The German American Bund was formed in 1936 to promote the causes of Nazi Germany in the United States. It was open to Americans of German descent, provided they could prove they had no black or Jewish ancestry. These guys were openly Nazis, like, not even the kind who think they can hide behind fake irony and shitty frog memes. Their flag was a swastika shooting out of an iron cross. So: fuck these guys entirely. [...] They dissolved shortly after Pearl Harbor, when being openly a Nazi temporarily went out of style in the US, and everyone tried to pretend there hadn't been a 25,000 member organization of Americans dedicated to helping Hitler win.
The German-American Bund had a lot of meetings in areas with high immigrant (read: Jewish) populations. One of those places was New York City. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia affirmed that Nazis were allowed to meet, and were entitled to police protection, but he made sure the cops guarding their meetings were mostly black or Jewish. So that was... passive aggressive. But then there was another local political figure: Judge Nathan D. Perlman.
Judge Perlman, who was -- no shit -- Jewish, did not care for Nazis. This led him to reach out to one of the most powerful Jewish guys around: Meyer Lansky. Judge Perlman, as you might expect, hadn't done Meyer any favors in the past. He had for example helped to end Prohibition, the repeal of which, while generally extremely popular, wasn't great for the Meyer Lanskys of the world, who had been making bank off illegal booze. But when Perlman met with Meyer after the rise of the German American Bund, they ended up getting along pretty well. Perlman was like "I want you to disrupt meetings of Nazis" and Meyer was like "excellent, on it," and Perlman was like "hang on I'm not finished" and Meyer was like "sorry" and Perlman was like "I will pay you and give you legal assistance, should anyone get arrested. The only condition is, don't kill anyone." With what I can only imagine to be the world's greatest eye roll, Meyer said "Ugh fine, I won't kill anyone. Also, I don't want your money."
And then he went to work. [...]
These attacks went on for over a year. Journalist Walter Winchell would praise the attacks from the air, and pass on information to Meyer about where and when the Nazis would be meeting. Life got pretty dangerous for Nazis in New York City.
In the meantime, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel also TRAINED other people to fight Nazis, which, come on, can you just imagine Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel training young antifa in the early 30s? I love it. I'm picturing a lot of newsboy caps and comments like "no no not like that, my bubbe (ofblessedmemory) punches better than that, you grip the brass knuckles like this."
This also seems like a good time to mention that Lucky Luciano, Meyer's definitely-not-boyfriend-I-don't-know-why-you-would-think-that, offered to send some of his guys to help with this, but Meyer told him, "thanks, but no, this needs to be a Jewish fight."
Great Moments in Nazi Punching: