JANE ANDERSON: NAZI GEORGIA PEACH, PART 3


Published in The Athens Observer, p. 4A (June 1, 1995).  There is a bibliography at the end of the article.

Author: Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law.

As Jeffrey Meyers' biography of Conrad notes, Jane Anderson's broadcasts for German radio were remarkable, not only because they defended Nazi atrocities and the Nazi cause, but also because of Anderson's "astonishing vocabulary, her long, complex sentences, and the crescendo of her diatribes."  She also used "mixed metaphors and hyperbolic logic."  Jane's soft Southern accent had vanished. An FBI agent who was monitoring the broadcasts wrote: "As [Anderson] reaches the climax of her presentations she gradually works herself into a white heat, her words now tumbling over one another like logs shooting over a waterfall." Here are two samples of what has been called Jane's "overheated prose":

"Roosevelt has pulled a brass band out of his hip pocket, and a concentration camp from under the coattails of the brain trust ..."

"Roosevelt consolidated with Churchill in the simultaneous declaration of war upon Japan ... so the American people have gone to war to save Stalin and the international banker which are one and the same ..."

Jane's most famous broadcast was on Nov. 21, 1941 when the topic of discussion was the horrors of democracy, and her guest was William Joyce, better known as Lord Haw Haw, an Englishman turned traitor who broadcast Nazi propaganda to England from Germany.  Not surprisingly, as early as January 1942 the American press (including Time magazine and The Atlanta Journal newspaper) had begun referring to Jane as Lady Haw Haw. (After Germany's surrender, Joyce was returned to England, convicted of treason, and hanged.)

In July 1943 Jane Anderson was, for having broadcast from Berlin, indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of treason.  In the ancient, majestic language of the law the indictment charged the Atlanta native with "knowingly, intentionally, feloniously, traitorously, and treasonably adher[ing] to the enemies of the United States [and] giving to the said enemies aid and comfort."

A warrant for Anderson's arrest issued. When Nazi Germany surrendered in May 1945, American authorities tried to locate and capture Anderson, who with her husband eluded pursuers and hid out in various places in Germany and Austria.  Finally, on April 2, 1947, Jane Anderson was arrested in Austria and delivered over to American military custody. In October 1947, however, the treason indictment was dismissed by a federal court under mysterious circumstances, and Jane was released.

Jane then went to live with her husband under the friendly skies of Franco's Spain. In 1951 she was assumed by a friend to be living then in Spain. Jeffrey Meyers' Conrad biography tells us that someone who knew Jane had "a vague recollection of someone writing to him in the 1950's and saying that Jane was in a boarding house somewhere in Europe." To this day nothing else is known about Jane Anderson after 1947.  Despite diligent investigations by historians it still has not been determined when or where Jane Anderson died.

Somewhere, presumably in Spain, lie the ashes of an Atlanta-born woman who drank the cup of life to the full but nonetheless suffered a tragic fate.  Born a Georgia peach, she died the Nazi Georgia Peach.


BIBLIOGRAPHY


Books


Horst J.P. Bergmeier & Ranier E. Lotz, Hitler’s Airwaves: The Inside Story of Nazi Radio Broadcasting and Propaganda Swing (1997)
John Carver Edwards, Berlin Calling: American Broadcasters in Service to the Third Reich (1991)
Jeffrey Meyers, Joseph Conrad: A Biography, ch. 16 (1991)
Nathaniel Weyl, Treason: The Story of Disloyalty and Betrayal in American History, ch. 20 (1950)

Articles


John C. Edwards, Atlanta’s Prodigal Daughter: The Turbulent Life of Jane Anderson as Expatriate and Nazi Propagandist, 28 Atlanta Historical Journal 23 (Summer 1984)
John Halverson & Ian Watt, Notes on Jane Anderson, 1955-1990, 23 Conradiana 59 (1991)
William L. Shirer, The American Radio Traitors, 187 Harper’s Magazine 397 (Oct. 1943)