On Wednesday, Assemblyman John Wisniewski joined Democrat candidates Kate Matteson and Gina Trish at the former Camp Nordland in Andover Township, New Jersey. This is the same John Wisniewski who, as chairman of the State Democrat Party, attacked the religious beliefs of a Sussex County senior citizen and Tea Party activist.
At the time, Wisniewski held three offices (Assemblyman, Deputy Speaker, and State Democrat Chairman) and it was as the holder of these high offices that he stooped to attack the religious beliefs of a citizen activist. According to the Bergen Record (May 24, 2010), Wisniewski even directed the Democrat State Committee to set up a website devoted to attacking citizen activists who disagreed with the Democrat Party.
At the time, Wisniewski was defending the reputation of United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), currently under federal indictment and awaiting trial on corruption charges. The Sussex senior was part of a recall effort aimed at Senator Menendez.
Wisniewski accused the Sussex senior of racism and attacked her religious beliefs regarding evolution. Her faith led her in the direction of creationism, just as Wisniewski's faith leads him in the direction of transubstantiation. Both are difficult concepts for some scientists to come to terms with -- and yet are articles of faith for many believers.
The Star-Ledger, Bergen Record, Herald-News, Gannett newspapers, and blogs like Blue Jersey extensively reported on Wisniewski's actions. Now back to the venue chosen for Wednesday night's gathering.
We recently had correspondence from a reader who drew our attention to the fact that it was a member of the local political establishment back in the 1930's, Newton lawyer William Dolan, who handled the land transaction that granted that American Nazi group control of the land that became Camp Nordland. Mr. Dolan was then the sitting State Senator of Sussex County, a Democrat, at a time when each county had one state senator.
According to a scholar at the University of Michigan, " New Jersey Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, Republican of Sussex, noted that New Jersey State Senator William Dolan, a Democrat, had aided the Bund in buying Nordland and that the Democratic Township Committee of Andover had granted Nordland a liquor license."
According to historian and author Warren Grover, Camp Nordland in Andover Township was incorporated in March 1937. Fritz Kuhn, the American Fuehrer himself, was one of the eight trustees of Camp Nordland. When the camp formally opened in July, State Senator Dolan was introduced by the American Nazi Bund's New Jersey Bundesleiter, and he greeted the "swastika waving" crowds.
Dolan was a political enemy of Franklin's Alfred "Bike" Littell, who went on to take his place as State Senator and to serve as Senate President. Littell, whose education at Princeton University had been interrupted for service in an artillery regiment in World War I, went to war with the American Nazis. Alfred Littell was the father of Senator Bob Littell, father-in-law of NJ Republican Party Chairwoman Virginia Littell, and the grandfather of Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose.
Wikipedia notes: "Camp Nordland was a 204-acre resort facility located in Andover Township, New Jersey. From 1937 to 1941, this site was owned and operated by the German American Bund, which sympathized with and propagandized for Nazi Germany in the United States. This resort camp was opened by the Bund on 18 July 1937. In the years before the Second World War, the Bund held events at the facility to encourage pro-German, pro-Nazi values—many of these events attracting over 10,000 visitors. On 18 August 1940, it was the site of a joint rally with the Ku Klux Klan... While much of its history and notoriety has faded over the last 70 years, many local residents of Sussex County still refer to the area as the 'bund camp.'"
Here is a short video that provides something of a history lesson for Assemblyman Wisniewski and the Democrats:
The writer Sinclair Lewis published a satirical novel in 1935 called, It Can't Happen Here, two years before it did happen here -- right here, in Andover Township, New Jersey. It is high time for the Township to acknowledge that history -- as a warning against an ideology that sent so many millions to their deaths.
That's one heck of a venue for Assemblyman Wisniewski and the Democrats' to choose. Especially given their party's history in establishing the camp.
Maybe the Assemblyman can propose a resolution to memorialize what happened in New Jersey and the attempt here to normalize Nazism? Lest we forget...