On September 25, 1937, Wolfgang Jung purchased 178 acres of land in Southbury, Connecticut for the German-American Bund, intent on building a Nazi camp. Similar camps were popping up around the nation, in an effort to promote an antisemitic and pro-Nazi agenda. The residents of Southbury quickly united to fight back against this Nazi invasion of their town. Organized by the Reverend M.E.N. Lindsay, the Reverend Felix Manley, First Selectman Ed Coer and town leaders, the townspeople established a zoning commission whose first ordinance forbade land usage in the town for “military training or drilling with or without arms except by the legally constituted armed forces of the United States of America.” The ruling effectively closed Southbury to the Bund. Southbury was the only Government that stood up to Nazis before the end of 1937.
Until 2012, this important story was not well-known to many people in Southbury, let along people who lived elsewhere. In November 2012, a documentary film about the events of 1937 premiered to a full auditorium at Pomperaug High School: "Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said NO to the Nazis". Residents of the town, whether they were born and raised here or had moved here more recently, have since felt enormous pride in the story. The story has now become part of the local, state and national discussion.
Links to Related Documentaries
Museums, Presentations and Archival Information
After publishing a children’s historical fiction book called Lois’s Story: A Young Girl’s Inspiration Helps to Stop Hate and Fear, Ed Edelson and Rabbi Polokoff worked with Erin Birden (Region 15’s Teacher in Residence for Diversity and Cultural Competency) to prepare an Educator’s Guide and an Inquiry Model for using the book in fourth Grades. The book is available at the Southbury Historical Society and at the Southbury Public Library. You can view the Educator’s Guide and the Inquiry Model at these links, as well as the video from the June 2022 webinar sponsored by the CT Department of Education:
[Back to Contents]
In November 2022, the Town came together again to revisit the story, reflect on what has been learned since 2012, and explore the salient messages this story has for young and old alike. The weekend of activities was very successful. A number of recommendations for future activities to continue to commemorate the story from 1937 were presented by the Steering Committee to the Board of Selectmen.
Below are many of the materials from that weekend.
Southbury Community Trust Fund and Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut