Remembering when 20,000 Nazis took over Madison Square Garden: VIDEO

First as tragedy, then as farce. Many have remarked that the deadly Nazi marches in Charlottesville feel like horrific parodies of the racist uprising that occurred during the Civil Rights movement. But mass displays of hate didn’t only occur in the South. In New York City, gatherings of white supremacists and anti-Semites were an uncomfortable fact of life that began virtually as early as the Nazi movement itself.

For example, in 1939, some 20,000 Nazi supporters gathered in Madison Square Garden to rally in celebration of George Washington’s birthday. The footage from the event is pretty shocking, but in the wake of what we have all seen in the last week it feels eerily relevant.

We wouldn’t call this a high-quality documentary exactly, but it does a pretty good job giving a cursory overview of this low point in history.

And in case that left you feeling pretty low, there is a small silver lining. After the war, Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund who led the rally, got the boot and died in obscurity.