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The secret of the “pure Aryan” camp of Nazi Germany in the heart of… New York

The reality of this took place in Yaphank, Long Island. A very thrilling story that not many people know about.

The “German Zone” in New York

It was a Wednesday afternoon in the inner suburbs of Yaphank, a rural village on Long Island (New York). Men between the ages of 20 and 70 walk in and out of the veterans club, which provides psychological support services and temporary accommodation for discharged soldiers who have difficulty returning to life. Everyday. On the other side of a narrow street is a closed residential area called Duc Garden or at least as outsiders call it: German District.


The entrance to the German District today. This street was formerly named Hitler Strasse.

It is quite ironic that in the veterans club where the American flag is hung, there is a neighborhood named after the country that caused the largest casualties in the history of the Chinese military. When outsiders asked the three soldiers what they knew about the residential area across the street, they looked away and said nothing. A soldier named Mike said: “I heard the news that Adolf Hitler had arrived in the German District in the mid-1930s. This story is on the internet. Some people must have seen scenes of Hitler meeting with the locals.”

Rumors have partly revealed the mystery to this day about a closed residential area, where this land belongs to an organization called the German-American Settlement Alliance (GASL). A mysterious place located just 100km or an hour drive from Suffolk County (Manhattan).

Taking a puff of his cigarette, Mike asserted: “It’s like a state within a state, nobody knows what’s going on there.” Even the German doctor whom the reporter contacted to write this article refused to be photographed or to hide his full name.

Mike said: “We don’t know anything about them. Sometimes we see traffic coming in and out of residential areas. They don’t want to mess with us and the truth is neither do we. We weren’t allowed into the Diocese. German district. Only Germans are welcome. We learned a little about them from reading newspapers.” Mike pointed to a large sign hanging at the entrance to Yaphank, on which was written the words “German-American Settlement Alliance. Private community. Only welcome members and guests”.

Then the GASL sign was also removed, but it was clear that strangers were not welcome inside. As my accompanying Haaretz magazine photographer raised his camera near a house in the German Precinct, an old man came out from inside, glancing at us angrily. His wife went to the back and advised her husband to stay calm.

Another old man with a garden, about 70 years old, seemed to openly talk to the journalist: “I moved to the German District 9 years ago. All the news they wrote about this place was bland, the media made up the truth. To be honest, this place was connected with the Nazi party many years ago, not now. Not at all. If they don’t allow me, I’m not allowed to interact with the press. If I go against my will, I will be punished.”

Official GASL, who are they in this land of only 45 families? No sign of the swastika ever hung proudly in every window, the streets were named after Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels long before they changed their names. What remains are winding streets, overgrown trees, low-lying houses and a membership club at the entrance to the residential area.

Overall, this place is like a moshav (agricultural cooperative community in the North of Israel). The houses are old but amazingly well cared for. Each house is surrounded by a lawn and a luxuriant orchard. Although the land is large, the houses are quite modest in size.

The tiny stairs at the entrance to each house are lined with flower pots and wind chimes ringing in front of the door. A few dozen meters from the houses is a large lake. An indisputable fact: the existence of the German District for all these years right in the heart of the United States.

Extreme nationalism

Until the 1920s, Yaphank was just a blue-collar residential area in the middle of Long Island. It’s like hundreds of other neighborhoods in New York state. The area has several farms, a large grocery store, a train station, a few modest restaurants, and a barbershop. Then came radical ideologies in Europe after World War I.

A wave of ugliness swept across continental Europe from Mussolini (Italy) to Hitler (Germany) and then swept over the United States during the long night of the Great Depression. An expression of radicalization took place in 1924 when a German immigrant named Fritz Gissibl decided to found a branch of the Nazi party in Chicago.


This photograph, dated May 22, 1938, provided by the New York City Archives shows the front gate of the Siegfried camp in Yaphank (New York).

Gissibl’s idea of ​​​​with Nazi doctrine, American patriotism associated with anti-Semitism and xenophobia attracted many Americans. Eventually the anti-Semitists and supporters of the 3K organization (Ku Klux Klan) gathered and together founded the new movement started by Gissibl, which changed its name five times in the following decades, and called it collectively the Teutonian Free Association.

By 1937, the rules of the new movement then known as the American German Federation (or Bund) re-emerged in a major event in New York, where the Bund stated that the goals of its members were ” Support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States” and “until the values ​​of German blood, German motherland, our German brothers and sisters”.

To support the pro-German movement, the founders of the Bund recruited activists for a major event held in Yaphank in 1940 to mark the birthday of “The Father of the American Nation” George Washington. At that event, the organizers wrote that their goals were “to honor and defend the Constitution, flag, and institutions of the United States” and “to combat international or internal subversive phenomena that may affect the United States.” tendency to destroy or overthrow the National Republic of the United States of America or Catholic civilization since its inception”.

At the same event, the Bund leaders vowed to “resist all anti-German forces manifesting in slanderous attacks on politics, religion, culture, economy and civil society.” “. “The radical nationalism of German-Americans has given voice to thousands of Americans,” writes Professor Ryan Shaffer, a historian at Stony Brook University (New York) in a book published. in 2010 titled “Nazi Long Island: A Geopolitical Synthesis of Transnational Scale”. Fritz Gissibl’s new movement was an instant success.

In just a short time, it has spread far beyond Chicago with branches throughout the United States including Detroit, Newark and New York. US government agencies have their eyes on the Bund. Professor Ryan Shaffer writes that “at least half of the members of the Bund in 1926 were affiliated with Adolf Hitler’s party”. To hide his admiration for Hitler, in 1932, Gissibl changed the name of the Bund to the Movement of Friends of Hitler (FHM). In 1946, Gissibl returned to Germany and since Gissibl left the US, the new FHM was renamed the German American American Bund (GAFB).

Aryan Blood Breeding Camp

Yaphank became one of the main centers of the Nazi-American movement for many years. In 1935, GASL bought a large plot of land at Yaphank and it quickly became a dynastic settlement for those with pure Aryan blood in their veins. There were flyers with invitations to people of German origin to move to the German Precinct. And the main route that runs through Yaphank is called Hitler Strasse.

But Yaphank’s main secret lies in the summer camp organized for German youth. Camp Siegfried (created in 1935) was about 220 Dunam (about 20 hectares) in what is now the German District, used as a training ground for future generations of the Nazi movement.

Jill Santiago, an educator at the Suffolk Center for Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding, explains: “Yaphank was not a random selection. During the 1920s, In 1930, 1 out of 7 people living in Yaphank supported the 3K organization. That’s why people chose Yaphank because they thought they wouldn’t face much resistance from the local community.”

Teenage camp Siegfried, which was very popular in the first half of the 1930s, was located on the Long Island Railroad that operated every morning from Manhattan to Yaphank. Every day, local activists would wait for a train to pass by to greet guests with Nazi salutes and cries to the Jewish death camp. Camp Siegfried’s activity peaked in 1938. According to a document published in The New York Times, no less than 40,000 people from across the United States went to Camp Siegfried to participate in German Day activities. Now the total population of Yaphank is less than 6,000 people.

Professor Ryan Shaffer writes: “While active, Camp Siegfried was used by the Bund youth to camp, hunt and even have sex.” Programs are not just about theory: Puberty sexual relationships were encouraged and supported by counselors who put the Nazi theories of Aryan improvement into practice.

Many rapes stem from that very odd ideology. The bohemian atmosphere at the Siegfried camp was partly shaped by the large amount of alcohol being shipped here, and the campers were intoxicated. Salute and parade activities are also performed at midnight. After World War II, when Germany became the official enemy of the West, the FBI opened an investigation into the leaders of the Bund. Fritz Kuhn, head of the Bund, was found guilty of fraud and tax evasion and sentenced to four years in prison.

After being released from prison, this hand was re-arrested, this time accused of aiding the enemy (Nazi) during the war and deported from the US. In 1945, the FBI officially closed the Siegfried camp and even took over the GASL estate, sparking a legal battle. The battle ended with a settlement that remains in effect to this day.

Still intact secrecy

More than 70 years have passed. Everything has changed, even the roads. But still the same desire to live apart from society and the purity of white blood emphasized people of German descent. That discriminatory policy has been applied to Philip Kneer and his wife Patricia Flynn-Kneer (German-American), who have lived in the German District since 1999.

Six years later, the Philip Kneer family decided to sell their home, and they ran into an invisible wall of rigid rules derived from GASL regulations that stripped owners of their right to sell. people living in the German Territory.

According to Philip Kneer and his wife, these barriers are to ensure that the German community is always maintained. In 1998, GASL issued a document, specifying that homeowners in the German Territories must be members of the organization “applies to every person 21 years of age or older, of German descent, of a character and good reputation”. Finally, after many years of refusal, GASL accepted to compensate Philip Kneer’s family the amount of 175,000 USD.

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