Inspired by Hitler’s success at restoring Germany’s pre-eminence and learning from Hitler’s success in burying the effects of the recession, America’s white community in the 1930s created over 100 pro-National Socialist organisations.
May 17, 1934
Ring-fenced by the First Amendment, they held public rallies, paraded in uniforms, carried the German Worker’s Party banners, and published anti-Bolshevik periodicals.
Organised crime in the United States was largely under Jewish control. Free from constitutional legalities, the mobsters confronted the workers who supported Hitler’s genuine non-Jewish socialism.
May 17, 1934, Madison Square, New York
National Socialist Bund rallies in New York City created a dilemma for the city’s Jewish leaders. With 20,000 members, the Bund was the largest anti-Bolshevik group in the United States.
Jewish leaders wanted the rallies stopped, but could not do so legally. Nathan Perlman, a former Republican congressman, believed that the Jews should demonstrate more combativeness. In 1935, he furtively contacted Meyer Lansky, a leading organised crime figure, and asked him to help. Lansky related what followed.
Meyer Lansky: Notorious Jewish Gangster
The Jewish lawmaker assured Meyer Lansky that a blank cheque and legal assistance would be put at his disposal. Lansky, dubbed ‘the mob’s accountant’, was the most notorious of America’s mobsters; the gangster ran an international syndicate.
The mobster referred to Germany’s Communists as “my brothers”. Lansky refused the judge’s offer of money and assistance, but he did make one request. He asked Perlman to ensure that after he went into action he would not be criticised by the Jewish press. The judge promised to do what he could.
May 17, 1934, Madison Square, NY
Lansky rounded up his mobsters who disrupted National Socialist meetings. Young Jews not connected to him or the rackets also volunteered to help. Meyer Lansky and others taught them how to use their fists and handle themselves in a fight. Lansky’s crews worked very professionally. The arms, legs and ribs of American workers were broken and heads cracked and the Jewish mobster earned quite a reputation for doing this work.
Lansky later described to an Israeli journalist one of the onslaughts in Yorkville, the German neighbourhood in northeast Manhattan:
“We got there in the evening and found several hundred people dressed in their brown shirts. The stage was decorated with a swastika and pictures of Hitler. The speaker started ranting. There were only 15 of us, but we went into action. We attacked them in the hall and threw some of them out the windows. There were fist fights all over the place.
Most of the Nazis panicked and ran out. We chased them and beat them up, and some of them were out of action for months. Yes it was violence. We wanted to teach them a lesson.”
Reflecting on his role in these episodes to me, Lansky fumed that he helped the Jewish community but was met with abuse. He believed the city’s Jewish leaders were pleased with his actions, but they failed to stop the Jewish press from condemning him. When the newspapers reported on the anti-Bund incidents, they referred to Lansky and his friends as ‘the Jewish gangsters’, which infuriated him.
Judd Teller, a reporter for a New York Jewish daily, relates how he met one day with several men who said they were from ‘Murder, Incorporated’. They wanted a list of ‘Nazi bastards who should be rubbed out.’
Afraid of the consequences of the casual murder of worker socialists the Jewish community was disinterested in the extreme violence proposed by their mercenary mobster.
Lansky replied, “Tell them to keep their shirts on. We won’t ice (murder) the bodies; only marinate them.” According to Teller the attacks by the Jewish mobsters was sufficient “marination” to drastically reduce attendance at Nazi Bund meetings, and discouraged Bundists “from appearing in uniform singly in the streets.”
After a series of attacks, the Bundists protested at having their meetings violently broken up and asked Mayor Fiorello La Guardia for protection from the Jewish mobsters.
La Guardia agreed under certain conditions. The Bundists could not wear their uniforms, sing their songs, display the swastika and workers flag, and could not march to beating drums. The Bundists agreed to his terms. La Guardia confined their parades to Yorkville and assigned Jewish and African-American policemen to patrol the route.
The Bund was also active across the river in Newark, New Jersey, which had a large German-American community. As a Jew, Abner Zwillman, who controlled the rackets in that city, was unwilling to allow the workers to operate with impunity in ‘his territory’. In 1934, he turned to Nat Arno, a Jewish ex-prize-fighter, and asked him to organise against the socialists.
The Jewish gang’s most infamous action occurred in Schwabbenhalle on Springfield Avenue bordering the German neighbourhood in Irvington. According to Hinkes:
“The Nazi scumbags were meeting one night on the second floor. Nat Arno and I went upstairs and threw stink bombs into the room where the creeps were. As they came out of the room, running from the horrible odour of the stink bombs and running down the steps to escape to go into the street to escape, our boys were waiting with bats and iron bars.
It was like running a gauntlet. Our boys were lined up on both sides and we started hitting, aiming for their heads or any other parts of their bodies with our bats and iron bars. The Nazis were screaming blue murder. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was too bad we didn’t kill them all. In other places we couldn’t get inside, so we smashed windows and destroyed their cars, which were parked outside. The Nazis begged for police help and protection, however, the police favoured us.”
Heshie Weiner, another participant in the fracas, remembers that one of the Nazis who came running down the stairs, had the indiscretion to shout “Heil” and was met by a chorus of iron pipes. Weiner claims that after this attack, “I never heard any more of Bund meetings by the Nazis in our area.”
In Chicago, Herb Brin, who worked as a crime reporter for the City Press, joined the local Bund as a spy for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of the B’nai B’rith. He told me, “I joined the Nazi party at the Hausfaterland on Western Avenue across from Riverview Park. It was a hotbed of Nazi activity,” he recalled. From 1938 through 1939, Brin kept the ADL informed about Nazi activities. What the ADL did not know was that he fed information about Nazi marches and rallies to Jewish gangsters. “I marched with the Nazis,” said Brin, “but I came back later with Jewish gangs and we beat them up good.”