Monthly Archives: March 2014

When the Bund marched in Manhattan

Here’s a photograph that’s mentioned in Chapter 6 of Fire Answers Fire, a novel which will be available at all major ebook outlets on May 1 (but can currently be pre-ordered at Barnes & NobleSmashwords, and at the iTunes store.).
According to the Library of Congress record, this photo was taken on October 30, 1939 (not ’38) and originally appeared in the New York World-Telegram.

Ephemeral New York

In October 1938, the Nazis came to the U.S. in the form of a parade on 86th Street, held by an organization called the German American Bund. Headquartered in the then–heavily German neighborhood of Yorkville, the Bund was run by Americans of German descent who thought that Hitler was onto something as he ravaged Europe and planned to take over the world.

About 800 marchers carrying American and Nazi flags got started on East End Avenue, heading toward Lexington. Watching them were 1,300 policemen, there to keep order in case fights broke out. Only a few scuffles did.

bundmarchon86thstreet

The marchers weren’t totally welcome; they were greeted with a mix of heils and boos. Mayor La Guardia condemned the parade and accused organizers of inciting racial hatred. 

The Bund continued to gather steam, organizing an anti-American rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939 that attracted 20,000 people. But when Pearl Harbor was…

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Nazis in the Garden in 1939

Here’s video of another key event in Fire Answers Fire, the “Free America” German-American Bund rally attended by over 20,000 in Madison Square Garden on Washington’s Birthday in 1939. The rally plays a key role in Chapter 3, “Your True Motives.” This one-minute video also gives you a clear glimpse of Fritz Kuhn, who exists as a key fictional character in later chapters. The man who approaches Kuhn on the stage before being tackled and beaten by both the Nazi brownshirts and NYPD officers was Isidore Greenbaum, a 26-year-old hotel worker. The main organized group protesting outside Madison Square Garden was the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, but it’s only coincidental that chapter 3 begins with a quote from Trotsky himself.

“A means can be justified only by its end. But the end in its turn needs to be justified.”             –Leon Trotsky, “Their Morals and Ours” (1938)

If you can stand reading any of the speeches delivered by Fritz Kuhn and his fellow Nazis from the stage at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 1939, they’re all available here in this pdf file. Fire Answers Fire will be available everywhere on May 1 and can currently be pre-ordered at Barnes & NobleSmashwords, and at the iTunes store.

The New Cover for Fire Answers Fire

There is still over a month until Fire Answers Fire publishes at all major ebook retailers on May 1st, but here is the current cover design. It can be pre-ordered now at Barnes & NobleSmashwords, and at the iTunes store. You can add it to your “Want to Read” list at Goodreads.

Fire Answers Fire - Cover 2

This cover of a cover is based on the soiled stamped case of my own copy of the 1934  William Morrow and Company edition of Ernst Toller’s autobiography, I Was A German. If Fire Answers Fire does nothing more than lead a few readers back to Ernst Toller’s works and life story, I will consider my novel a complete success.

Ernst Toller . I Was A German

Let me know in the comments if you prefer the cover posted on March 19, or if you find this update more to your liking.