Nazis in Newark 1933-41; a Parallel Universe with Today

by Norman Berdichevsky (December 2009)

Book Review of Nazis in Newark
by Warren Glover
Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, NJ. 2003
ISBN 978-0-7658-0516-4


The crisis we face today that has resulted in an ever more aggressive and truculent, militant Islam threatening the foundations of Western civilization from without and within, bears an uncanny parallel, almost a parallel universe, with the dreadful anxiety-filled 1930s, when a virulent Nazism intimidated and cowed much of public opinion throughout the United States.

The most recent incident at Ft. Hood, in which an American born Muslim carrying out the tenets of Jihad resulting in numerous deaths that has “dumbfounded” the Pentagon, puts into the sharpest relief the blindness of our highest authorities, both civilian and military, and their total ignorance of Islam and its many followers who are committed to jihad yet thrive and scheme while protected by our laws. Dozens of “isolated incidents” involving Muslims committing heinous acts of murder and honor killings have been swept under the carpet by our government and mass media treating the guilty as “lone individuals” suffering from “derangement” while ignoring the ideology that lies at the bottom of their mental instability.

This is all the more reason to read “Nazis in Newark,” a book that reveals a parallel history two generations ago with the apathy to danger in our midst today. Under the impact of a world depression, a large majority of isolationist public opinion in the United States including many self styled Liberals sought to adopt a default policy of America first, excusing anti-Semitism, making amends for saddling Germany with war guilt and avoiding any rearmament. Their first object of assigning blame was then, like today, to avoid placing it on the Germans, or the Muslims and their allegiance to Nazi and Jihadist doctrines, but instead on those “war-mongers” who “inflamed emotions” by a “reckless foreign policy,” one that dared to confront the evil ambitions or ruthless dictators and fanatics who had constructed a scenario blaming the Jews for all the world’s ills.    

This book is an accurate and insightful account of the struggles of decent Americans who sought to call public attention to the growing menace of Nazism within the United States and the confrontations on the streets of Newark, New Jersey which witnessed the most direct physical battle of the era between Nazi sympathizers and American Jews. It recalls a parallel universe to today’s battles with one notable exception, the absence then of much of the current insane political correctness and “multiculturalism” that excuses Islamist crimes and designs to wreck the foundations of American democracy and self-defense.

Glover’s book casts a sharp clinical light from the standpoint of history on the sanctimonious attitude of Jewish Obama supporters who have created the ultra-Liberal “J-Street” refusing to acknowledge the open anti-Semitic stance or radical Far Left character of many of the President’s most influential supporters, associates and appointees who demean and defame Israel and Zionism.

For them, any sign of Jewish pride must be demeaned in order to secure their certificate of “kashrut” as loyal Democrats for whom all other ethnic, racial or religious groups must be encouraged to seek special favor from the government and be recognized as an important and proud element of a rainbow coalition.

In a strange irony, many of these ultra-Liberal, ultra-Reform Jews apparently act from much the same motivation and rationale as ultra-Orthodox Jews, convinced that they are setting an example for all the Gentiles as a priestly caste bringing “Light unto the nations,” thereby fulfilling God’s commandments. Like their Orthodox grandparents, they feel obliged to seek foregiveness for their sins but instead of once a year on Yom Kippur and turning to God, they seek to assure their Liberal cohorts, “world opinion”, the U.N., political correctness, and now President Obama that they are good Jews who are sufficiently self-critical.
While their parents and grandparents rejoiced at the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and regarded it mystically as partial compensation for the Holocaust, they have been psychologically intimidated by the constant anti-Israel line of the media and of the torrent of bloody confrontations picturing enraged Muslim mobs ready for constant mayhem to avenge what they regard as the worst injustice in human history (i.e. the creation of the Jewish State rather than the failure to establish an Arab Palestinian state).

In the 1930s, there were many Jews who at first timidly hoped for the Nazis to eventually change their tune and agreed to support a behind the scenes approach in order to avoid a confrontation that might embarrass a Democratic administration afraid of being labeled as interventionist in foreign policy yet, by 1939, the overwhelming majority of Jews and a growing majority of Gentiles realized that there could be no new “world order” as promulgated by the Nazis that would not be hostile to American interests and ultimate survival. The same realization of the Jihadist vision of a new world order today fails to mobilize the same call to arms.

When Jews actually organized successful real resistance in DEEDS and not just WORDS on a major scale (something unheard of today in the United States) in the Newark riots against the pro-Nazi organizations “Friends of the New Germany” and the “German-American Bund,” the initiative was largely on the part of conservative leaning Jewish war veterans with battle experience, professional and amateur boxers, gangsters, machinists, plumbers, glaziers, athletes, butchers and upholsterers with muscle power rather than the pious statements of “activists” on the Left and liberal leaning “progressive rabbis.”

The same was true in Britain after World War II when the “1943 Group” of Jewish war veterans took to the streets of London to forcefully evict the remnants of Moseley’s British Union of Fascists in defiance of the requests of the establishment British Board of Deputies who pleaded for British Jews not to act as vigilantes and leave their protection to the police (see The 1943 Group by Morris Beckman, A Centerprise Publication, London. 1992.)   

The long dormant and docile majority among many Jews still suffering from a time warp in which FDR was regarded as a savior is wholly ignorant of the perfidious roles played by the New York Times and the BBC in their decades’ long campaign to slander and malign “The Jewish State” (the very term offends their international and cosmopolitan sensibilities).

The Jewish worship for learning continues to venerate what so many Liberals regard as “our finest academic Ivy League Institutions” such as Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Vassar and Barnard, aware that these names conjure up the picture of perfect liberal respectability with complete ignorance that precisely these universities were among the most anti-Semitic in their enrollment restrictions against Jewish students in the interwar years and that some of their most prominent faculty members including presidents and deans defended warmer foreign relations with Nazi Germany and opposed any anti-German economic boycott (see Rebecca Bynum’s excellent book review “Fashionable Fascism” in the November, 2009 issue of NER of Stephen H. Norwood’s “The Third Reich and the Ivory Tower; Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses

Many among today’s Jewish Liberals have convinced themselves that the Religious Right in Israel is their principal enemy and that to win credibility as progressives they must support a position that calls on Israel to make unlimited concessions no matter what the consequences. They follow the classic definition of insanity– “repeating the same course of failed action and still believing that the outcome will be different.” In the meantime, since the “Oslo Accords,” most Israelis have been cured of that form of insanity and realize the futility of continuing to act as if the Palestinian side with Iranian encouragement intends to abide by any of the promises made. 

Flashback to the 1930s: Newark, New Jersey became the prime stage of confrontation due to its ethnic make-up and proximity to both New York and Washington, D.C. From 1933 until Pearl Harbor, it was the most prominent American city where the struggle against Nazi sympathizers took on the dimensions of pitched street battles. It is worthwhile recalling how the political battle for “hearts and minds” of Americans was fought and how the anti-Nazi struggle successfully engaged both Jews and Gentiles including German-Americans.

This is particularly important in the light of today’s squeamishness among the “politically correct” Left wing of the Democratic Party to demand that Muslim-Americans express their condemnation of Jihadist activity around the globe and the sympathy, aid and comfort rendered to those fighting our troops and murdering civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and on a dozen other fronts.

The American Jewish boycott against the Nazi regime was initiated on March 19, 1933 by the national Jewish War Veterans at its annual convention in Atlantic City. Nowhere else in America was the call to battle so enthusiastically answered as in the Third Ward of Newark. The response came as a direct reaction to the parades and activities of the Friends of the New Germany, a Nazi front and propaganda organization.

The wealthier more integrated veteran Jewish community leaders of German origin were cautious at first and reluctant to utilize any measures beyond those of trust in the government and police as a strategy to oppose anti-Semitism. The established German-American community in Newark and elsewhere also initially viewed the Nazi government with suspicion and disfavor and hoped for an avoidance of any tensions with their Jewish neighbors but with each political victory engineered by Hitler over the remilitarization of the Rhineland and Saar, the absorption of Austria and the Sudentenland, the take-over of Memel and demands on Poland to return the “Corridor” and Danzig, more and more German-Americans (although still a small minority) expressed support and pride in the new regime. In doing so, they accepted without reservation the accompanying racist anti-Semitic doctrines of the Nazis.

A growing number of the Liberal Christian clergy following the example of Pastor Reinhold Niebhur, although anxious to avoid any extra-legal measures, gravitated more and more to support of Jewish rights while many in the ultra conservative Catholic clergy, the African-American community and certainly among many hard core isolationists and “country-club” bluebloods among the WASP majority in America felt that this was a foreign matter of little concern to them.

Many even viewed anti-Semitism with “schadenfreude” regarding the Jews as radicals in Europe, staunch left-wing supporters of the new Roosevelt administration or a class of shopkeepers and landlords that had been given a deserved slap in the face.    

The central figure in the Jewish resistance movement that arose in Newark was Abner “Longy” Zwillman, a notorious gangster and his henchman, ex-prizefighter, Nat Arno. Their gang was the leading criminal organization involved in bootlegging, racketeering, gambling, protection and labor union extortion all along the Northeast Coast. Zwillman’s financial and tactical support of the Jewish militant activists named “The Minutemen,” dedicated to disrupting Nazi meetings, had nothing to do with his criminal activities. He acted as a proud Jew, profoundly sympathetic to his friends and neighbors, many of them first generation immigrant Americans in Newark’s inner city Third Ward. He and Arno had used their fists and wits to combat anti-Semitism like many of his generation. From the 1920s to 1950s, and sporadically thereafter, American, British, Russian, Argentine, Hungarian and French Jews held many national and world champion boxing titles. Many of them wore the Star of David on their trunks, and were elected to the Boxing hall of Fame (for full list see 
List of Jews in sports – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)….

Between the two world wars, Jews held twenty-six world boxing titles. Where are they now? Nowhere in our parallel universe of today! The American Jewish scene with its rise in social and economic standing and its aspirations in the business, professional and academic worlds have made these former sports heroes and the spirit of a fighting Jewish community as remote as the days of the Biblical prophets.

It is this image of proud fighting Jews, today almost unilaterally associated with the Israelis, that makes Obama’s Jewish upper and upper middle class sanctimonious Jewish supporters nervous – the Israelis will not abide by the Marquis of Queensbury Rules when fighting savages yet their record exceeds that of any of the Allied and Western armies in protecting civilians during combat (see remarks to the U.N. by Colonel Richard Kemp who commanded British troops in Afghanistan in 2003
Richard Kemp – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BBC: Former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp Discusses IDF Gaza ).
Flashback again to Newark. Grover’s most damning indictment in the book is Chapter Five that bears the title “The Failure of Liberalism.” It chronicles the initial rejection by the Newark liberal, academic and clerical establishment of the two pastors Frank Kingdon (Methodist preacher, born in London and educated in Boston) and Lucius Hamilton Garner (born in Alabama), both ruggedly handsome and dedicated to fighting for social justice, ending racial discrimination and combating anti-Semitism. Their only important local ally was a wealthy socialite, Amelia Moorfield, an early voice on behalf of pacifism, and feminism. It took a long and painful campaign of education to win over Labor union leaders and a reluctant clergy and academia in Newark to stand up and openly oppose the growing menace of the pro-Nazi “Friends” and later, the The German-American Bund.

Attempts by anti-Nazi organizations and mainstream Jewish groups to organize a boycott of German goods is the subject of a poignant chapter that reveals the unwillingness of any assistance by the government. This was a factor that limited what otherwise would have been a severe blow against the Nazi regime. President Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, during the entire period of 1933 to 1941 was convinced that anti-Semitism in Germany was not an American problem and that a boycott would worsen political and economic relations with Germany the maintenance of which remained an important goal of U.S. foreign policy.

The most prominent spokesman for the boycott was S. William Kalb, organizer of Newark Post 34 of the Jewish War Veterans. A man of great organizational ability, good public speaking skills, a physician and Marine combat veteran of World War I, he was frustrated by the lack of support demonstrated by the Jewish owners of Bambergers and Macy’s department stores, both contributors to Jewish philanthropic causes yet fearful of upsetting the lucrative business handling German export goods.

Liberalism was popular, especially among “white ethnics” in as much as it promised relief from the economic misery of the Depression but unable to bridge the gap in winning real progress to end racial discrimination against Blacks and counteract anti-Semitism. The ACLU, then as now, spoke out on behalf of what it considered its most important plank – the right of free speech protection for Nazis or Racists (however much their lawyers would contend that they opposed and abhorred racism and Nazism). Sound familiar?

In contrast to the disgraceful failure of much of the Liberal establishment and ACLU, the German-American League for Culture, founded in 1935 to combat Nazism and foster German culture, proved a staunch ally. The League fully supported German-American participation in World War II. As an American of German descent, journalist Dorothy Thompson felt it incumbent upon her to organize other German-Americans with the support of the League to speak out against Nazism, and counter the publicity given the pro-Nazi German-American Bund. In the fall of 1942, she approached the World Jewish Congress, which agreed to pay for such a statement, and in the last week of December, 1942, the “Christmas Declaration by men and women of German ancestry” was printed appearing in the New York Times and nine other major American daily newspapers, signed by fifty prominent German-Americans, the most famous being Babe Ruth. Fast forward to today’s parallel universe.
Where is there a shred of similar action among Muslims who are American citizens? Where are their loud protests against the misuse of Islam and the affront to their pride as loyal and patriotic American citizens? ? ? Where are the recognized and distinguished American imams calling for a March on Washington to proclaim their disassociation and rejection of terror? Nowhere! Only…deafening silence. 
What little efforts have been made, mostly by those who have left Islam and by a few courageous individuals who refuse to follow CAIR, the largest so called “civil rights movement to protect Muslims” (an exact counterpart today of the Bund and Friends of the New Germany),have been refused coverage of their events by the mass media and by NPR (beneficiary of your tax dollars) as “too controversial”.

The wretched opportunism of the American Communist Party was revealed in the attempts to wrest control of the German-American League for Culture and use it as a front organization as they had similarly done with many Jewish and anti-Nazi organizations. As soon as the proclamation of the infamous, Ribbentrop-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact of August, 1939, the Communist front groups ceased their cooperation with the Minutemen and Jewish opposition to Nazi activities in the U.S., making them an object of derision among Jews everywhere.

The infamous alliance between Hitler and Stalin did more to mobilize general American support among Gentiles against anti-Semitism than any other factor. It had become abundantly clear that in spite of a noisy and all too visible Jewish presence in the American Communist party, it represented only a tiny fraction of the community. The communists’ patient and persistent efforts to penetrate anti-Fascist organizations, as well as their activities on behalf of the Spanish Republic, in favor of boycotting German goods and protests against Nazi anti-Semitism had all been tactical maneuvers.  

The publicity provoked by the resistance of the Newark Minutemen to the pro-Nazi organizations helped focus Congressional investigations spearheaded by New York Congressman Samuel Dickstein (Chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee known as HUAC) who relentlessly pursued leads that uncovered the financial assistance provided by the Nazi German government to both the Friends of the New Germany and its more powerful successor organization, The German-American Bund.

Fast forward to today – Why has our government remained silent on Saudi support and financing for Jihadi inspired Sunni terrorists throughout the world? In what must be one of history’s great ironies, the ACLU and the Nazis attacked Dickstein for his “witch-hunting,” exactly the same charge that many “Liberals” and Left wing dupes of the American Communist Party raised against HUAC a generation later (when it investigated Communist subversion and links to Moscow of many so called “Progressives” in Hollywood).

Warren Grover’s book is meticulously footnoted to original sources but is not a boring academic treatise. It is the fast paced exciting story of how a courageous minority of Americans, Jews and Gentiles, realized the evil on their doorstep and refusing to be cowed by it, sought to alert others to the imminent danger. If only today’s reality were the same!

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Norman Berdichevsky contributes regularly to The Iconoclast, our Community Blog. Click here to see all his contributions, on which comments are welcome. 



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