25 Main St., Newtown, CT 06470. Phone: 203-426-4533.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY WITNESSES SOUTHBURY'S RESISTANCE TO HITLER. By 1937 Hitler had been in power for four years and had begun spreading his tentacles beyond Germany to the rest of Europe and even to America. One means of expansion was the German American Bund, or association for German American youth. Ostensibly a camp to promote American values and outdoor pursuits, the real purpose was to establish Nazi principles on American soil. A camp was planned in the then-back woods of Southbury, where it might attract little attention. The Newtown Historical Society will examine the plans for the camp and the resistance that developed in Southbury in a program Monday evening, April 13, at 7.30 PM, in the meeting room of the Booth Library, 25 Main Street, with a screening of the video "Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said No to the Nazis." A representative of the Bund had purchased 178 acres in Southbury to establish a companion camp to the more than 20 already operating in America, but suspicions were aroused among the residents. Even as the Bund was clearing the land for the organization that required an oath of racial purity and adherence to Nazi philosophy, the Rev. M.E.N. Lindsay, pastor of the South Britain Congregational Church, and Rev. Felix Manley, both of the then-Southbury Congregational Church, began to protest their efforts. After researching the organization, the pastors publicly denounced the movement in their sermons as an "insidious menace," anti-Christian and anti-American. The stir awakened wider efforts throughout the town, and a committee was formed to create zoning rules that would keep the Bund from operation. Petitions were circulated and resolutions passed, expressing the wide-spread opposition within the town. The draft of the zoning regulation banned use of the land for "military training with or without arms except by the legally constituted armed forces of the United States of America." Faced with the growing wall of opposition, the Bund abandoned both the land and the town of Southbury in any future plans. Southbury's resistance did not escape notice in Germany: Lindsay received a letter from Nazi officials promising that he and his family "would be remembered" when the Nazis came to power in the United States. All historical society programs are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.