Based on a true story about fighting fascism in 1930s New Jersey, Newark Minutemen tells an unforgettable tale about forbidden love, intrigue and a courageous man’s search for avenge….
During the Great Depression, Jewish boxer Yael Newman meets Krista Brecht, daughter of the German-American Nazi high command. When his affections turn real, his friends warn him against crossing the line. When Krista leaves for American Nazi summer camp in Long Island, New York, he swears to rescue her. But his mission becomes much more when he’s recruited into the Newark Minutemen by the Jewish mob and FBI to go undercover and fight the American Nazis who are taking over America.
If we fail today, we might as well throw in the towel.
My ears hammer against the roarin’ crowd. We must stop the rallying call for a Nazi Party in America. The last thing we need in the middle of the Depression is a fascist party here to support the one the Nazis are building in Germany. Everyone’s still nursin’ their wounds from the Great War.
I catch the cold iron bar—the one I spent all night sawin’ off with my hacksaw—on the first bounce. But the clank it makes between Sieg Heil chants signals our death warrant. My heart freezes as I scan forty-thousand blinkin’ eyes around the arena. I wonder which ones have read through my fake salute? Blood thrusts through my veins like water loadin’ in a fire hose. I almost vomit. Dangit! I’m my own worst enemy.
The pumpin’ in my body mounts like a geyser ready to blow. Right here and now, maybe I should grab my fellow fighters and exit the Germandom defiling the Garden. Yes. Madison Square Garden. New York City, USA. The last time I was here I was sixteen and my best pal, Harry Levine, knocked out another heavyweight to win the 1936 Golden Glove. Now, just three years later, the Bund’s American Führer, Fritz Kuhn, is celebrating Der Tag—The Day—on Washington’s birthday in the most iconic American arena we have.
Another cheer goes up and shakes the ceiling rafters. The heat from heiling bodies curdles my stomach as if I’d swallowed gasoline. I fume when I think about how Kuhn is bastardizing our American symbol into a red, white and blue Nuremberg Rally on our sacred President’s Day, February 20, 1939. Today, the stainin’ of an American symbol, tomorrow our country could be consumed by a brewin’ dictatorship if Hitler marches on Europe. The disgust rears saliva in the back of my throat. I hack out the salty vile.
Even if I’m not as stupid as I am brave, my options are limited. Blockin’ the aisles, seven hundred brown-shirted, swastika wielding, high-booted Hitler replicas are poundin’ their boots against the coliseum floor to the beat of the drum corps. Many of them are not much older than me. Addin’ insult to injury, the mockin’ color guards wave their swastika flags side by side with American ones. I clamp myself to the floor. Let’s face it. At this point, I have one choice. Pray no one kills me.
Beads of sweat simmer on my brow. Any false hopes of escape are dashed as a glint bounces off the brass knuckles of my worst nightmare, Axel Von du Croy. The light licks my good wool suit. Well, my only suit. Behind the uniformed soldier, his fixer, Frank Schenk, pokes another Gestapo-type Stormtrooper and grabs a third. He leads a squad through the masses toward us, disrupting unified party cheers of Free America. Free America. Free America.
But we, they call us the Newark Minutemen, are trained boxers. We won’t be knocked out without a fight. Our members are scattered throughout The Garden. To the left are Maxie and Al Fisher, Nat Arno, and Abie Pain. Nearby are Puddy Hinkes, Harry Levine, and his cousin Benny. And then there’s me, Yael Newman. The eight of us muscle against the press of fanatics, forcin’ our way through the crowd. We wedge between Hitler disciples and chafe against Nazi regalia. The evil glares tell me we’re not makin’ friends. We clamber over seats, step on black boots and duck under Hitler salutes. We’re searchin’ for the other members of our militia to gain a foothold that will help disrupt this ominous occasion. I’m countin’ on the rest of our scattered troops to slide their hidden iron bars down their sleeves into their fists. As I dodge a swastika-banded arm, my own bar falls again. But this time, I catch it breathlessly before it sets off alarms. Harry and I hurry toward the swarmin’ center aisle.
An amplified German accent booms. “Fellow Americans. American Patriots. I do not come before you tonight as a stranger. You will have heard of me through the Jewish-controlled press as a creature with horns, a cloven hoof, and a long tail.” I glance up at the stage. Below the towering portrait of George Washington, the Hitler uniformed Bund leader, Führer Fritz Julius Kuhn, leans into the microphone at the podium.
The hard-faced, square-jawed Führer pronounces what he calls a unified Germandom in America. “We Gentiles are fighting for an Aryan-ruled United States, insulated from dirty blacks, Japanese, Chinese, vermin Jews, dishonest Arabs, homosexuals, Catholics, and even useless cripples and alcoholics.” This shadow-Hitler party is putting democracy up for negotiation. There’s no doubt. I’ll bet my right arm that the Nazis are gonna start another world war.
Around me, the shoulder-belt wearin’ audience raises Hitler salutes to the six-foot, two-hundred plus pound bully. They’re cheering a man who is dehumanizing people. Peerin’ into the crowd, I cringe at the notion that so many good German-Americans who could be my own neighbors have bought into the Nazi stance. Sure they have inherited the high cheeked look. But it’s more. They have assumed that stiff carriage, that humorless expression. That mind that screams discipline and punctuality, rules and obedience. A heart that freezes everything they touch, like a tongue that freezes on an icy flagpole.
Kuhn commands his Aryan audience to demand that the government be returned to the American people. “We, the German-American Nazi Bund, will protect America against Jewish Communism parasites,” he says. My teeth clench. He’s a master at twisting thoughts. “We will protect our glorious republic and defend our Constitution from the slimy conspirators and . . . WE WILL MAKE AMERICA GREAT.”
Führer Kuhn stuns me with his words. From the next aisle, the commander of our Newark Minutemen, prizefighter Nat Arno, waves at me to keep movin’. But my distraction is costly. In the time it takes me to blink, khaki arms trimmed with a black spider woven on a red armband lock around me. They drag me toward the exit to the tune of a female voice singin’ the American anthem. “Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming—”
About the Author
Amazon best-selling author, Leslie K. Barry is most recently a screenwriter, author, and executive producer. Her previous professional work includes executive positions with major entertainment companies including Turner Broadcasting, Hasbro/Parker Brothers, Mattel, and Mindscape Video Games. Other areas of business include executive for the first e-shopping platform called eShop and marketing for Lotus Development, the US Post Office, and AOL. She was an Alpha Sigma Tau at JMU (James Madison University) in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley and attended a grad program at Harvard. She has spent the last twenty-five years with her husband, Doug Barry, in Tiburon, CA raising their four kids, Zachary, Brittany, Shaya, and Jackson, and their dog, Kona. On the side, she’s devoted to genealogy where she has uncovered many ideas for developing untold stories that help us appreciate the context of history, preserve lessons of the past, and honor memories through family storybooks. For fun, she likes to travel, ski in Sun Valley, Idaho, play tennis, and visit her family in Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina, where she most enjoys Maryland hard crabs and hush puppies, Ledo’s pizza, and chocolate horns. You can visit her website at NewarkMinutemen.com.