Tag Archives: 1937

The Bund back on page 1 of the Times this morning (and may have never left Suffolk County)

When I was researching Fritz Kuhn and the German-American Bund for Fire Answers Fire, I spent a lot of time getting lost in back issues of The New York Times from the 1930s, where the Bund and its camps and marchs and meetings would often be mentioned on the front page, but I  did not expect to see them making a reappearance on page A1 in late 2015.

The article this morning entitled “In Long Island Hamlet, Home Buyers’ Rule Is a Relic of Its Nazi Past” is about a community in Yaphank on eastern Long Island — on the grounds of the old Camp Siegfried — where owners of homes do not own their lots and “The original owners of this tract of land kept a clause in its bylaws requiring the homeowners to be primarily ‘of German extraction.’ That has kept this community of 45 families almost entirely white.” In October of 2015.

While it does not appear that there are parades with brownshirts and swastikas or street signs with “Adolf Hitler Straße” in the current Yaphank settlement, it’s amazing that the Times piece does include a photo of a large current sign at the entrance to the neighborhood that reads “German American Settlement League – Private Community – Members & Guests Only.” That is the exact same organization name that was being used in 1938 when the following film about Camp Siegfried was made by British Pathé:

Here’s an article from Untapped Cities published earlier this year, “This Former Nazi Neighborhood on Long Island with Adolf Hitler Street Still Exists,” with even more information and photos illustrating this strange neighborhood’s past and present states.

And here’s a collection of NYPD Alien Squad photographs of Camp Siegfried in its heyday.

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Guernica and Guernica

There are few, if any, 20th-century paintings more essential than Pablo Picasso’s Guernica.

So I was glad to see on Artnet news today that there will be a major motion picture about the painting next year, 33 días starring Antonio Banderas as Picasso and Gwyneth Paltrow as Dora Maar. Whether the film turns out to be good or bad, it will raise the profile of the artist and his painting among some who don’t yet know this masterpiece. In the meantime, the Luftwaffe bombing of that defenseless Basque city on April 26, 1937 and Picasso’s massive canvas inspired by that outrage, which he began painting just days later, both play important roles in Fire Answers Fire (chapters 9-11), which will be publishing everywhere in just two weeks on May 1 (readers of this blog can order it at half price with this pre-publication coupon until May 5).

As background for the movie and the novel, here’s a video of Simon Schama (from the BBC Power of Art series) talking about the bombing of Guernica and the painting of Guernica in a ten-minute video: