App, Austin J.

Austin App, a German-American scholar, was a major revisionist author and publicist. 

Austin Joseph App was born on May 24, 1902, in Wisconsin. His father had immigrated to the United States from Wuerttemberg, and his mother had come from Bavaria. Until he began attending first grade at his home town’s bi-lingual Catholic elementary school, he spoke German at home. He spent most of his youth on the family farm near Milwaukee. As a boy he was a voracious reader.

After attending local public and parochial schools, he entered St. Francis seminary near Milwaukee, where he received a liberal classical education.  For a time he studied for the priesthood, but decided that he did not have a clerical vocation.

After obtaining a B.A. degree in 1923, he went on to graduate studies at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he earned Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in English literature. His 1929 doctoral dissertation, Lancelot in English Literature: His Role and Character, was published to critical acclaim.

From 1933 through 1968 he was an instructor or professor of English at various American institutions of higher education. At the University of Scranton in 1939 he was awarded the school’s Faculty Gold Medal as an “outstanding educator of men.” In 1948 he accepted a professorship at La Salle College in Philadelphia, where he remained until his retirement in 1968.

During World War II he served briefly in the US Army.

He was first politically active in 1917, when, together with school colleagues, he collected signatures on petitions against US entry in World War I. He similarly opposed US entry in World War II.

In the aftermath of World War II, he began a “second career” as a prolific publicist, bringing to public attention suppressed facts about the brutal oppression, dispossession and expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans from their ancient homelands in central and eastern Europe. His first writing in this spirit, a ten-page pamphlet entitled Ravishing the Woman of Conquered Europe, which was quickly followed by The Big Three Deportation Crime, and Slave-Laboring German Prisoners of War. These tracts proved immediately popular. Before long, tens of tens of thousands of copies were in print in English, with editions in four other languages.

Predictably App was viciously smeared by the Zionist Anti-Defamation League and media figures such as Walter Winchell and Drew Pearson. 

Throughout his life, he was a devout Roman Catholic and fervently anti-Communist.

He served as national chairman of the Federation of Americans of German Descent, 1960-1966, and thereafter was its permanent national honorary chairman.

App was the author of more than a thousand articles, columns and book reviews, which appeared in a wide range of American and European periodicals, as well as of eight books, including History’s most Terrifying Peace; Courtesy, Courtship and Marriage; The True Concept of Literature;  Making Good Talk: How to Improve Your Conversation; Ways to Creative Writing; The Sudeten-German Tragedy; and an autobiography, subtitled German-American Voice for Truth and Justice.

A collection of his essays and pamphlets from 1946 to 1978 was published in 1987 by the Institute for Historical Review under the title No Time for Silence.

In Germany he addressed large rallies of German expellees, and meetings of the German Peoples Union (DVU). In 1975 he was honored with the European Freedom Prize of the DVU and its weekly paper, the National-Zeitung.

He addressed the first IHR Conference in 1979, and the text of his presentation was published in the first issue of the Institute’s Journal of Historical Review.

Austin App was a man of rare courage, principle and decency.

He never married. “The worst thing about trying to be a writer,” he once wrote, “is that one is always harried for time. It presses one to sacrifice everything, however pleasurable, which can no longer enrich one’s knowledge or experience… Though I could well wish to be married, I have never been able to adjust myself gracefully to the time-killing exigencies of courtship long enough to make it adequately reciprocal!”

He died on May 4, 1984. After his death, 73 boxes of his personal papers, business records and library items were archived with the American Heritage Institute at the University of Wyoming (Laramie).

A tribute to Dr. App appeared in the Winter 1984 issue of the IHR Journal.

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