Home / General / New York Nazi Camps

New York Nazi Camps


The Nazis had summer camps for their youth–in New York. And of course they filmed it and it survived and now I am saying you should watch the footage.


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  • In the Catskills! Near my parents’ honeymoon resort twenty years later.

  • wengler

    Well, at least they observed proper flag etiquette and flew the US flag above the swastika. I wonder how many of these kids ended up at the Nazi internment camp in Texas.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      I wonder how many ended up in the GOP.

  • shah8

    OT, but that last police shooting of some kid actually prompted some civil unrest in north St Louis. Looking at twitter…seems like the mood is pretty ugly.

    Also, of course, while I’m being rude…some sort of coup by Maliki or countercoup against a coup attempt against Maliki just happened in Iraq.

    On topic. The Nazis liked too much of what was the worst aspects of America. Not surprising about the Catskills.

    • CP

      I do believe Hitler approvingly cited the United States’ policies towards American Indians during westward expansion, as a model of what he intended to do to the Slavs while carving Greater Germany out of their lands.

      • toberdog

        He absolutely did. The quotes are in the recent book, Bloodlands.

  • Manju

    I guess this explains why Venture Capitalists moved to Silicon Valley.

  • Sly

    The site of Camp Siegfried, in Yaphank, is about 30 miles from me, and its still something of a local curiosity even 75 years after it was shut down by the state government.

    Which is itself an interesting story. First the town was quite pleased with the influx of thousands of people during the summers, It meant a lot of tourist revenue, and both the town and businesses took out ads in the German-American Bund’s national newsletter to encourage more people to come out. And it worked; so many Nazis came out to Yaphank – in numbers reaching into the tens of thousands – that they used to call the early morning weekend train from Penn Station “the Camp Sigfried Special.”

    However, the influx of so many people strained the community; not simply because they were Nazis, but also because they were ethnic German immigrants. The camp administrators and visitors got into repeated tussles with the natives (particularly members of the American Legion), issued not-quite-veiled death threats against local politicians, harassed local business owners and residents (particularly Jewish ones), etc. By 1937, when the Bund had been accused of sheltering German spies (something that was likely true), the town basically had enough.

    First the town went after the Camp through the permit process; demanding repeated land surveys, cracking down on even the mildest building code violation, and what have you. But the group was well funded and dead-set against moving, so it didn’t work. The Camp director threatened that he would sell the land to a then-infamous African-American cult leader before he would agree to shut the place down. So the town turned to the state government.

    What got the camp shut down was a provision of the New York State Civil Rights Act of 1914 that required all “oathbound” organizations – groups whose members had to swear an oath of allegiance – to publish its roster of members. It was a law primarily designed to kick the Klan out of the state during the period when it started spreading north (the antics of the Klan on Long Island are a whole other story). The Bund not only required an oath of loyalty to itself, but to Hitler and the Third Reich.

    During the trial, a shipping clerk named Martin Wunderlich who volunteered at the Camp was called to the stand to testify about its activities, and told the court that every morning the group would salute the American flag, thinking that this would show the Bund’s American loyalty. When asked to demonstrate this salute he stood up and gave a hearty “Sieg Heil” to the Stars and Bars. When asked if he thought this was an “American salute,” Wunderlich replied “It will be.” This, needless to say, did not sit well with the Judge and jury. The Camp administration was convicted under the law and shut down shortly thereafter.

    The DA issued a statement calling on Federal authorities to go after the Bund itself, which can be viewed here, and the organization was shut down shortly after Germany declared war on the U.S..

    • rea

      the Stars and Bars.

      Which was the name of the CSA flag, not the USA flag . . .

      • Sly

        Oops. For some reason, I mistakenly used the phrase “Stars and Bars” in reference to a red, white, and blue flag that was being saluted by an ultra-reactionary racist. Not sure how that happened.

    • Grumpy

      I assume Wunderlich (perhaps an inspiration for the football intelligence test?) pronounced “will” with a sinisterly Teutonic “v” sound.

    • CP

      Full credit to New York State for passing laws designed to kick the Ku Klux Klan out. (And thanks for the extremely interesting review of the Bund’s activities, too).

      • Aimai

        You don’t think the Oath thing wasn’t also an attempt to kick out the commies?

        • Aimai

          Oh, I see it was a 1914 law.

          • Linnaeus

            Well, maybe it was for the socialists too.

            • Snarki, child of Loki

              Is that law still on the books?

              Could it be used on the “Oathkeepers”?

              • runsinbackground

                The Oath in question is pretty specifically the loyalty oath taken by servicepeople, so probably not.

    • Joe Bob the III

      Great comment. Thanks for writing it.

    • Sly

      A minor correction: the “secret society law,” or the Walker Law, was passed in 1923, and was not part of the New York State Civil Rights Act of 1914. The Walker Law was, however, specifically passed to combat the Klan in New York State without mentioning it specifically, and was the law that was later used successfully against the German American Bund.

  • cpinva

    wow, just………wow! I already knew about the Bund, but I’d never heard of these camps before. I’m surprised my parents never mentioned them, being of and by NYC and all. give hitler and the Nazi party credit, they knew who the big kid in the playground was. unlike his Japanese allies, hitler had no interest in starting a war with the US, directly anyway.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Because NYC and upstate NY are, like, two different countries?

      • cpinva

        oh yeah, that’s definitely true. however, as I understand it, a lot of those kids were coming from NYC, and I’d be surprised if none of their friends were among the campers.

  • Matt McKeon

    Some of this footage was used in the PBS special “FDR.”

  • Gwen

    Hello Mutter,
    Hello Fuhrer,
    Here I am at
    Camp Volk-Deutscher

    • Origami Isopod

      Everyone here’s
      Very caring
      And the campfires sure are fun with Counselor Göring!

    • Barry Freed


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  • DrS

    Niemand setzt Baby in der Ecke

    • Origami Isopod

      + ein

  • JonH

    There was an attempt to set up a camp in Southbury, Connecticut, which was rejected by the locals by passing a law banning military activity apart from the US military.

    Southbury also has a section called “Russian Village”, which began as an artists’ colony set up by the son of Leo Tolstoy and a partner.

    At its peak, Churaevka had a printing press used by Russian and Ukrainian scholars and novelists. Visitors to the colony included the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Most of its immigrant population is now gone; however, St. Sergius Chapel, designed by Nicholas Roerich and built in 1932-1933, remains. Churaevka is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


  • Origami Isopod

    I can’t believe I’ll be the first to say it….

    I hate New York Nazis!

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