Nazi Rally Held at Lehmann Hall on North Howard Street (1935)

Lehmann Hall
Lehmann Hall

This may come as a great shock to you, but before the worst of World War II, a number of locals in Baltimore were supporters of Germany’s Nazi party. It’s almost unfathomable, but Baltimore did have a sizable German community as well as a German movie theater at Lehmann Hall (852 North Howard St.), which also had a bowling alley, dance floor, and rathskeller.

Nazi salute
Nazi salute

This is hard to believe and immensely disturbing, but here is an article that we came across in The Baltimore Sun printed on May 19th, 1935.

Shouts of “Heil Hitler” and “Heil Roosevelt”–the “Heil Roosevelt” came first–shook the rafters of Lehmann Hall last night as the Baltimore chapter of the Friends of New Germany met to dedicate their flags.

The turnout of about 250 persons, however, was not enough to suit Bezirksleiter (District Leader) Josef Schuster, of New York, principal speaker of the occasion.

In staccato German accompanied by his most fiery gestures, he deplored the lack of a large audience and urged each member of his audience obtain at least thirty new members of the chapter.

Five swastikas, emblem of Hitler Germany, were among the flags dedicated, the first time the new Baltimore branch has had the official right to fly the banners of their parent organization.

There were five American flags as well to denote the fact that the Friends of New Germany consider themselves Americans before anything else.

There were five of the imperial banners of old Germany. Without these flying beside the swastika, the Hitler emblem is not recognized as the flag of new Germany.

“Deutschland uber Allies” [sic] was sung, and according to the new law of the Hitler regime, the “Horst Wessel” song–only the first verse–followed it. In Germany, “Deutschland uber Alles” cannot be sung without the “Horst Wesselied.”

It was Paul Anders, leader of the Baltimore group, who called for the “Heil Roosevelt,” after the entire program had started with the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” After the response he called for the “Heil Hitler.”

Herr Schuster, in his address made a plea for unity of purpose and ideas in the new German nation. He emphasized the fact that German-Americans should stand behind the Government in their homeland and work always for closer cooperation between it and their foster country.

Spokesmen for the Friends of New Germany said their organization, while it stood behind the Hitler regime, did not necessarily indorse all its various policies. They claimed their intent is to show their loyalty to their fatherland and not to any particular political leader who happens to control it.

Nazi rally at Lehmann Hall (1935)
Nazi rally at Lehmann Hall (1935)

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