New York: Army Vets Fight Nazis!


100 World War 1 Veterans Against 1000 Nazis!

When? April 1938.
Where? The Yorkville Casino.
During the Great Depression many 
flirted with radical politics.
Despite the name, the Yorkville Casino was no place of gambling. It was a popular night spot in New York. A dance hall, it was also one of the only places in the city that showed German movies.

Then and Now

The world was still in Depression but the German economy was booming. Some Americans believed fascism would provide the government of the future.
Leader of the Nazis and noted Charlie 
Chaplin impersonator, Adolf Hitler turns 49.

Hitler just turned 49 and the Nazis were celebrating his birthday when the riot squads were called in. Some Vets, many of which were Jewish and Roman Catholic, were infuriated by the display of unAmericaness.

Outside the German Workers Club and the Young Patriots, two groups which opposed Nazis, were picketing. But the Vets went in to audit the party.

Listening to the speeches they became enraged. Speakers were praising how Hitler had taken over Austria and called for Roosevelt to recognize it as a unified Germany. The vets claimed that they were saying a lot more than that and were being disparaging to the President. The fights started when one jumped up and shouted, "Is this an American meeting or a German meeting?"

The Vets were older, outnumbered, and easy to recognize
 in the scuffle because they proudly wore their blue hats.

They were older and they wore their blue Vet caps so they were easily recognizable. They were also vastly outnumbered by the drunken Nazis who were partying and enthusiastic for their Führer. 7 of the vets were sent to the hospital and many others later went home to treat their wounds.

It took about 100 policemen to quell the riot.

Veterans William Jerke and and Jacob Caback, both in their forties, were arrested for fighting. A 17-year-old Storm Trooper, Otto Geisler, was charged with carrying a dagger.

And four years later the entire world would be embroiled in war.

More on the history of the Yorkville Casino:

  • THEN & NOW THE YORKVILLE CASINO - NY Daily News
    Think of the word "casino," and what comes to mind? Visions of Las Vegas and Atlantic City? Well, 50 years ago the residents of the upper East Side got together at the Yorkville Casino, where the last thing on anybody's mind was gambling.
But Wait...


Was It Really The Police That Broke Up The Fight?
Known as the Mob's accountant, Meyer Lansky was one of the most powerful Mobster's in America. As he got older he began to realize that his life had really been about sunshine and puppy dogs and that, after all, he had not been that bad of a guy after all. He began to boast that it had not been the police who shut down the riot but, instead, his gang.

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