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The NSDAP/AO was the foreign organization branch of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). AO is the abbreviation of the German compound word Auslands-Organisation (English: Foreign Organization). Although it would be correctly written in one word, the Nazis chose an obsolete spelling with a hyphen.
The party members who lived outside the German Reich were pooled in this special NSDAP department. On May 1, 1931 the new organizational unit was founded on the initiative of Reich Organization Leader (German: Reichsorganisationsleiter) Gregor Strasser and its management was assigned to Hans Nieland. But Nieland resigned from office on May 8, 1933, because he had become head of the Hamburg police authority, and later, a member of the Hamburg provincial government, whereupon Ernst Wilhelm Bohle was appointed director of the "AO", which served as the 43rd and only non-territorial Gau of the NSDAP. Only actual citizens of the German Reich – (German: Reichsdeutsche) – with a German passport could become members of the AO. Persons of German descent, ethnic Germans (German: Volksdeutsche), who possessed the nationality of the country in which they lived, were refused entry to the National Socialist Party.
In 1928, in Paraguay and in Brazil, party members abroad joined forces for the first time. Similar associations came into being in Switzerland and in the United States in 1930. These groups were officially accepted by the NSDAP only after the founding of the Auslands-Organisation. On August 7, 1931 Local Group Buenos Aires was accepted. Shortly thereafter followed National Committee Paraguay (August 20, 1931) and Local Group Rio de Janeiro (October 5, 1931). From 1932 until its prohibition in 1934 there existed a national committee in the Union of South Africa, which enjoyed great popularity (see German Namibians) and maintained numerous offices in the former German South-West Africa (today Namibia). NSDAP Local Groups (German: Ortsgruppen) included at least 25 party comrades (German: Parteigenossen), while the so-called Stützpunkte (English: bases, literally "support points") had five members or more. Furthermore, large Local Groups could be partitioned into Blocs (German: Blöcke).
Ideological training and congruity of all party comrades with the interests of the German nation were the principal tasks of the NSDAP/AO. It was assigned the mandate of uniting all NSDAP party members (and members of NSDAP-affiliated organizations) living abroad in a loosely affiliated group and to educate them in the philosophy, ideology and political programs of the NSDAP for the betterment of Germany. The AO was not a Fifth Column organization and had ten basic principles to be followed that included:
- "Obey the laws of the country in which you are a guest.
- "Let the citizens take care of the internal policy of the country where you are a guest; do not mix in these matters, even by way of conversation.
- "Identify yourself to all, on all occasions, as an NSDAP party member.
- "Always speak and act on behalf of the NSDAP movement, thus doing honor to the new Germany. Be honest, honorable, fearless and loyal.
- "Look out for all your fellow Germans, men of your blood, style and being. Give them a hand, irrespective of their class. We are all creators of our people."
These and the other principles were intended to create a feeling of amiability towards Germans and Germany in general and hopefully convince as many foreigners as possible that the NSDAP was the right choice for Germany, and as result, the rest of the world.
In the Dominican Republic
By the early 1940s, the NSDAP/AO had perhaps around 50 active members in the Dominican Republic, a relatively large number considering that the German-born population in the country stood at around 150 with an additional 300 persons of German descent. NSDAP had organized groups in five Dominican cities: Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Montecristi, Cibao Valley and San Pedro de Macorís.
NSDAP/AO had a Landesgruppe Schweden. During the first years of World War II it was led by W. Stengel, but the leadership was later taken over by the German diplomat Heinz Gossmann. There were several Ortsgruppen in different parts of Sweden, such as Gothenburg, Borås, etc.
- Leonard, Thomas M., and John F. Bratzel. Latin America During World War II. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. p. 85
- Kjellberg, Georg K:son (1946). Den tyska propagandan i Sverige under krigsåren 1939-1945 [The German propaganda in Sweden during the war years 1939-1945]. Statens offentliga utredningar, 0375-250X ; 1946:86 (in Swedish). Stockholm. p. 10.
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- Lachmann, Günter: Der Nationalsozialismus in der Schweiz 1931 - 1945 : ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Auslandsorganisation der NSDAP. - Berlin-Dahlem : Ernst-Reuter-Gesellschaft, 1962. - 107 p. - (Originally presented as the author's thesis (doctoral) - F.U. Berlin, Dec. 18, 1962)
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- National Socialism. Basic principles, their application by the Nazi Party's foreign organization, and the use of Germans abroad for Nazi aims / Prepared in the Special Unit of the Division of European Affairs by Raymond E. Murphy, Francis B. Stevens, Howard Trivers, Joseph M. Roland. - Washington : United States of America, Department of State, 1943. - pp. vi. 510.
- Nuremberg Trial Proceedings, 90th day, Monday, 25 March 1946, testimony of Ernst Wilhelm Bohle (search for "bohle")
- 6. Reichstagung der Auslandsdeutschen in Stuttgart vom 28. August bis 4. September (1938) Film of the 6th Congress of the NSDAP/AO in Stuttgart, 1938