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Hubert Albertz Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCA-0037-B
The Hubert Albertz Papers (1902-1985) document Albertz’s activity as a union member who spent his life fighting corruption within the Building Services Employees Union (BSEIU). The collection consists of a binder with bibliographic and biographical content on Hubert Albertz put together by his son George, copies of articles about Hubert’s plight, a timeline of organized crime in NYC in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, books on labor racketeers and government corruption, FBI files on George Scalise (the president of BSEIU), and a hearing report from the BSEIU Headquarters in Washington, DC. Also included is original correspondence from Andrew J. Maloney, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, and George Albertz.

Dates

  • 1938-2011

Creator

Access

Collection is open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition.

Copyright

The Hubert Albertz collection is physically owned by the Queens College Libraries. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assignees. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Queens College assumes no responsibility for the infringement of copyrights held by the original authors, creators, or producers of materials.

Extent

4.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Abstract

The Hubert Albertz collection contains documentation of political activism of Hubert Albertz, a New York City custodian and member of the Building Service Employees International Union (BSEIU) Local 32E. Albertz was fired from his job and expelled from his Local in the Bronx for protesting dues increases at a union meeting. He spent over 30 years documenting and exposing corruption in the BSEIU.

Biographical Note

Hubert Albertz was born on July 2, 1902, in Antwerp, Belgium. During World War I, Albertz was separated from his family and was forced into labor by the Germans. He worked on German railroad yards connected to coal mines. After the war, France imposed a harsh occupation on the Rhineland and Germany, resulting in chaos and famine. Albertz experienced the effects of post-war occupation, witnessing fights in the streets between Fascists and Marxists, each trying to gain control of Germany after the 1917 Marxist revolution in Russia. Forced into poverty by extreme inflation that devalued the German currency, Albertz and his friends broke into railroad cars to steal coal for heating and bakery shops for bread.

Albertz worked in railroad yards until the end of World War I in 1918. Poor, he stayed in Germany for a while, but eventually immigrated to the United States. His father and older brothers, who had already emigrated from Germany to New York City, managed to find Hubert and invite him over.

When he finally arrived in New York City in 1926, he learned that his father had passed away. In 1927, Albertz married his German-born wife Krescenz. They had a son, George, and a daughter, Elizabeth. In 1936, Hubert Albertz became a U.S. citizen. Despite the economic turmoil of New York City in the 1930s, Albertz was continually employed. He took a job as a superintendent in Brooklyn, and his wife also worked tirelessly under poor conditions to keep a roof over their heads.

Due to these experiences and hardships, Albertz hated to see ordinary men cheated. His strong principles precluded him from engaging in illegal activity when he became a union official in Building Services Employees Union (BSEIU) Local 32K in Brooklyn. Joining the union resulted in losing his job, since his employer refused to work with unions. Albertz then moved to the Bronx, where he found another job as a superintendent and joined the BSEIU Local 32-E.

In 1947 Albertz fell out of favor with the bosses of AFL-CIO Services Employees’ Union Local 32-E when he inquired about his dues and union treasury funds distribution following an arbitrary dues increase. Fired from his job as a building supervisor and expelled from the union, Albertz moved again to seek new employment. Despite his relocation, he continued to endure harassment and attacks, presumably orchestrated by Thomas Lewis, head of Local 32-E.

From about 1948 to 1963, he was an active part of the New York City chapter of the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, which helped him fight to clean up the Local 32E. For the last 25 years of his life, he was the superintendent of an apartment building in Jackson Heights, Queens. The National Right to Work Committee awarded Albertz its highest honor, the John Seeley Memorial Award. Albertz was a lifelong labor activist and dedicated his life to exposing organized crime within unions.

Arrangement Note

The collection is comprised of five series:

Series I: Publications from George Albertz’s personal library

Series II: Media (Microfilm Records)

Series III: Binder

Series IV: Printed Materials

Series V: Correspondence

Series VI: George Albertz’s Freedom Summer Papers (1964)

Source

Donated by his children George and Elizabeth in 2003.

Creator

Source

Title
Hubert Albertz Papers
Status
completed
Author
Evelyn Leahy
Date
February 2012
Description rules
dacs

Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Department of Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
Queens College Libraries, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us