'A Night at the Garden': Oscar-Nominated Doc Captures Nazi Rally at Madison Square Garden

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“A Night at the Garden,” is an Academy Award-nominated short documentary that uses archival footage to detail a 1939 American Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

The seven-minute doc shows 20,000 people gathering for the rally, many of them part of the Bund, the American Nazi party at the time.

"There's no voiceover, there are no interviews," director Marshall Curry told Inside Edition. "It sort of parachutes the viewer into this rally and without explanation.

"When you first arrive, you see people protesting outside. Maybe not so sure what's going on," he continued. "The marquee outside describes it as a Pro-America Rally … then you start to look a little closer and you realize that there are swastikas on either side ... and that the people are holding flags that have swastikas, and they start to do the Nazi salute.” 

The rally, Curry said, uses the icons of American patriotism to sell anti-Semitism and hate.

In the footage, a Jewish protester, Isadore Greenbaum, grew so mad at what he was seeing that he ran onstage, where he was beaten and humiliated. 

“It's a really brutal and just sort of frightening moment,” Curry said. “It sort of triggers this sort of mob mentality that allows them to laugh and cheer as somebody gets beaten up. And as somebody speaks hatred toward a group of people that are going to be murdered by the millions in the next couple of years.”

Curry said part of the point of the film is to showcase how we are vulnerable to our leaders.

“We're vulnerable to leaders who take symbols of things that we love, the American flag, and the national anthem, and use those to make us hate each other, and hate groups of minorities, or Muslims, or African Americans, or whatever,” he said. “I think that the film shows that we have to be vigilant about defending the values that we think are important. About defending tolerance, and defending kindness, and defending respect for different kinds of people in America.”


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