You all have heard of me.
On February 20, 1939, Fritz Kuhn—a naturalized American citizen of German heritage who would later be deported—held a pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden under the auspices of “pro-America” sentiments for Gentile-Americans looking to escape the Jewish-led media and Jewish Moscow-directed domination of labor unions. Twenty thousand white men and women attended with arms raised in Adolf Hitler’s salute towards this German American Bund leader against a backdrop of George Washington next to swastikas, stars, and stripes. Children cheered as twenty-plus police officers accosted a protestor, dragging him off the stage while Kuhn laughed. And some still wonder why we say white supremacy is alive and well today.
Director Marshall Curry doesn’t have to do anything but show this footage as it occurred with the briefest of statistical facts at the end to describe what else was happening at the time. He doesn’t have to follow it up with the parallel events we’ve witnessed at Charlottesville or elsewhere these past two years. He doesn’t even have to put a red and white MAGA hat-wearing “patriot” on display spewing hate towards the “mainstream media” to drive home the comparison. No, those contemporary images are ingrained in our minds thanks to a twenty-four hour news cycle ensuring we can’t sleep without knowing what’s happening. The hope here is then to jog the memories of the complacent, deluded, and ignorant.
We’re in the midst of an abhorrent cycle’s rebirth we thought we were smart enough to avoid. Some will label it something else, but you can’t deny the similarities. To therefore acknowledge how it’s genesis is here this time with operational concentration camps and walls threatening to be built only shows the audacity of this group claiming to support veterans all while spitting on the graves of those who died to prevent what they’ve been instrumental in creating. Curry’s A Night at the Garden may not seem like much on its own—simple newsreel footage—but its contextual existence speaks volumes. He’s put it together on PBS’ POV platform so nobody can pretend they didn’t realize history was on repeat.