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Author: Mark D. Van Ells

How Milwaukee’s German-Americans faced down fascism eighty years ago

As leader of the Wisconsin Federation of German American Societies, Bernhard Hoffman opposed the Bund. © Library of Congress During the Depression-ravaged days of the 1930s, Wisconsin’s German-Americans faced a vicious campaign of harassment. One Milwaukee businessman received an anonymous postcard with a picture of an exploding cannon on the front, and on the reverse was written: “When you ask for ads again look this over carefully.” A woman got a letter warning her to be careful about her public utterances or her relatives back in Europe “would have to suffer” for them. These threats came not from outside...

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