Camden Courier-Post – February 21, 1938
16-Pound Shrapnel Shell Hurls Neighbors From Beds, Breaks Windows
The explosion of a 16-pound shrapnel shell at 3.27 a.m., yesterday, in the Leidertafel Saengerbund, drill hall and beer cellar of Nazi “storm troops,” 3647 North Sixth street, Philadelphia, hurled sleeping occupants from their beds.
Large pieces of shrapnel wrecked the interior of the building and the blast and flying metal shattered at least 50 windows in the vicinity of the hall. Two children were stricken with convulsions by the shock of the blast which was felt for many squares.
In a few minutes a number of excited neighbors fled into the streets as firemen and police raced to the scene.
The bomb had been planted in a hallway on the second floor of the building where a large German shepherd dog usually sleeps. Last night Mrs. Augusta Keltaerback, steward of the building, placed the dog in the basement. The Keltaerbacks live on the third floor of the building. They were hurled from their beds by the force of the explosion.
Keltaerback said he reached for the electric light switch but the power was off. Shrapnel had severed wires in the building. Mrs. Keltaerbach ran to a telephone downstairs and summoned the fire department.
5-inch Door Pierced
One piece of shrapnel pierced a door five-inches thick. Another crashed through a wall and penetrated a second wall. Others tore an 18-inch hole in the front of the building and demolished several windows. One was smashed at the home of John S. Weissman, across the street, at 3648 North Sixth street. Weissman, a foreman for Supplee-Wills-Jones Milk Company, was just leaving for his employment. His married daughter and her husband, Grace and D. Paul Ezrah, were tossed out of bed.
The home of Mrs. Minnie Colebaugh, 43, of 3650 North Sixth street, was struck by fragments of shell and six windows broken. A piece whizzed through a window and was embedded in the wall over the head of a sleeping boarder, Edward Kurzenberger, a stenographer.
Miss Marjorie Colebaugh, a daughter, had just returned from a party and was reading when a piece of steel crashed through a window her her. Police found several pieces of shrapnel in the Colebaugh home. Mrs. Colebaugh’s son, Paul, was thrown out of bed.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. George Aines, 4945, next door to the hall, was rocked by the explosion. Their two children, George, Jr., 4, and Louis, 3, were shocked into convulsions and were unconscious several hours while physicians worked over them.
Mrs. Aines said her first thought was that lightning had struck their home.
Thought Lightning Hit
Bricks were chipped in front of the home of Dr. Savario Brunetti, a police surgeon. Windows were broken in his home. He summoned police immediately after the blast. His wife and two children were hurled out of bed.
“I ran out of the house,” Dr. Brunetti said, “and 50 men, women and children had fled into the street in scant night attire. They were certainly scared.”
Dr. Brunetti aided the police in searching neighbors’ houses. They found pieces of shrapnel and gun-cotton.
The Leidertafel Saengerbund is a German singing society, which owns the hall and rents it out for weekly meetings of the Nazi “troops.” Herman Radke, 708 West Rising Sun avenue, Philadelphia, president of the singing society, said he had no idea why anybody would want to plant a bomb in the building as his society is not connected with the Nazi group and to his knowledge has no enemies.
The hall has been the scene of several disturbances during Nazi meetings, police said.