When the Bund marched in Manhattan

In October 1938, the Nazis came to the U.S. in the form of a parade on 86th Street, held by an organization called the German American Bund. Headquartered in the then–heavily German neighborhood of Yorkville, the Bund was run by Americans of German descent who thought that Hitler was onto something as he ravaged Europe and planned to take over the world.

About 800 marchers carrying American and Nazi flags got started on East End Avenue, heading toward Lexington. Watching them were 1,300 policemen, there to keep order in case fights broke out. Only a few scuffles did.


The marchers weren’t totally welcome; they were greeted with a mix of heils and boos. Mayor La Guardia condemned the parade and accused organizers of inciting racial hatred. 

The Bund continued to gather steam, organizing an anti-American rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939 that attracted 20,000 people. But when Pearl Harbor was attacked and America entered World War II, many Bund members were sent to internment camps, and the group withered away.

Tags: , , ,

27 Responses to “When the Bund marched in Manhattan”

  1. petey Says:

    thanks so much for bringing this to people’s attention. when i was growing up there were still neonazi rallies in yorkville. i can remember a platform set up facing the avenue in the block of 83rd-84th street. somebody orated, while a goon faced the sidewalk screaming “get out of here you dirty jews! we don’t need you!” i wouldn’t believe this could have happened – in the 1960s! – if i hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    That is really shocking, and in the 1960s too. Thanks for the info.

  3. petey Says:

    it’s so shocking that occasionally i doubt my memory, but indeed it went on. i once had a blind date with a jewish girl on the west side who said she’d be wary of visiting me on the east side because of the bund. she was playing it up, but there was certainly a kernel of truth in it.

  4. natbaker Says:

    what part of 86th street is that, can anybody tell?

  5. petey Says:

    i think the sign above Jacob Herrlich Sons says ‘332’.

  6. Quid plura? | "I need a phone call, I need a raincoat..." Says:

    […] Ephemeral New York has photos of the time the Nazis paraded in Manhattan. […]

  7. Nazis for neighbors « STEVENHARTSITE Says:

    […] — the “New Jersey Nazis,” as they were known. You can laugh about it now, but as Ephemeral New York reminds us, there was a time when the Bund was no […]

  8. Victor Ernst Says:

    The Jacob Herrlich Sons, Inc. Funeral Chapel (pictured in the photo) was founded in 1875 by Jacob Herrlich. The firm was continued for three generations by the same family. Under the direction of a grandson, [the late] Herbert J. Herrlich, the firm merged with the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Church in the early 1950’s. For quite a number of years Herbert J. Herrlich was a manager of Campbell’s. He died in the early 1980’s. The building in the photograph was located at 332 East 86th Street. After the merger with Campbell’s it was closed. However a second Herrlich location, on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, continued on for some time. Victor C. Ernst, Toronto.

    • Anne Marie Stapf Says:

      My great grandfather was Christian Herrlich of C. Herrlich Bros. undertakers. Would you know if Jacob and Christian were related? I have been working on my family tree and the Herrlichs are very difficult for me to follow! Any info you can provide would be appreciated. Christian lived in the Bronx, Woodlawn Heights neighborhood and his son Henry (my grandfather) was also an undertaker.
      Thank you

      • Lisa Pierce Says:

        Dear Ms. Stapf,

        I have recently come across a very old paper fan with an advertisement for “Jacob Herrlich Sons Funeral Directors”. I am not sure what year the fan is from but it does list two locations for their business. One was the Yorkville Memorial Chapel and the other was the Tremont Funeral Home.

        There is a humerous piece of ad on the back entitled “What– No Charge of Music”.

        Would you be interested in buying this historical piece? I ask only for a fair price that you feel is worth having the fan. It has a beautiful waterfall scene on the front and is good shape. I also have a second fan that has some water damage but no advertisement on the back. The fans look so much alike I can only guess they are from the same establishment.

        Please let me know whether you are interested or not. I will be happy to provide pictures you are interested.

      • Jim Roewer Says:

        Anne – If you are still out there, I have some info on the Herrlich family — we probably share a 4th or 5th grandparent – George Ruth

    • Lisa Pierce Says:

      Mr. Ernst,
      In searching for Jacob Herrich Sons on-line I came across your comment on Ephemeral New York regarding some history related to the Funeral Directors. In my travels I have come across a very old looking hand-held paper fan with an advertisement of their place of business on it. There is a lovely waterfall picture on the front with a black bear standing at the bottom of the falls. On the back of the fan their is an advertisement piece about not charging for music at their funerals.

      I am not sure if you could give me any information about the year of this fan but I would be most appreciative of any one I could contact about the fan’s worth.

      Thank you so much for your help and consideration.

  9. When East 79th Street was “Little Hungary” « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] though some German food specialty stores still exist along East 86th Street, the “German Boulevard” is nothing like it was in its […]

  10. WHAMMO! Says:

    FYI: That view is from the NE corner of 2nd avenue @ 86th street looking towards 1st Avenue.

  11. WHAMMO! Says:

    I believe that building on the far right is where M. Rohr’s Coffee is currently.


  12. Robert Gerard Says:

    I believe the correct date of the march was October 30, 1939…not 1938.

    The photograph was taken from the North side of 86th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue.

  13. Green daisy Says:

    So, would it be fair to say that something positive came out of the internment camp situation? That the Bund wasn’t able to gather steam?

  14. Three ways of looking at East 86th Street « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] life through the 20th century. This new Kleindeutschland was a hub for German food, culture, and politics for […]

  15. Eileen Ahern White Henderson Says:

    Petey ,I remember the platforms also along 2and ave and could not remember what the rallies were about but that I remember them happening in the 1960’s and the police use to go ontop of my roof when these rallies took place and I remember one time , as a child , I had looked out the window to see what was going on and a police officer yelled up at me to get inside my window and not to look outside , I also remember the police carrying rifles or something similar . When I use to talk about this happening , no one I knew remembered it , I was glad to see Petey’s post that it did indeed happened and my memory did not fail me .

  16. It Happened One Weekend: 2nd Ave Line Drives High Prices; Roomies Stay in ‘Burg – insiderater.com Says:

    […] is What’s Up With Rich People? Long the territory of recent college grads and the occasional Nazi , the section east of Third Avenue on the Upper East Side is attracting more and more rich people. […]

  17. rdmumma Says:

    Reblogged this on R.D. Mumma and commented:
    Here’s a photograph that’s mentioned in Chapter 6 of “Fire Answers Fire,” a novel which will be available at all major ebook outlets on May 1 (and can currently be pre-ordered at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and at the iTunes store).
    According to the Library of Congress record, this photo was taken on October 30, 1939 (not ’38) and originally appeared in the New York World-Telegram.

  18. Michael Washington Says:

    Did the 149 street and Grand Concourse station have a chandelier. On the lower level.

  19. A lethal bomb goes off at the 1940 World’s Fair | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] police unable to trace the call that warned about the bomb, they rounded up “Bundists, Fascists, or members of the Christian Front” who were attending open-air meetings in […]

  20. Mike Greenwood Says:

    Iwas trying to find the year the Mayer Lansky Mob claim to have broken up an early 1930s German American Bund rally. As I have not found it yet. Any one know?

  21. Mark Says:

    In the mid to late 30’s Meyer Lansky and his gang happily, efficiently and effectively beat the living daylights out of so many German Bund members that Lansky greatly disrupted their entire system. Lansky was given strict orders not to kill them, but short of throwing them out of windows, beating them with pipes, breaking bones etc. he and his gang showed relentless pursuit of them wherever and whenever they attempted to organize in NYC. The mafia offered assistance to Lansky but he refused stating ” this a Jewish fight and we can handle them ourselves”. This piece of American history is often forgotten but it is fact.
    It’s a myth for anyone to think Jews then, or Jews now are a ” pushover race “. Israel personifies what the Jewish people have amassed as a defense. There can be no denial that the Jews were effectively out gunned, out maneuvered, and reduced to sheep by the powerful German army in WWII. It also can’t be denied that the real reason the Germans couldn’t produce the atom bomb first was simply because they either killed, or lost access to, the best scientific Jewish minds of the time that went on to build the bomb for us in the USA. Oppenheimer, Einstein ( although Einstein not officially part of the Manhattan project was still instrumental in helping the others produce the bomb ) and a few others. Heisenberg left pretty much alone in Germany was unable to succeed. The master race unable to beat out the Jews that were simply smarter and more talented.
    There are many Jews like myself with zero fear of racist skinheads that want to eliminate us. We are empowered by true stories like those of Meyer Lansky. And while I don’t agree with his illegal and violent crime syndicate, I am all for every second he committed to disrupting the Nazis here in MY country. My father served proudly in Korea, as did other members of my family.
    Now when I see some clown dressed up in Nazi garb I just laugh.
    Really I do.

  22. Linda Says:

    Regarding Herrlich Brothers Undertakers: The death certificate for one of my ancestors, who died at 3256 Third Avenue, Bronx, lists “C Herrlich & Bro” as the undertaker. Their place of business is 3305 3rd Ave, NYC.

  23. Linda Says:

    The Herrlich brothers who were undertakers are listed in the 1915 Trow’s City Directory as William and Christian. More info in there. Available on Google Books.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: