Saturday, February 23, 2008

Officers Pay visit

This story appeared in The Ypsilanti Record of Thursday, February 14, 1918.

Suspected of being in some way or other interested in the German government, Albert Hettich, residing at 430 North Hamilton street on Saturday was compelled to submit to a search of his home by representatives of the sheriff’s office, who called armed with a search warrant. The visit has aroused the indignation of Hettich and he declares the questioning of his loyalty to American an outrage.

Arthur D. Moore, of Ann Arbor, special deputy sheriff connected with the American Council of National Defense, came to Ypsilanti Saturday and appealed to Justice Stadtmiller for a search of Hettich’s home. The warrant was issued, authorizing a search for “books, papers or pamphlets” that might be derogatory to his loyalty to American.

Not until Wednesday morning was a return made on the warrant by Deputy Moore. In this return it was stated that a letter written by Mr. Hettich was found “displaying the typical Germanic hatred for the British policies.”

Mr. Hettich, and his wife who is now in Chicago, came to Ypsilanti several years ago, but what brought them here has never been clear in the mind of many. Mr. Hettich never seemed to have any definite occupation, while his wife’s sole activity seemed to be in connection with a semi-public restroom. Mrs. Hettich is said to be descended form near royalty in Hungary, and Mr. Hettich is said to have served in the German army as an officer, reaching the rank of captian before he retired.

Mrs. Hettich has many times explained their German relations, and has frequently emphasized her loyalty to the United States, but she oftentimes told of being the owner of a house in Berlin which was at one time the home of Count Zeppelin, of dirigible fame. This, it was claimed, was not the only property she possessed in Germany. She also owns property in Chicago, it is said.

Although believed to be a native born German, and still to be a subject of the fatherland. Mr. Hettich had not up to Wednesday noon, shown any disposition to appear before Chief of Police Cain and register with other German alien enemies, as required by the federal law. Four days were allowed last week and the first three days this week, in which registration could be made.

Failure to register, in case he is a native of Germany and has never completed his citizenship papers in the United States, will subject Mr. Hettich to arrest and internment for the period of the war.

Mr. Hettich is reported to have been very indignant at the search, and is said to have remarked before Deputy Moore’s return on the warrant was made, that the search was “without avail.” He is quoted as saying: “Nothing was found because there is nothing in my house that could not rightfully be in any American home.”

Speculation is rife as to the means of support of Mr. and Mrs. Hettich, since by the statement of Mrs. Hettich, all income from their foreign property was cut off when the war broke out.

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