College library exhibit tells chilling tale of Nazism on Long Island


By Eric Santucci

SELDEN- The college set up a historical exhibit in the Huntington Library recounting the pre-World War II Nazi community in Yaphank, Long Island.

The exhibit, entitled, “Goose Stepping In Long Island: Camp Siegfried,” provides vivid images and backstory details about a German-American Nazi summer camp in operation in Yaphank between 1935 and 1939. The exhibit is open to students, staff and visitors in the Huntington Library of the Ammerman Campus until Oct. 28. Admission to the exhibit is free.

“This is simply an eye-opening exhibit,” said executive dean James Sherwood in a college brief. “The pictures in it depict a darker side of Long Island, with photos of goose stepping American Nazis in Yaphank and a map of Brookhaven with streets like Hitler Way and Goering Street.”

The exhibit includes chilling photos and facts about Camp Siegfried and the home-grown Nazi community situated in Yaphank prior to and during WWII. In one such example, the banner of the Nazi swastika flies right below the stars and stripes of an American flag in an artist’s rendition of Camp Siegfried.

In parts of the exhibit it was further explained that the camp had acted almost identically to Nazi Germany; spreading its own messages of anti-Semitism to its children and followers right here on American soil.

“It’s scary how they [Nazis] used ‘Americanism’ to justify evil,” said Suffolk student Tom Lyon.

As explained by the exhibit, Camp Siegfried had flourished in Yaphank for a time, gathering support from the German-American Bund community until its eventual closure in 1939 due to growing anti-German sentiment at the start of World War II.

The “Goose Stepping” exhibit was donated to Suffolk’s Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding by the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center of Queensborough Community College.

The Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center has in the past housed countless exhibits, lectures, and seminars to enlighten visitors and students about the tragedies surrounding the Holocaust as well as other social and racial phenomena. The center also archives hundreds of documents and source material available for public viewing.

The Suffolk Community College Center on the Holocaust, Diversity and Human Understanding is situated in the Huntington Library and sponsors other events and exhibits surrounding the Holocaust and World War II history year-round. The center provides and sponsors guest speakers such as Holocaust survivors, as well as documentary films and seminars that reflect on the time period.

The “Goose Stepping In Long Island: Camp Siegfried” exhibit is currently available for viewing on the first floor of the Huntington Library of the Selden campus until Oct. 28. Contact Steven Schrier at (631)-451-4700 for more information.

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