Journeys into New Milford
Much has been written in local histories about German roots – especially in the north end of town which was once called Peetzburgh.
Less is written or spoken these days about other aspects of local history– for example, the presence and role of the Nazi Bund in the community.
It was Gustav Peetz, the land speculator after whom Peetzburgh was named, who advertised in Yorkville (A German neighborhood in Manhattan’s Upper East Side) newspapers with an offer of “free beer to all those who came to view his lots” in New Jersey. Many took advantage of the offer. They got their free beer and many bought homes in the new community. A German presence was established.
Over time New Milford came to be home of some of the Bund’s most ardent leaders. There is an infamous event in the 1940’s in which, after a pro-Nazi event, protesters of the event chased the event leaders into hiding after the event was over.
The Bund was a minority voice. But it was significant enough to stain the name of the community for a while. Today it is little more than a memory of the past – a footnote to history. But it is important for that period to be recalled. Hopefully, we have enough wisdom to learn and retain the lessons to be learned from that time.
Background Info: Story of New Milford, 1964, by Leon Smith; New Milford Historic Brochure - by the New Milford Historic Preservation Commission
Photo source: A Gustav Peetz home in the Peeztburgh section of town. New Milford Historic Brochure - by the New Milford Historic Preservation Commission