Suburb Founded by Nazi-Sympathizers Still Excludes Non-Whites, Lawsuit
Suburb Founded by Nazi-Sympathizers Still Excludes Non-Whites, Lawsuit © AP Photo/ John Flavell
03:33 22.10.2015(updated 10:04 22.10.2015) Get short URL
A New York suburb established by Nazi sympathizers prior to World War II still uses discriminatory housing practices to ensure its residents remain white, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
A couple who lived in Yaphank, Long Island – about 65 miles east of New York City – claims the organization that owns the land under their house enforces bylaws requiring homeowners to be primarily of German ancestry, Reuters reports.
In a lawsuit filed on Monday in federal court, Philip Kneer and Patricia Flynn-Kneer said the German American Settlement League (GASL) had violated federal housing law.
The couple, who each have German ancestry, bought the home in 1999 after being accepted as (GASL) members. When they decided to sell, they were barred from advertising the home and instead were required to use the league’s internal bulletin, the lawsuit said.
The league owns the land in Siegfried Park, a residential community in Yaphank, and rents out approximately 50 lots to its members, according to the lawsuit.
“Since its incorporation in 1937, the GASL has excluded non-whites from its membership, recreational programs, and summer homes in favor of new residents with German ancestry,” the complaint said.
Robert Kessler, the league’s president, told the New York Times that the community’s rules were misunderstood and not exclusionary.
The league was founded as an affiliate of the German-American Bund, an organization of Nazi sympathizers. Siegfried Park, then known as Camp Siegfried, was built to promote German culture in 1935, according to the Yaphank historical society.
The camp hosted huge pro-Nazi rallies in the 1930s, when families would travel from New York on the “Camp Siegfried Special” train, according to historical accounts.