Shocking short film by Marshall Curry:
In 1939, New York’s Madison Square Garden was host to an enormous
— and shocking — gathering of 22,000 Americans that has largely
been forgotten from our history.
Chilling footage. About 4 minutes in, a protestor tries to storm the stage and he takes a serious beating from the Nazis and then some rough handling by the police. There are children on stage — American Nazi Youth? — and they seem gleeful watching this guy take a beating.
Q: Why do you think that most Americans have never heard of this
group or this event?
A: The footage is so powerful, it seems amazing that it isn’t a
stock part of every high school history class. But I think the
rally has slipped out of our collective memory in part because
it’s scary and embarrassing. It tells a story about our country
that we’d prefer to forget. We’d like to think that when Nazism
rose up, all Americans were instantly appalled. But while the
vast majority of Americans were appalled by the Nazis, there
was also a significant group of Americans who were sympathetic
to their white supremacist, anti-Semitic message. When you see
20,000 Americans gathering in Madison Square Garden you can be
sure that many times that were passively supportive.