In class, while we were talking about the Charlie Caplian movie, something was said in passing that struck a chord. Whenever anyone talks about the Nazis, a sigular picture comes to mind: a person in a German uniform raising a hand to der Fueher. But what should not be forgotten is that Germany wasn’t the only country to jump on the bandwagon. The Bundesführer Fritz Kuhn, leader of the American Bund, claimed that there were up to 200,000 members in America, while the FBI estimated there was significantly less; in the area of 6 to 7 thousand (“6 Things”). In the same vein of Nazi Germany’s welfare projects, the American Nazis crated summer camps, where there were the typical summer camp fair. But, as could be expected, these camps weren’t just for archery and arts and crafts, but for indoctrination into the Nazi mindset, similar to the Hitler Youth (Weeks).
While (depending on who you asked) the American Nazi Bund was doing well, there were people who opposed it, one expected and one unexpected: the Jewish underworld and the Mafia(“6 Things”). The Jewish underworld leaders turned down the help from the Mafia, but did not stop protesting their meetings (“6 Things”). The American Bund did not last much longer than 1939, when Kuhn “…went to prison after being convicted on embezzlement charges for using Bund funds to finance his numerous romantic dalliances”(“6 Things”). After that, the parents pulled thier kids away from the camps, and a year later the government caught on to what was happening in the camps and started to raid what was left (Weeks).
“6 Things You May Not Have Known About Nazis in America – The History Reader.” The History Reader. Arnie Bernstein, 07 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.
Weeks, Linton. “Nazi Summer Camps In 1930s America?” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.
Video Source: “Volks-Deutsche/Jungen in USA.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.