Sunday, February 7, 2010

The German American Bund Began in Yaphank, NY

After WW I German settlers living in the New York City area started the German American Settlement League, Inc. in the city of Yaphank, Long Island. The current address, according to Google is 11 Private Road, with the phone # 631-924-8507. There's even a Yaphank forum where one might discuss this background issue.

Mrs. M. Kapproth, a special ed. teacher, tells us that the League's Siegfried Park started out as a summer place for children and a campground for adults. It was to be a country-like enclave to the German speaking people from NYC. At one point you had to be of German descent and be sponsored by a member of the League to live in Siegfried Park.

Here's a posting of the Yaphank Historical Society Newsletter from July-August, 2009. Helen Kalbach, President, writes that the society was 35 years old that year.

David Behrens, staff writer for the Wild Bill Guarnere Community, describes  Camp Siegfried, located on a wooded lakefront near the mid-Suffolk village. He says that in 1936 the "Camp Siegfried Special" train would leave Penn Station every Sunday to bring thousands of bundists to the Yaphank depot. That was the summer in which the German American Bund was formally organized. It had evolved from a series of nationwide German-American groups following WW I. These included the Free Society of Teutonia, organized in 1924, the Friends of the Hitler Movement and the Friends of New Germany, founded in 1933.
Gustave Neuss shares some history to the G-A-S League. He writes that their property at Camp Siegried was taken over by the Alien Property Custodian during WW II as an enemy asset. Residences and other real property of detainees were also confiscated. Commenting on the German-American Bund, he writes,

"The German-American Bund activity was not limited to Yaphank and the New York City area.  Groups of the pro-Nazis were located throughout the United States.  Hitler’s claim was that after he had conquered Europe he would then take over the USA.  The Bund and other pro-German groups located throughout the country provided a cadre of subversives to assist in such a takeover. Detaining the most dangerous of these, defused a potential problem.  Fortunately the battlegrounds never reached the United States mainland."

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