Fabian Frisz
The accused - Fabian Frisz

Waveland, IN Waveland, IN
Home of "The Shades"

Frisz Accused of Being a German Spy

1942 Waveland Independent "Extras"

Waveland Independent
Waveland, Montgomery County, Indiana
Thursday, Jan 8, 1942

One of the bad things about a state of war is the facility with which rumors start and spread. Waveland, with its almost complete lack of foreign born or connected people would look like that last place to look for a Nazi spy, and of all places, one where the public comes and goes at will, The Shades Park. But somebody dreamed that a short wave sending set had been found in the gravel pit at the Shades that the Manager, Fabian Frisz, had been arrested and confined in the jail at Rockville. Some tavern patriots in Crawfordsville wanted to come down to the Shades and burn the hotel.

So far from being under arrest, however, Mr. Frisz and his family were visiting in Chicago. As soon as he had word he came home immediately to find himself the most talked of person in the county. Just why rumor should have picked on him is hard to say, but a vigorous effort is being made to track it down. Fabian, himself, in spite of his German name, is a Hoosier born in Terre Haute. His father, JW Frisz, was also Hoosier born, but grew up in Ky. at Bowling Green. The great grandparents, although German born, came to the US in 1840 and are buried at Mt. Vernon, Indiana.

Naturally Fabian is worried at the notoriety, but none of his friends credited the report. The Journal-Review of Tuesday says: "Local authorities branded as utterly idiotic a widely circulated "spy" story which has provided a field day for tongue wagers in recent days, as they pursued an inquiry as to the identity of the person or persons who started a falsely vicious rumor about a prominent county business man. Stories of the "arrest" of the "spy suspect" in "question by the FBI and his incarceration in various jails had been current here for several days stories involving sinister short wave radio apparatus, code signals and all of the popular trappings of the best espionage yarns. The person victimized by the rumor peddlers, was Fabian Frisz, manager of The Shades, and member of one of the county's old families."

Mr. Frisz, visiting in Chicago, over the weekend, finally found it necessary to return here and to enlist aid of state police and County Sheriff Roth Monday in tracing the source of the vicious rumors. Just what the exact basis for the story linking Mr. Frisz with "subversive acts" had not been established, his legal counsel and officers of the law investigating said.

This type of stories is an example of the excitable, unreasoning state of mind into which thoughtless people lapse in war times; a state of mind which breeds vicious rumor and harms innocent people, a state police spokesman said Monday. "As a result people of high character and good reputations like Mr. Frisz are caused needless embarrassment. Patriotism is not served by such gossip or by those who spread it."

A note from Tom:

There are a few inaccuracies in this story. My family actually came from Northeastern France and the village of Seingbouse in 1846. However, they lived so close to Germany that they very well may have considered themselves German and spoke that language.

Since I spend so much of my time playing with "sinister shortwave transmitting apparatus," I find this article quite humerous. I don't know if Fabian Frisz actually was involved with radios of any sort, but I'm quite sure he wasn't a spy :-)

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