In 1940, two snarly classmates, George Larosa and Lawrence Marrineli
joined the German American Youth Bund so they could dress like storm troopers
and sing “Deutschland Uber Alles”— which still rings in my ears.
Marinelli’s parents kept a banner of the 22,000 American Nazis
who gathered at Madison Square in February of ‘39
that read “Stop Jewish Domination of Christian Americans!”
The classmates weren’t even German, and had to lie about their ancestry
to join the “Friends of the New Germany” and attend Camp Siegfried in Yaphank, N.Y.
They must have figured if Hitler was good enough for Mussolini,
he was good enough for them.
These kids were brainwashed to promote antisemitism.
As the chief justice of the student-run supreme court
and the only Jew in our school, I was a conspicuous target for their rage.
After school I ran as fast as I could—hitching a ride on the back of a trolley car
that ran down Fresh Pond Road. I evaded them by running in the back door
of my grandma’s dry good store on Grand Avenue.
To make matters worse they were jealous of the beautiful Natalia
who liked to corner me with her prematurely prominent bosoms.
I never ran away from her as fast as I ran away from my enemies.