Panel Discussion - Historical Insights: Southbury Versus the Bund. Moderated by Melinda Elliot, President of Southbury Historical Society and Author of “No Swastikas in Southbury”; Arnie Bernstein, author of “Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund”, and James Calaski, a researcher on the German American Bund.
On September 25, 1937, Wolfgang Jung purchased 178 acres of land in Southbury, Connecticut for the German-American Bund, intent on building a Nazi camp. Similar camps were popping up around the nation, in an effort to promote an antisemitic and pro-Nazi agenda. The residents of Southbury quickly united to fight back against this Nazi invasion of their town. Organized by the Reverend M.E.N. Lindsay, the Reverend Felix Manley, First Selectman Ed Coer and town leaders, the townspeople established a zoning commission whose first ordinance forbade land usage in the town for “military training or drilling with or without arms except by the legally constituted armed forces of the United States of America.” The ruling effectively closed Southbury to the Bund. Southbury was the only Government that stood up to Nazis before the end of 1937.
Until 2012, this important story was not well-known to many people in Southbury, let along people who lived elsewhere. In November 2012, a documentary film about the events of 1937 premiered to a full auditorium at Pomperaug High School: "Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said NO to the Nazis". Residents of the town, whether they were born and raised here or had moved here more recently, have since felt enormous pride in the story. The story has now become part of the local, state and national discussion.
In November, 2022 the Town will come together again to revisit the story, reflect on what has been learned since 2012, and explore the salient messages this story has for young and old alike.
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This project is a combination of two of my passions: my love of history and investigating. As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by history. My father was a history teacher for over 35 years and I achieved my Masters of Arts - History degree in 2013. I am currently a member of the Wyckoff Historical Society in Wyckoff, NJ and the Bergen County (NJ) Historical Society.
In terms of investigating, I have dedicated almost three decades of my life to mastering this skill. I am currently the supervisor of the Glen Rock, NJ Police Department Detective Bureau serving in the rank of Detective Sergeant. I have served more than half of my law enforcement career in the Detective Bureau and have been involved in thousands of investigations, earning numerous awards and citations along the way. Prior to my career in law enforcement, I spent several years in private investigations under the tutelage of Frank Murphy, a former Paterson, NJ police officer and United States Secret Service Agent directly involved in the executive protection of four United States Presidents and a nationally recognized expert witness on police procedures.
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