In Photos: The German American Bund

In the years before the outbreak of World War II, people of German ancestry living abroad were encouraged to form citizens groups to both extol “German virtues,” around the world, and to lobby for causes helpful to Nazi Party goals.

In the United States, the Amerikadeutscher Volksbund, or German American Bund, was formed in 1936 as “an organization of patriotic Americans of German stock,” operating about 20 youth and training camps, and eventually growing to a membership in the tens of thousands among 70 regional divisions across the country.

On February 20, 1939, the Bund held an “Americanization” rally in New York’s Madison Square Garden, denouncing Jewish conspiracies, President Roosevelt, and others. The rally, attended by 20,000 supporters and members, was protested by huge crowds of anti-Nazis, who were held back by 1,500 NYC police officers.

As World War II began in 1939, the German American Bund fell apart, many of its assets were seized, and its leader arrested for embezzlement, and later deported to Germany.

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Nearly 1,000 uniformed men wearing swastika arm bands and carrying Nazi banners parade past a reviewing stand in New Jersey on July 18, 1937. The New Jersey division of the German-American Bund opened its 100-acre Camp Nordland at Sussex Hills. Dr. Salvatore Caridi of Union City, spokesman for a group of Italian-American Fascists attending as guests, addressed the bund members as “Nazi Friends.”

AP

German American Bund Camp youth salute Hindenburg in Griggstown, New Jersey.

Bettmann Archive / Getty

Members of the German-American Bund form a guard of honor before the speaker’s stand as Fritz Kuhn, leader of the Bund, addresses a crowd at Hindenberg Park, La Crescenta, near Los Angeles, California, on April 30, 1939. This caption originally stated the park was in Sunland. We regret the error.

AP

American Nazi Bund Rally near Yaphank, New York, in 1937.

Bettmann Archive / Getty

This “Adolf Hitler Strasse” is a street running through “Camp Siegfried,” a summer camp of the German American Bund in Yaphank, Long Island, New York.

Bettmann Archive / Getty

Youths at a German-American Bund camp stand at attention as the American flag and the German-American Youth Movement flag, right, are lowered in a ceremony at sundown in Andover, New Jersey, on July 21, 1937.

AP

Nazi “Bund” camp anniversary celebration, 1938.

Bettmann Archive / Getty

Hundreds of German Americans give the Nazi salute to young men marching in Nazi uniforms. The event was a German Day celebration sponsored by German American Bund at Camp Sigfried on Long Island.

Bettmann Archive / Getty

Fritz Kuhn, center facing forward, is congratulated by fellow officers of the German-American Bund in New York on September 4, 1938. Kuhn was unanimously re-elected on September 3 as National leader of the Bund, a pro-Nazi organization holding its sixth annual convention.

AP

German American Bund parade in New York City on East 86th St. on October 30, 1939.

Library of Congress

A crowd of approximately 20,000 attends a German American Bund Rally at New York’s Madison Square Garden on February 20, 1939. At center is a large portrait of George Washington, claimed as an icon by the Bund, who called him “the first Fascist”, claiming Washington “knew democracy could not work.”

Bettmann Archive / Getty

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. MILDRED M MCDONOUGH says

    Wow!! I have visited friends near Albany NY and enjoyed the German culture and restaurants but never knew that just before WWII that Nazi culture was so celebrated in NY.

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