Author Arnie Bernstein Speaks

Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Time: 4 p.m.
Phone: (517) 346-9900
The EVERYbody Reads Bookstore in conjunction with Congregation Kehillat Israel is very pleased to announce a very special evening with author Arnie Bernstein to discuss his newest book, \"Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund.\" \"Swastika Nation\" is the true story of Fritz Kuhn and the rise of the German-American Bund, a pro-Nazi group of the 1930s. At their height in 1939, the Bund packed 20,000 people into Madison Square Garden for a so-called Washington's Birthday rally. Outside the Garden, 100,000 protestors wanted to get at Kuhn and his minions. And beyond the protestors was a wild amalgamation of disparate characters all aimed at taking down the Bund with their own unique methods. The Bund was a small, but powerful national movement, determined to conquer the United States government with a fascist dictatorship. It seems ludicrous now, but what if they had succeeded? The Bund met in private social halls and beer garden backrooms, gathered at private resorts and public rallies, and developed their own version of the SS and Hitler Youth. They even published a national newspaper, and %u2013 for a brief moment of their own imagined glory %u2013 seemed poised to make an impact on American politics.nnWhile the Bund kept trying to live out their dreams a multi-faceted and divergent group of people came together to stop them. Walter Winchell used the power of his newspaper column. New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia teamed with District Attorney Thomas Dewey to bring Kuhn to justice after catching him embezzling Bund money to pay for his extramarital expenses. In Washington DC, Congressman Samuel Dickstein formed the House Committee on Un-American Activities specifically to investigate the Bund. And powerful members of the Jewish Mafia in the U.S. %u2013 Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen and Longy Zwillman, and others %u2013 used their connections to put down Bund activities. There were other significant names of the time that played roles in this drama: Henry Ford, Bugsy Siegel, Jack Ruby, and so many others.nnArnie Bernstein prides himself as a researcher and his talents are on full display in SWASTIKA NATION. Inspired by events of his childhood growing up in the Chicago area, when, in 1978 a group of self-described Nazis tried to march on Skokie, Illinois, Bernstein investigated fringe groups like the American Nazis, Aryan Nation, and other such militias, and this led him to learn more about Kuhn and the Bund. The result is a thorough examination of a movement that could have had catastrophic results for American society had they succeeded. His book is a story of good guys and bad guys, and those that fell in between. But they united for a common cause: to root out an organization bent on the destruction of the American way of life and liberty.nnSWASTIKA NATION is a sometimes funny, sometimes harrowing, and constantly compelling story of a time in our nation where freedom was at risk. nnThe event is free and is open to the public. Swastika Nation and Bernstein's earlier book, The Bath Massacre will be available for purchase with all proceeds of book sales going to Kehillat's Israel to support their social justice mission.n