplained attacks on Radical and Socialist Party headquarters. and synagogues followed in the last months of 1934. PaulZech imsudamerikanischenExil. especially as both the Nazis and the diplomats had resolved upon a vigorous campaign against opponents of the New Order. an aa. and threatened to firebomb the theatre.37 In May invaded a meeting of the Pestalozzi School 1934 the local Sturm-Abteilung a coalition of anti-Nazi Jews and Gentiles then in the process of Society.1157/33. organizing a German-language school free of Nazi influences. (BuenosAires). on 13 February 1935 one of them was taken by the police with bombs in his possession.filecited. 1969).Thermannsaidhe only wantedto promotethe saleof frozenbeef.Berlin. including naturally the representation of the interests of German businesses and individuals resident in Argentina. 37 La Vanguardia 1O1 . left-wing newspapers.36 Long before then the Nazis had taken matters into their own hands and thereby compromised the legation. Kulturabt Germansare Winifred 135-6. Wilke was employed by the Banco Germanico. In September incendiary bombs were set off on the premises of the Tageblattand did a moderate amount of damage. 1978). As early as March 1933 Nazi hoodlums had attempted to break up a meeting organized by Jews at Luna Park in Buenos Aires to protest the excesses of Hitlerism. 36 Kaufmann. and Arnold Spitta. (fbi's)questionsin the sameinterview.Concerninga banquethe hostedin Hamburgin 1936for his friendand ss-patron.WernerLorenz. police stood by and did not intervene. 3 Oct. while the diplomatic mission was charged with the conventional functions of diplomacy.29 Mar. eventually Thermann was able to initiate a criminal prosecution which meandered through the courts for three years and was dismissed in October 1937. however. not for the last time.Bussemeyer. The group responsible for the recent acts of hoodlumism was thereby exposed. The Nazis found this insufficient. Thermann protested again to the foreign ministry and several offensive passages were censored.1933. Berlin. Kaufmann and then Thermann lodged energetic complaints with the Argentine Foreign Ministry against the newspapers Criticaand Das Argentinische Tageblattfor their treatment of German news (the Tageblattwas banned from Germany in April 1933 for denouncing the Reichstagfire as a Nazi plot). 168.The Patagonia Plot bility for the 'moral custody [Betreuung] of the National Socialist worldoutlook' of the German-Argentines. Two excellentmonographson the anti-Fascist Seelisch. Jurisdictional difficulties began almost immediately. Das AndereDeutschland:einepolitischeVereinigungdeutscher Emigrantenin Siidamerika (W.

Kuster told a VolkischerBeobachter reporter in 1936 that 2 million of the 12 million Argentines were Jews. perhaps also because of the risks he had run in the Wilke affair. accepts Thermann's denial of foreknowledge. 1945. He tried to dissociate the diplomatic mission from the affair. They were launched into High Society and cultivated their new acquaintances. finally. the German Foreign Office promoted Thermann to ambassador and kept him in place. in an unusual gesture. Thermann and his wife began to keep away from the local Nazis. an aa. on Muller's departure in the aftermath of the Patagonia affair. which. until he left./Nov. The embassy's work was concentrated upon expansion of bilateral trade and the German industrial enclave.Ronald C. to Wilhelm Wieland. Thermann informed the Argentines that Wilke had been expelled from the Pary three years before and was now employed by the Argentine fascist Legion Civica. Thermann interrogations 10 May 1945. but got a lawyer for Wilke just in case .He had come out from Germany in 1933 as the German Labour Front's trustee in the executive committee of the La Plata branch of the German National Business Employees' League. who even included. 1O2 . June 1945 (reported in us Political Advisor Germany 490. and the chancellery of the legation were all lodged in the same German-owned building at Calle 25 de Mayo 145. Thermann t 1o. thence. 1 1July 1945. He also became editor of Der Trommler. Muller in was the most important figure in the Landesgruppe. and 10 Dec. a failed Misiones settler who proved a capable if uninspired administrator of the semiunderground party of the war years.the organ of the 38 Ebel. 22 Mar. Thermann spent much time at the German Riding Club. according to Thermann's postwar statements. was the most important workers' organization in the urban German-speaking communities. the acme of local snobbery and a locale for consolidating relations with the Argentine haut monde. Thermann interrogations of Sept. the German Foreign Office placed a high priority on a strong economic influence in Argentina and disclaimed any other strategic objectives. 46. 20235/5./Oct. Sept. 20 June 45. 144-9. pp. 1945.39 Following Brandt's resignation.40 For appearances' sake it was desirable to place Volksdeutsche the leadership but. aa/pa hi Pol 29 Arg Bd 1. Labougle. 30 Jan. 1945. to Sec State: 862. p.1845). Bussemeyer. pp. when Kiister returned to Europe in 1938. another Chilean-German. Kiister was an elderly man who had worked in Chile and Bolivia for 25 or 30 years without much success./Oct. with its large white-collar membership./Nov. abb Box 26.otherwise Wilke might say things 'as a result of the usual local police methods'. leadership of the Landesgruppepassed to Fritz Kiister. to Alfred Miiller. g 1. interrogation. prominent Jews. 48-9. Newton The bank. 40 Wilhelm Wieland. Thermann interrogation in us Political Advisor Germany. Thermann complained to the a-o that he was a 'stiff burro' and took credit for his recall. Perhaps in consequence of his promotion. 1935. 39 Pamperrien interrogation. the Landesgruppe headquarters. file illegible.38 Early in 1936 the diplomatic mission was raised to the status of embassy and. 126.

103 . p. 50% of dues and 20% of Winterhilfe receipts were spent locally (the remainder was foreign exchange for the Reich).45. She took charge of the Nazi women's organization in the internment camp at Curia with her customary fanaticism.47-8. Nazi PartyMembership 1946). and the League of German Maidens. the National Socialist Motor Vehicle Corps... though it is likely that holders of dual nationality. In any case. Records(4 vols. to declare him non grata. [However.44 to This ceaseless organizational activity (Vereinsmeierei the ireverent) 4 1 Bohle and Thermann interrogations. p.42 Non-Germans were of course ineligible. The latter blamed his recall early in 1942 on Party machinations. in 1944 he was permitted to go to Portugal to visit the diplomats repatriated from Argentina. and Nov. s/Bohle.557 at the end of 1939. He dressed carelessly.] many Reichsdeutsche possess a dual citizenship. Hitler Youth/Pathfinder Corps. Inland 11 82-03. 1June 1934. abb Box 28. were members. State. 835 at the end of September 1933. German and Argentine.1 10 (the maximum) at the end of 1936. There he was reunited with Annelore and their 2 children.' a-o Hamburg an aa. legal attache questioning of 1o Dec. Oct. 1 ljuly 1945. later. occasionally got drunk. fbi.!.The Patagonia Plot LandesgruppeArgentinien. Dues and the annual Winter Relief drive financed activities. to Lyon. pp. 2. and so on. Schmidt made his name by organizing the Ring of Sacrifice (Opferring)principally in the poorer but as yet unmilked rural regions. Sept. and 7. pp. 1945 . On Annelore see Hoover. Thermann interrogations. 2 1 Aug. 44 In the 1930s the party was run on a shoestring. 42 Jacobsen. by that time the Argentine Congress had requested the Acting President. 66 1-2 . 133 (May 1938). 1. 137 (June 1938). Temperamentally he and Thermann were poles apart and detested each other. thought many of the Germans living in Argentina had double citizenship for business purposes.. Washington. Labougle. 31-2. See DerTrommler(Buenos Aires). under wartime conditions. Miiller joined the army in Germany in 194 1. and affected plebian manners.43 There was a full panoply of subordinate organizations: ss and sa. 43 'Basically... Castillo. 7. and Thermann was required to travel home. 9 1. us War Dept. to answer them. 1945. 16. The Mullers appear to have remained in Portugal. National Socialist Women's Organization. she seems to have contested with Freifrau Thermann for control of the ns Women's Organization. this does not always stand in the way of accepta/b ance . esp. sport and glider clubs. 32. also affadavit of 30 Oct. foreigners cannot be accepted into the overseas nsdap. the Ring of Sacrifice was established to permit aspirants to contribute. On returning to Germany in 1940 Miiller laid charges against Thermann. Annelore Miiller was as fanatical as her husband. 1945 (reporting Meynen conversation). 1947. for instructions on registering for labour and military service. Miiller worked as a salesman for his uncle's tin-plating factory in Buenos Aires and showed little concern for making money.41 Membership in the Landesgruppewas never large: 315 at the end of 1932. the German Labour Front and its attached Strength Through Joy. after membership in the Party was restricted. Both the under Volberg and the Presseamtunder Sandstede squeezed businesses and Winterhilfe wealthy individuals unmercifully. National Socialist Welfare. fbi Misc File.

as Miiller had done. See also Thermann interrogation of 10 May 1945. Jan. Born in Cologne in 1905. He was repatriated with the diplomats in July 1944. Trommler advertisements for 'sales representa- 104 . en 11. 56. Labougle.which was shown at the congress and again at a screening for diplomats in Berlin. Volberg held him in contempt as 'the opposition' and 'the fat Schwab'. see Trommler. Landesgruppenfuhrer he was later the featured speaker on Argentina at the Fifth Congress of Overseas-Germans held in Stuttgart in 1937. Felix Schmidt. 5 (Buenos Aires. 46 Thermann interrogation. 56-7. After seeing it. pp. Nevertheless Volberg had the backing of Bohle.' On the film. Auslandsdeutsche. Appendix 45 Labougle. 1945). His following the nominal dissolution of the Landesgruppe role in the events that led to the Argentine Congress's demand for Thermann's expulsion in 1941 would seem to warrant a closer examination. he made himself disliked in business circles for his pressure tactics in extracting Winter Relief and other funds from companies and individuals. He worked his way up Economic Office. and later broadcast radio propaganda to South America. 390. Returning to Argentina he made himself indispensable to Kiister and was named head of the Uruguay section. he became a salesman for the German Chemical Trust and migrated with his family to Argentina before 1933. Labougle. Bohle interrogation. InformeNo. Newton gave ambitious young men the opportunity to make a career through the Party.45 Heinrich Volberg made an equally spectacular career. 75-6. Trommler. 53-5. In addition to the disruptions this caused. pp. 38-48. The Motion Picture Branch of usna owns a copy of the film. 1o May 45. the Argentine ambassador.000 pesos in Winterhilfefunds which the Parliamentary Commission on Anti-Argentine Activities found were actually used for propaganda purposes. xx ( 1937). (1937).46 lxxxiii ( 1936). pp. Comisi6n Investigadora. and through Bohle's influence was taken onto the embassy staff as an economic advisor after May 1939. for example. 75-6. was a young bank clerk who did a National Socialist training course in Germany in 1935. Schmidt seems to have impressed Bohle: he remained in Germany as head of the a-o's Propaganda Office. In late 194 1 Thermann at Volberg's urging signed a receipt for 100.'Kiinstliche Schaffung. His specialty was film propaganda: he was involved in the making of a film on the German Argentines titled Far From the Land of the Forefathers. This was the ostensible reason for the Chamber of Deputies' request that the president declare him non grata. He took charge of to become head of the Landesgruppe's out Jewish employees of local German firms and Jewish sales rooting representatives of concerns in the Fatherland and also had a hand in finding replacements for them.Ronald C. 89-9 1. lodged a strong protest with the German Foreign Office at the portrayal of living conditions in Argentina and the implication that German immigrants could survive only with the aid of National Socialist organizations: he was told that the film's purpose was to prevent Germans from emigrating.

those in the interior were Ortsgruppen visited regularly by Party officials seeking to explain the New Order to the In Volksdeutschen. 53. Wilhelm Liitge. 1943. a Parteigenosse. He was killed in Russia in 1944. After the 'separation of superfluous ballast'. After Christian Zinsser was posted to Guatemala. the membership stood at just over 's The Volksbund seventy-odd 2. a large group of whom was active by the end of the decade. yet he and Mixllerwere good friends and worked closely together.The Patagonia Plot A third bright young man who made a career in Argentina was Gottfried Sandstede. apparently by the Gestapo. resigned under pressure from Willi Kohn and was replaced by a seemingly more pliant man. Bohle considered him second-in-command of the Landesgruppe. as physician to the embassy. Rohmer. however. Hoover.Reichsdeutsch. State. InformeNo. abb Box 1. fbi.47 Conflicting claims on loyalties were especially severe in the Volksbund. 54. 105 . Sandstede was carried as civil attache (and at times as press attache) to the embassy. In July 1934 the Volksbund strengthened its ties to the semi-official VereinfurdasDeutschtum im Auslande. He was sent out.and seems tive sought': en (1937). Dr. the German Labour Front. 80 per cent of them non. performed unnecessary physical examinations of women called up for Labour Service in Germany. 51. Thermann liked him despite the fact that he had been foisted on the embassy by Kohn. he slipped quietly out of the country. 5-7. interview 4 Feb. Ludwig by Rauenbusch. 4 Oct. Its president.000.20235/1316. i945. 19N0V. he was supported by the Landesgruppeand its journal Der Trommler.He was also head of the Hitler Youth for a time. to Lyon. abb Box 24. and the school system. Dr. Thermann interrogation 10 May 1945 and passim. us Embassy ba 986. Wilhelm Rohmer. an Argentine citizen. was appointed full-time business manager. 53. He was a foppish dresser and a brilliant speaker. 47 Bohle interrogation. in 1933 and was employed by the shipping firm of Antonio Delfino. also a physician. while the matter of his diplomatic immunity was being discussed. refused to accept the authority of a Party court (Uschla) . one of the local party intellectuals. cxli (1938). File 16b.However. cxn (1937). the physician and non-party member Dr. 1946. the organization was nearly destroyed the flare-up of a long-standing feud between Rohmer and Dr. The Parliamentary Commission Investigating Anti-Argentine Activities summoned him for questioning in August 1941 and. though it is still unclear as what. the antithesis of Miiller. were once again reorganized. His principal function seems to have been reporting on the anti-Nazi exiles. Martin Arndt. 862. cxm (1937). 5.Meynen. Rauenbusch.toss(on the contents of the German Consulate files). accused Rohmer of having performed an abortion and of having. 1938. pp. which had been associated with German interests since the beginning of the century.espeically as Rauenbusch was the local judge .

17June 1938. for in addition to arbitration procedures between employer and employee. pp. 219-28. Newton to have made the matter known to Argentine officials. Thermann an aa. Volksdeutsche Ubersee versch. State. self-improvement classes. ci 49 Trommler. Meynen an Chef ao. It had him replaced as Volksbundpresident in July 1939 by the prominent businessman Richard Staudt. Zeissig an Chef ao. 31 May 1938. pp. Jahrbuch1935 (Buenos Aires. 2 1 Aug. In 1938 there were 203 German schools in the republic. pp. 8:70 (Feb. At its height in the late 1930s it had about 12. Employees had no option but to join and were often compelled to attend meetings and other functions on their own time. 1934). The daf and its organ. Thermann an aa. nor was it tainted by socialism. 96-7. 10:93 (Jan1939). 1937-40. 1942: Inland ng 278. Their membership cards were signed by Dr. Meynen an aa. Liitge got the job. 5 1. Thyssen. 15 June 1938. 1938). 15 Sept. by this time little but a well-paid sinecure. Argentinien. 1937). Der Deutsche in Argentinien. among others. Their dues. one in which the Germans manoeuvred with even less than their wonted delicacy. 93. the German banks and hospital. Mendoza. 56-9.: Thermann affadavit. one directed especially at exposing Jewish machinations in the fetid business world of Buenos Aires. Schooling was thus a very delicate subject. a 'redhot' Nazi. 62-5. but for administration they came under the LandesgruppeArgentinienof the nsdap. as well as funds contributed by employers.5:39 (June 1934). For the Volksbund's 86-7. Hoover.48 The head of the German Labour Front was Erwin Schrieffer. Bayer. 1947. for quote. 1945 (on Schrieffer). (1937). Deutscher Volksbund fur Argentinien. 48 Ebel. 9:89 (Sept. lojune 1939: all in Chef der ao. abb Box 28. The positive benefits were undoubtedly great. carried on a virulent anti-Semitic campaign. 2 Jan. 106 . 1937). fbi. Thermann an aa. Merck. The embassy was concerned to manceuvre Rohmer aside with the least possible publicity.Ronald C. at the last moment Volksdeutscher Staudt refused to be so used. it commanded a powerful loyalty. most of them concentrated in the German enterprises of the Greater Buenos Aires area: Klockner. Chef ao in aa an Thermann. Among occupational groups like the merchant seamen. Every city of any size had earlier history see Newton. 75. Mannesmann. fbi Misc File. 9:86 (June 1938). Robert Ley.49 Argentina in the 1930s could claim a long and intense dedication to free secular public education as well as the highest literacy rate in Latin America. Siemens. were not accounted for. For most white-collar employees it provided representation and protection superior to what they had known before.000 members. 5:42 (Oct. ReichsLabour Minister. and (through Strength Through Joy) excellent recreational and vacation opportunities. Bohle interrogation. 30 Oct. to Lyon. 1938. 1935). Schering. Akten betr. 8:79 (Nov. 112. Der Deutschein Argentinien. the daf provided job-placement services. 10 June 1938. who previously had had no protection whatever. However.

In the urban German-language schools the identification of German culture with National Socialism was well-advanced. in addition. they were ancillary to the public school system. It happened that three of the four largest concentrations of Germanlanguage schools (Entre Rios excepted) fell under federal jurisdiction. These schools employed better-trained teachers who were hired directly from Germany (hence had no exposure to Argentina) and 107 . German spokesmen replied that the ing fault lay with the incompetent personnel and wretched facilities provided by public authority in the more remote areas. seven Tree' German-language schools in 1937 .including the Pestalozzi School. their knowledge of Argentine history. 1 1 per cent were Reichsdeutsche.000 students. Argentines.The Patagonia Plot at least one. The majority were small privately-supported Tamily' schools which taught only religion in German or the German language. unquestionably private facilities were often superior to public. and three in Misiones. Their reports to the National Educational Council received little attention at first. There were. Their school-leaving certificates gave access to the next higher level of public schooling. the old-line Cangallo School. and Dutch universities. Of the 15. both federally-appointed officials. the greatest concentrations were in the capital city. or public men was weak to nonexistent. two others in Buenos Aires. were nationalities. In May 1938 the first regulatory legislation appeared. Austrian. Even then. the Burmeister School diploma gave admittance to the Argentine universities. The reports indicated that in rural districts the children of immigrant parents were receiving neither opportunity nor encouragement to master more than a rudimentary Spanish. At the apex of the system the Abitur offered by the Goethe School in Buenos Aires was accepted by German. They were exposed to had been distributmuch German nationalist propaganda (the Volksbund such material gratis since 1918). The first complaints against Nazi influences began to be voiced as early as 1935 by Governor Perez Virasoro of La Pampa and Governor Vanasco of Misiones. 5 per cent were of other 1 and 74 per cent. provincial practice varied widely from federal: it was said that schools under investigation in the suburbs of the capital city merely moved several miles to the sanctuary of Buenos Aires Province. having been born in Argentina. A minority were 'incorporated' with the public system: they followed the standard curricula and were subject to inspection by provincial or federal educational authorities. Entre Rios Province and the federal territories of Misiones and La Pampa.Tree' of Nazi influence . civics. was at the same time the hope of Argentine fascists and a retainer of the German Embassy. Manuel Fresco. it was only after Ortiz's election in September 1937 that the press began to publicize and sensationalize the matter. whose governor.

was forced to resign. 38. voided the council's autonomy to conduct its own investigation. ba Herald. No one doubted that the German schools were its principal object. militarism was glorified. Rohmeder. A quasi-military physical training was standard at the larger schools (perhaps this complaint. 800. In these schools also. W.20210/60. 18-21. 28 May 1938.Comit6 Contra el Racismo y el Antisemitismo. Grotesque Sonnenwendfeierceremonies were reported from locales as far apart as Rosario and Comodoro Rivadavia in the far south. 3. and geography be taught by Argentine citizens for a minimum of three hours and twenty minutes a day. too. Erziehung in der deutschen Auslandsschule') . history. 5 :7 ( 1936) (photos of H itler with schoolchildren) . or muzzled from above. pp. and as the tempo and number of participants increased. racism was pervasive. It forbade also any political indoctrination or racist ideology or practice. Sept. to which it was subordinate. also 'Einrichtung und Lehrbetrieb der Adolf-Hitler-Schulen'). On various occasions Argentine inspectors. Newton were obliged to belong to the National Socialist Teachers' League.esp. 500-4. Pico. In April 1938 the President of the National Council of Education. were hoodwinked. 313-4. passim. Deutsche zeitungfur Argentinien. 8 Apr. to ss. pp. As a result six schools in La Pampa were closed and the ministry brought in legislation in May which forbade the use of foreign languages in private schools except for religious and language instruction (Argentine themes were to be used as subject matter in language teaching).passim. 294-300. Dr. InformeNo.Ronald C. dlpz. 'Das LehrerDeutschtum Argentiniens. Comisi6n Parlamentaria.' Deutschtum imAusland 2 1:8 (1938). and the Ministry of Justice and Public Instruction. 3:3 (1934) ('Die Lage der deutschen Schulen in Argentinien') . As of 1 April 1936 all were required to appear at the embassy to swear an oath of fealty to Adolf Hitler. 7 : 1 ( 1938) (letters from fallen soldiers. most were party members. us Embassy ba 1988. 38. 194 1). reveals as much about Creole practice as about German). so did public unease. Mein Kampfwas used as a text in some schools. federal and provincial. required emphasis on Argentine national symbols and observance of national holidays.50 The Germans also took to staging public manifestations. 4 : 1o ( 1935) ('Grundlinien ns. The German 50 Ebel. Argentine civics were neglected and occasionally treated with contempt. but otherwise the legislation remained in force. 5 Apr. 'Kiinstliche Schaffung'. and prescribed that in the first six grades Argentine civics. Jews were systematically excluded (hence part of the demand for Tree' schools). 6:2(1 937) (Hitler's birthday). 6:5 ( 1937) (teaching the World War) . Controls on foreign languages were later eased. 2 Apr. The Hitler salute and a kind of National Socialist catechism were in daily use. Informeconfidentialde las actividadesnazis en la Argentina (Buenos Aires. 5 :8 ( 1936) (gymnastic drill) . 6:4(1 937) (Bohle's exhortation to teachers overseas). 108 . 1941). bribed. 4 (Buenos Aires. 3 1 Mar.

57. Anslandsdeutsche. The Austrian Nazis threw a celebration at the German Club in Buenos Aires attended by 3. 80 per cent of them Argentine nationals.000 under the tent of the Sarrasani Circus in Buenos Aires in 1935. 15.6:ii3(i937). 6-7.pp. at the end of the summer vacation.5:83(i936). The press's increasing boldness reflected the election of Ortiz in September. lines of cars and trucks identified as the National Socialist Motor Vehicle Corps. 'Kiinstliche Schaffung' (for German businesses sending delegations). 51 Ebel.303. with the revelations concerning the German schools and the Austrian plebiscite/Luna Park affair. and the menacing ranks of the German Shepherd Club. was a sensation. Heinz Ott.7:i27 xvm (1935).rrowm/^r. he was not inaugurated until February. Just two weeks later the Nazis In observed.6:i23(i937). In October a police raid on the newly-opened 'Wilhelm GustlofP nsdap headquarters in Eldorado. It appeared that some elements of the Sport-abteilung(sa) were not sportsmen at all: they wore uniforms indistinguishable from those of the Sturmabteilung (sa).000 to Luna Park the following year.1937 onward.500 people.pp. On 3 1 October the nsdap Sport Section put on the largest yet of the annual Langemarck Marches. 361-2. Informeconfidential. including Dr. 54-5.292-3.51 There were plenty of straws in the wind from mid. Thereafter. a speaker (Reichsredner)sent out from Germany who in appearance and speaking style was the double of Hitler.The Patagonia Plot Labour Front's May Day observances drew 12. however. Half a dozen columns of marchers moved by different routes from assembly points within Buenos Aires to the new Landheimin suburban Burzaco. the storm-troopers in eclipse in Germany since the bloodpurge of 1934 (Ambassador Thermann had not known about the uniforms in advance. (!938). a storm broke over the Germans. i5-g. sang the anthems of the Third Reich lustily but did not seem to know the words of corresponding Argentine hymns at all. he was very upset). The Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich in March 1938 caused jubilation in Nazi circles in Argentina. for the first time. the 'Day of German Volksturri. youths identified as Pathfinders (Boy Scouts) who attempted the goosestep. In November La Prensa delivered a sharp editorial on 'Argentine Nationalism or Foreign Nationalism?' and Critica began to run a series by Ernesto Giudici on Nazi subversion in Uruguay and elsewhere in the Americas. October the 'German Youth Festival 1937' caused uneasy press comment: it was observed that the assembled youth.000 in 1937. 109 . Misiones. In July the press reported extensively on the visit of the reactionary politician Matias Sanchez Sorondo to Germany and the warm welcome given him by the Nazi hierarchy. The columns included units of the German Riding Club tricked out in pith helmets and fashionable self-designed uniforms. and 16.

ein Reich. gave an almost perfect imitation of Hitler. municipal authorities had permitted the Germans to decorate their businesses and club 7: 52 Ebel. 1938. 133 (1938). it was said that the Volkwould not be considered to have done their full duty unless they also had a special card punched at the great 'Day of Unity' rally to be held at Luna Park on 10 April. The Marxist-influenced Federation Universitaria Argentina held a counterdemonstration in Plaza San Martin in downtown Buenos Aires. but terribly earnest .00/1738. 'alternatively vapid and terribly earnest .10Apr. HO . iq$8.Ronald C. was 'a profitable study for a psychiatrist. a wealthy GermanArgentine businessman who had been Austrian Consul.with their tossing standards. schools. attended the affair along with 18. and two elderly bystanders uninvolved in the manifestation were trampled to death by police horses.Hitler Youth. Despite petitioning by prominent Argentines. einFuhrer emblazoned on it in Gothic letters.56-7. United States Vice-Consul W.57-8.'52 The greater tragedy occurred outside Luna Park. 1938. Busser. as did Richard Staudt.pp. Storm Troops. They must have been mostly waiters or poorly-paid clerks. and as elsewhere in Latin America the German Embassy made arrangements to charter ships on which the balloting would be held. Busser observed the faces. the Germans and Austrians 'invited' their nationals to sign the lists maintained at clubs. 8. the panoply of Nazi organizations .' The whole thing.305-1 1. ba 16 Mar.000 others.ba Herald..' Charge d'Affaires Meynen orated (Thermann was on leave in Germany). It was broken up violently by the municipal riot police. 14 Apr. massed singing. pasty-faced.F. He reported that it had all the trappings of the Berlin Sportpalastrallies: an elevated rostrum with an enormous red backdrop. 10-2. who.' The Austrian delegation was 'the saddest-looking group I have ever seen.. he wrote.6. Their seedy Tyrolean hats and tin medals only heightened the pathos. 14.. Trommler. Stormtroopers ringed the entire auditorium. 285. The speeches were exercises in mass hypnosis. 3. 7: 135(1938). 863. who spoke German. it maintained that by anchoring in international waters the shipboard polling places would not violate local sovereignty. to ss. were much in evidence in their grey shirts and Sam Browne belts. When the new Ortiz administration refused to permit this fiction. Ott.2. Ein Volk. 15Apr. Newton Germans and Austrians living overseas were to vote in the plebiscite meant to ratify the Anschluss. They were generally one of two kinds: 'thick-necked and square-headed with well-filled paunches or thin. Pressure was exerted by German employers upon their employees to vote.302-3. according to Busser. and other ethnic institutions all over the republic. and the ubiquitous Dr. dlpz. Frontline Veterans ..us Embassy 1993. Argentine fascist youth. however. the Alianza de Juventud Nacionalista. not a single flicker of intelligence.

'53 Ambassador Thermann returned to Buenos Aires shortly thereafter. Chile. Alvarado of the Foreign Ministry. On 18 May Thermann recommended to Berlin that the and Reichsdeutschorganizations in Argentina be split imVolksdeutsch mediately (Dr. 1938. Ortiz's Foreign Minister.. as they should. received an apology from Dr. 562-5. unaware of the cancellation. Jacobsen.. Thermann (affidavit. For once the Auslands-organisationagreed: it ordered persons of foreign or dual nationality dropped from nsdap rolls. but the fundamental hostility between the two could not so easily be bridged. 330-8. pp. In Buenos Aires Thermann and Miiller conferred on ways to lessen friction between embassy and Landesgruppeand avoid provocation of the Creoles. The German Embassy protested and. who was still gaining his footing in office (and learning about personnel inherited from Justo). in Argentina the Party prepared to go underground.. 1947) claims the Landesgrupperemained unco-operative and was so careless in concealing its operations that the Argentines were bound to be alarmed. the German occupation of Memel. predictably these were torn down by student demonstrators. Seven thousand Spaniards.. and the rump of Czechoslovakia. Jose Cantilo. Ill . 1938.31 8-9. Argentine resistance was hardening. In lieu of a strong response from President Ortiz. unsuccessful Integralista Putsch in Brazil. 311. 12 Apr. the difference between patriotic and political aspects of ceremonies . Against the background of unfriendly speeches in the Argentine Congress by Radical and Socialist deputies. 9 Oct. The diplomats discussed means of demonstrating that Germany had no colonial designs on Latin America and from Volksdeutsch reaffirmed the need to separate Reichsdeutsch organizations so as to avoid any impression of tampering with non-German nationals. and Uruguay. the Kristallnacht. 154. The Sudeten crisis and Munich. Labougle made a similar recommendation simultaneously in Berlin). moved toward friendlier relations 53 La Prensa. for the national government must exact respect for the law without any concessions whatever. just as the school question was succeeding the Luna Park affair in the public eye. also 14 Apr. pp.54 The drift toward world war accelerated. and in May the situation was made much worse by news of the bloody. were roughly dispersed by police. 54 Ebel. dominated the consciousness of men of affairs. Thermann convoked a meeting in Montevideo of the chiefs-of-mission in Brazil. Diplomats must counsel their countrymen to discontinue this.The Patagonia Plot premises with German flags and swastikas. [They thus] keep alive political questions that have no place among us . to much general disgust. Disgust was compounded a few days later when police cancelled a rally commemorating the founding in 1931 of the Second Republic in Spain. the authoritative word was spoken by La Prensa: 'Foreign residents do not discern.

the fundamental damage.29. Paolucci in the legal opinion of May 1939 in which he enlarged upon his decision not to prosecute Alfred Muller. Both as immigrants and as workers they enjoyed the protection of Argentine law. since Jews and non-Germans were ineligible. and to enforce its views by meddling with disbursal of funds (most of which were raised locally). policy. Dr. had already been done. Meynen contained the superficial imbroglio very well. was far in advance of isolationist sentiment in the country at large. Muller had admitted under questioning that the heads of the LandesgruppeArgentinien were appointed from Germany. Membership in the daf was not obligatory for all members of German concerns. Meynen . This was evident in the exclusion of Argentines from membership in many German-language associations and from German businesses in other than menial or token positions. Newton with the Roosevelt administration in the United States whose concern about the consequences of unchecked German aggression. The Fatherland also asserted claims against the Argentine property55 Seefn. It was known that German parents went to great lengths to register births at the consulates in order to claim German citizenship for their children. Paolucci dismissed the daf's claim to 'protect' German workers. Social and legal sanctions against racially-unacceptable marriages {Mischehe) were not only insulting but unconstitutional.who was surely the more skilled diplomat but did not have full ambassadorial authority . intelligence. 112 . It had exerted pressure on young men and women of dual citizenship to return to Germany for labour or military service. Some of the most sensible words on the Patagonia Affair were pronounced by Dr. such work was a function of diplomacy. however. and respectability. statutes and directives were supplied by the Fatherland. however. and onlyof diplomacy. as were disabilities on Jews. Argentine citizens were excluded from the Party.55 He began by citing the results of the government's investigation. In February Thermann returned again to Berlin. The Party had undertaken to monitor the ideological content of teaching in the German-language schools. The nsdap had shown even less respect for Argentine culture. some expectant mothers had even made the voyage to Europe in order to give birth on German soil (echoes of the Spanish vice-royalty!). like that in Ortiz's circle. indeed. and funding. statutes. Should disputes arise it was the duty of consulates to aid their nationals.Ronald C. Similarly.was left to cope with the Patagonia Affair. the questioning of the head of the daf had revealed that the organization was locally under Party inspection authority and was otherwise subordinated to the German Labour Front in matters of officers.

it violated the constitution. and much of their property was seized. religious. 'so long as they obey the law and so long as this union arises from a free decision on the part of each. attempted to enclose all the civic. They had wrung large amounts of money from their members in the guise of 'winter relief and had given evasive accounting of the money's disbursal. and in particular had they resisted more forcefully the schemes and pretensions of Nazis-on-the-make sent out from the H3 . to the prejudice of good order and possibly of good international relations. for in requiring the government to encourage European immigration the framers had surely intended that the immigrants contribute to the formation of a 'homogeneous national race'. It could lead to conflicts with other immigrant collectivities. which was intolerable. spy scandals. the Decree of 15 May 1939 was a warning.territoriality. not that they be permitted to create privileged extraterritorial enclaves. and social life of the collectivity within a German National Socialist bubble. Paolucci pointed out that jus soli was the law of the land for all persons born in Argentina and that Argentine citizenship was freely granted to those who had fled Europe. in sum.' Miiller had insisted the German associations were no different from any others. They had. Some of the organizations destroyed represented nearly a century of work and sacrifice on the part of immigrants. this has caused much bitterness. a 'colony' with pretensions to extra. and threats against relatives in the Fatherland. at the end of a long war and a long sequence of exposes. It is arguable that had the leaders of German Argentina heeded it. They had used various forms of intimidation such as boycotts and economic sanctions. Again. it would be invoked to the full only if necessary. Worse. in the aftermath of the Kristallnacht. This represented the creation of a covert polity. In an immigrant country like Argentina newcomers. by a natural gravitation of his affinities. itself an admission of illegality. social ostracism. In the end it was invoked to the full: virtually all German schools and social and charitable institutions were closed. In other words. Many organizations had acted in secrecy. had been forced to contribute levies based on their Argentine holdings to the general fine imposed on German Jewry. Paolucci rejected this. in persisting in the contrary principle of jus sanguinis. understandably. Flagrant examples had come to light the previous November when German Jews. was the Decree of 15 March 1939 warranted} It must be remembered that the decree was admonitory and anticipatory. political. But these closures occurred only in 1945 and 1946. The latter was an unthinkable subversion of sovereignty. Thus the Germans. were defying the fundamental principle of Argentine nationality. Dr. and assorted imbroglios involving Nazi agents-on-mission. of course. enjoyed the right to form national associations.The Patagonia Plot holdings of its nationals.

that of the privileged merchant enclaves .which set no limitto ambition. The leadersof GermanArgentina in the 1930s and 1940s were upholding an archaicideal or a mythicized past.RonaldC.Newton Fatherland.the 'colonies'. That the world was changing they sensed but would not acknowledge.whose heyday had ended in 1914. SimonFraser University 114 . But perhaps that is askingtoo much.nor any boundary to fantasy.They thus fell victimto the seductionsof revolutionaryNational Socialism.the debacles of the war'send might have been avoided. No inexorablelogic determined the outcome.

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