“The Bund”

On Saturday May 12, 2012, I had gone to 91 year old Sheldon Freschi’s house (where he grew up)  and spoke to him about his service. I taped our conversation while we sat in his green house on Eagle Avenue in
New Milford, New Jersey.

On Monday May 14, 2012, Sheldon Freschi came to our store with his plants. It then occurred to me to ask him if he knew anything about the “Bund” in New Milford, since a neighbor in town had given me a 'Record' newspaper article from Friday June 3, 1994 on the Bund. What is so interesting is that I did not know the year the article was dated. Sheldon kept saying it was between 1936 and 1939. The incident occurred in 1938, so Sheldon Freschi at 91, was right on the spot.
I did not tape our conversation at this point, but I did take some notes down, and Sheldon drew me a picture of where the house was and where the surrounding homes were. He also told me quite a story.

I asked Sheldon if he had heard anything about the Bund in New Milford while he was growing up. His eyes lit up and he said “oh sure it was just a block away from my house.” It was a big house located between Milford Avenue and Main Street in New Milford, where Kastler Court (street) is today. Sheldon drew me a picture of the homes on the block. One house about two doors from the Bund house, was where an Italian woman lived. She was a great cook and had famous people come there on Sundays and eat: Mayor LaGuardia of New York City. Sheldon said it was different then. People who were good at cooking would set up days when they would cook for people and use their home as a restaurant. “She cooked the best Italian food you ever had”, Sheldon really made a point of this.
The “Bund House” was set back from the road about forty or fifty feet, he said. Sheldon said the main room was big and he showed me an area that was about 40’ wide and 100’ long.

I asked Sheldon who went to the meetings, and he told me the leader of the group was a man by the name of “Kunz.” The 1994 article said that his name was Adam Kunze. So the 91 year old guy was right again. 

Sheldon said that there was a large German population in New Milford at the time.They were butchers and bakers, etc. They were giving money to support the German people, who were extremely poor at the time, and they were not Nazis. They went to the meetings and gave them money for a while, but then slowly started to stop. “On weekends” Sheldon said, “They would bring in bus loads of German youth and they would march on the property.” 

I asked Sheldon Freschi if he knew anything about the meetings and his eyes lit up once more and he said “My cousin Armand (Allesandrini), who lived across the street then, said to me... let's go to a meeting...what can they do...kick us out! Armand was like that, very curious, so we went.  They let anyone go to the meetings because they wanted your money. The meeting didn’t last long, about an hour and a half, no more then that.  They told people what they wanted to hear that their money was going to help the poor German people. When we walked into the big room, Hitler’s picture was hanging on the wall behind where they spoke, with a Nazis flag along side him. It was a big room with folding chairs.” 

Sheldon said the meetings continued for awhile after that, but the people would walk by and look at the kids marching. People started to get upset.  Finally, Sheldon said the people from all around came and they had the state and local police there. They knew there was going to be trouble and there was, but it didn’t get out of hand. Sheldon told me that they threw the leader Adam Kunze into Hirschfeld Pond. The June 6, 1994 ‘Record’ newspaper article states that also. 

All these years later Sheldon Freschi’s memory was so vivid in recalling those moments in his life where people of his town in New Milford, New Jersey and the surrounding area, took a stand against a belief that sought to conquer the hearts and minds of the people throughout the United States, and they said

Sheldon Freschi’s cousin, Armand Allesandrini, went on to fight an enemy just as fanatical and just as perverse in their belief system as the Nazis in the Pacific Theater, the Japanese. Armand Allesandrini fought through the Marshal Islands, Tinian, and Saipan. He was part of the Fourth Marine Division. He had enough points to come home but he chose not to, Sheldon said. Armand, according to Sheldon, wanted to stay with his fellow Marines in arms. The next stop for the Fourth Marine Division was the wind swept volcanic island of Iwo Jima where on March 8, 1945
Armand Allesandrini was Killed in Action.

Sheldon went on to serve as a Medic in England from 1942 till 1946.  Sheldon saw the high price the United States and the Allies paid in fighting the perverse Nazis belief system that he and his cousin Armand encountered literally in their own backyard in 1938, every time the soldiers from the front were dropped off at the 297th General Hospital just outside of Coventry, England.

  Let us never forget the Soldiers and Marines sacrifice.         
Written by
Bob Meli
May 16, 2012

Background photo of Pro-Nazi German American Bund rally at Madison Square Garden. New York, United States, February 20, 1939.