The Nazi Summer Camps ... In America
Library of Congress
With such a huge percentage of its population claiming German ancestry, it's hardly surprising that there were a number of Nazi sympathizers living in America in the 1930s. And like most people, they liked to camp.
And frolic and picnic and denigrate lesser races.
Although privately organized and not officially sanctioned by the Nazis, activities at these camps looked an awful lot like the kind of things going on in the Hitler Youth. Campers would engage in quasi-military drills, such as marching, raising banners, and rifle practice.
New York City Department of Records
And apparently landscaping.
It should be noted that this was by no means an anti-American thing. Along with referring to themselves as the German American Bund ("alliance"), organizers of these camps proudly flew the American flag alongside or even above the Nazi flag. Not that this entirely placated the authorities. Many of the pictures in this article were reportedly taken by the NYPD, who were at least somewhat concerned by the presence of Nazi summer camps on Long Island.
If there's any good news, it's that once the war began, German-born Bund leader Fritz Julius Kuhn went to prison for tax evasion and embezzlement, and all the camps were shut down. And America never made a mistake like this again.
Thank goodness we learned from history!
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