Nazis in Long Island, Communists in Manhattan: NYPD’s “Alien Squad” Archives

April 11, 2014 | Marina Galperina

The New York City Department of Records has just released 30,000 more photographs to their online archive, particularly touting 187 new images taken by the NYPD’s Alien Squad in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The purpose of the Alien Squad was to monitor “potentially subversive organizations throughout the five boroughs.”

Among them is a set of photos from the German American Bund’s summer retreat in Yaphank, Long Island. It was 1938 and these guys thought that the Nazi party in Germany was pretty alright, so they got together over at “Camp Siegried” to sit around in uniforms and talk about Nazi party stuff. They even planted a Swastika-shaped flower beds. And now they’re history’s assholes in the NYC Municipal Archives.

The Alien Squad also documented Communist meetings at Madison Square Garden. Various historical books point to the Alien Squad’s “surveillance and harassment of labor radicals in the needle trades and food service industry, using third-degree tactics to try to drive organizers out of town or into jail.” They were so vigilant, even “the FBI did not know about the full extent of surveillance operations undertaken by the NYPD under Mayor La Guardia’s direction.”

See the gallery above for more pre-WWII Nazi assholes and one “suspicious” man doing the Russian dance up on the Madison Square Stage. (Images: NYC Municipal Archives)