A Night at the Garden, chilling short about 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/12/a-night-at-the-garden-chilling-short-about-1939-nazi-rally-at-madison-square-garden.html

Today’s MAGAts and modern America Firsters are direct ideological descendants of these Nazi scumbags. Fascists and RWA followers have been present in America in far larger numbers for a far more continuous period of time than our society is comfortable admitting (general white supremacy even more so). The fight against them goes on, and we have our own historical role models to follow:

The Mighty Atom was in New York that year when he passed a building, about to host a Nazi rally. One sign high on the wall read “No Jews or Dogs Allowed”. Yosselle Greenstein had left that garbage behind in the old country. He wasn’t about to tolerate it here.

He bought a ladder, and climbed up and tore the thing down. Twenty streamed out of the building, bent on beating the man into giblets. When it was over, eighteen had been sent to the hospital.

A few weeks later, the combatants were in court. Eighteen in the plaintiffs dock, and one small defendant. The judge asked Greenstein about the fight. “It wasn’t a fight” he said, “It was a pleasure”. The case was dismissed.


In blog view at least the videos are out of sync with the posts. So I read the headline about the Nazi rally, and see a video of a horse being reintroduced to its mate after two years. It could be amusing if we weren’t in the middle of an actual attempted fascist coup in the world’s most powerful democracy.

Now that is a story about a real american.


Another short documentary about fascism in America, this one concerning Wm. D Pelley and the Silver Legion.


Mostly dead now; unmissed and unloved.


I believe this is the event in which Dorothy Thompson, one of the most read columnists in the USA at the time, wife of Sinclair Lewis, author of It Can’t Happen Here, and a foreign correspondent who had interviewed Hitler in Germany, heckled the speakers, was roughed up, and had to be escorted out.


This looks like a bigger crowd than the one at Drumpf’s inauguration. Progress, mayhap?


We like to point, agahst at “America”… And forget that Edward and Wallis Simpson met with and supported Hitler:

– In July 1940, Edward was appointed [Governor of the Bahamas]
Edward reportedly told an acquaintance, “After the war is over and Hitler will crush the Americans … we’ll take over … They [the British] don’t want me as their king, but I’ll be back as their leader.”[107] He was reported as saying that “it would be a tragic thing for the world if Hitler was overthrown”

That the Republic of Ireland felt that Hitlers Germany would “give back” the land that England took and sheltered escaped nazis after the war.

Even Henry Ford was a nazi sympathizer (not to mention Lindburgh).


No thanks. If I want to see Nazis, I’ll watch C-SPAN.

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I’d never heard that story before; thank you.


The incident took place right after the fascists had been emboldened by the rally. Here’s another, more detailed, telling:

Shortly after a huge Nazi rally in Madison Square Garden in February, 1939, the Mighty Atom found himself walking through Manhattan’s Yorkville German section on a business matter. He stopped in his tracks at a sign in bold letters posted on a building’s second floor: “NO DOGS OR JEWS ALLOWED!”

He stared at it for a while before inquiring of a passerby, “What the hell is that?” He was informed that a Nazi Bund meeting was being conducted upstairs. He went across the street to a paint store, where with a three-dollar deposit, he rented an 18-foot ladder. Back he came and opened it beneath the sign. Returning across the street, this time to a sporting-goods store, he purchased a Louisville slugger baseball bat—a “Hank Greenberg Model.” He parked it in the doorway beneath the sign.

He went up the ladder, tore the sign down, and tossed it into the gutter. The operation had not gone unnoticed. Several of the Nazis looked out aghast from the second-floor window. The action which followed was in the best tradition of a Popeye cartoon. Before the Atom could climb down from his high perch, the entire Bund assembly had come charging down the stairs into the street.

The Mighty Atom was shaken off his ladder, but he came up bat in hand. They came at him singly and in numbers, frontally and encircling; all to no avail. “It wasn’t a fight,” Joe said later, “it was a pleasure.” He sent eighteen of them to the hospital in various stages of extreme disrepair. He sustained a black eye.

Hauled into court on a charge of aggravated assault, mass mayhem, and so forth, a bedraggled but surprisingly cheerful Joe Greenstein stood meekly and alone before the bench, his only compatriot the “mouse” under his eye. A white-haired judge looked solemnly down as the charge was read. The jurist could hardly believe that the mild, little man before him could have perpetrated such an assault. Then, he surveyed the victims before him, a veritable parade of broken joints, purple contusions, and awkwardly plastered and wired limbs. The battered Aryans filled half the courtroom.

“You mean this little man . . . did that . . . to all of them?” the judge inquired in disbelief.

“Yes, Your Honor,” nodded an eyewitness police sergeant. “Them that ain’t still in the hospital.”

The judge turned his attention to the defendant. “Mr. Greenstein, these are serious charges. Do you have anything to say?”

“Yessir, Judge.” The Atom brightened. “Every time I swung the bat it was a home run!”

Quietly, the judge inquired of the sergeant what had provoked such a clash. “Them’re Nazis, Your Honor,” the officer whispered. “They went after him.”

“NOT GUILTY! CASE DISMISSED!” The judge banged his gavel.

“But, Your Honor . . .” the Bund’s lawyer protested. “I said, case dismissed.” The gavel boomed again with finality, and the judge retired to his chambers.


Swing away, Yosselle.


No thanks. I’ve already seen this. It is vile and I have no desire to see it again.

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