NEW DOCUMENTARY FOCUSES ON 1939 NAZI RALLY OF 20,000 IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
Did you know there was a rally of more than 20,000 Americans in support of the Nazis in New York City in 1939? Did you know that it took place in Madison Square Garden and that it was a packed and lively affair? One photo of the event shows the crowd and stage layout, with a banner sign on one side that reads “Stop Jewish Domination of Christian Americans.” Even though this is a known, if persistently forgotten piece of history, there is now a short documentary that pieces more of this event together in tighter focus.
DOCUMENTARY COMBINES ALL CURRENTLY KNOWN FOOTAGE OF THAT NIGHT
The seven-minute documentary gives a much more detailed look at what took place on February 20th, 1939. It was produced by Field of Vision and directed by two-time Oscar nominee Marshall Collins and featured a collection of all the known footage of the event together. It is beyond disturbing to see this crowd of people pledge allegiance to the American flag and then proceed to throw out the Nazi salute immediately after. Clearly, Trump rallies have precedent going back almost eight decades in the United States.
DISTURBING EVENING SHOWS OLD ROOTS OF WHAT IS NOW A MAJOR ELEMENT OF TRUMPISM
“When I found out that it had been filmed, I asked an archival researcher, Rich Remsberg, to see what he could find,” Curry says in a new Q&A about the film.
“It turned out that short clips had been used in history documentaries before, but no one seemed to have collected together all of the scraps of footage—there was some at the National Archives, some at UCLA’s archive, some at other places,” Curry continued.
The entire 7-minute film, titled “A Night at the Garden,” is available for free on Vimeo. And it’s really quite a disturbing artifact from an era when far too many Americans were cozy with the Nazi regime.
VIOLENCE AT RALLY DISTURBINGLY FAMILIAR TO TRUMP EVENTS
The documentary is simple, but there’s also a good deal of artistry in not only the music, but the ways in which the shots are presented.
When a protester storms the stage the first thing you notice is the obvious savagery of the Nazis beating up the man. But the director zooms in on things to help focus your eye, and the less obvious becomes even more grotesque. Case in point, we see a young Nazi child mock the way that the man ran, clearly delighted that there was violence happening just a few feet away.
And the slow motion take of the protester being both beat up and carted away is devastating for those of us in 2017 who know that the brutal torture and murder of the Nazi concentration camps are well underway across the Atlantic.
WHITE SUPREMACY, ANTI-SEMITISM, NAZISM HAVE ALWAYS HAD AMERICAN FANS
“We’d like to think that when Nazism rose up, all Americans were instantly appalled,” Curry says about the era. “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.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the video you can read an interview with director Marshall Curry here.