Auhagen, Friedrich Ernst
Dr. Friedrich Ernst Auhagen emigrated to the United States in 1923, received a doctorate in philosophy, taught at Columbia University until 1935, and although he applied for citizenship in 1929, he never completed the process. In March of 1939 he helped organize the American Fellowship Forum as an educational vehicle among German Americans to promote “national recovery.” Branches were established in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Springfield (MA), Cleveland, Chicago, and La Salle (IL). However, the A.F.F. actually supported fascism and the rise of German National Socialism. Other leaders included George Sylvester Viereck, German propagandist since World War I, and Lawrence Dennis, publisher of The Weekly Foreign Letter which analyzed foreign political trends from a fascist perspective. Dr. Auhagen wrote regularly for the A.F.F.’s two serials, Today’s Challenge and The Forum Observer which were published between 1939 and 1940. The American Fellowship Forum disbanded in May of 1940.
In September 1940 Dr. Auhagen was arrested and called to testify before the Dies Commission in October regarding possible subversive Nazi activities. He was released, but kept under Justice Department surveillance until March 1941 when a federal grand jury issued an indictment against him for failing to register as a German agent. Circumstantial evidence against him maintained that he had received payment for spreading propaganda to influence attitudes and policies in the U.S. He was convicted on July 11, 1941, on three counts of failing to register as an agent of the German government and distributing propaganda. He was fined $1000 and sentenced to two years in prison. However, after the formal declaration of war with Germany in December 1941, Auhagen was listed as a “dangerous enemy alien,” not allowed an appeal, and held in custody until April 1947 when he was returned to Germany and there arrested for war crimes as a Nazi agent. He was tried in Nuremberg in August 1947, and released after a review of all charges and records showed no connection with the Nazi regime. However, he was not allowed to return to the U.S. and in 1952 he petitioned for a new trial.