A crowd of 20,000 gives the Nazi salute while swastikas flank a giant portrait of George Washington.
Unimaginable to most Americans, the pro-Hitler rally that took place 80 years ago inside New York’s Madison Square Garden is the subject of a short documentary that’s up for an Oscar.
The seven-minute film shows Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the pro-Nazi German American Bund, decrying “the Jewish-controlled press” and demanding “a socially just, white, gentile-ruled United States.”
Documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry said that after learning about the 1939 Bund rally, which he could barely believe had happened, he asked a researcher friend to help him locate archival footage of the Feb. 20, 1939, event.
“Once he pulled it all together and I saw it, I thought it was very surreal and frightening, and I wanted to find a way to make something of it and share it with the world,” Curry said.
“A Night at the Garden” is one of five films in contention for best documentary, short subject, at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.