Decades after the fall of Hitler, Nazis are still fouling up a couple's desire to sell their home.
Philip Kneer and Patricia Flynn-Kneer live in the small Long Island town of Yaphank, where, in the 1930s, there was a Nazi summer camp called Camp Siegfried. typical skills like camping, hunting and—wait for it—eugenics, the idea that breeding and sterilization can create a purer society. The camp, where adults also visited mostly to drink beer and talk politics, was such a popular attraction that a train called the Siegfried Express ran every day at 8 a.m. from Penn Station.
The fun was pretty much over with World War II. After the war, the FBI seized the camp's property. Its owners, the German American Settlement League, managed to get it back and, , turn it into a sort of co-op, where the league owns the land and members can buy homes on it.
But here's the thing about this community: a clause in the bylaws says owners must be primarily "of German extraction." That law, , has kept the community "almost entirely white." And the Kneers have alleged that black people are made to feel unwelcome. Others in the community deny this charge.
The Kneers, who are of German descent, are one of 45 families in this community. And they've been trying to sell their two-bedroom ranch house, but the league prevents residents from advertising their homes on the open market, the Times reports. Even a "for sale" sign is prohibited.
"You feel like a caged animal here," Philip Kneer told the paper. "It's terrible for everyone—for the kids, for us and even for our dogs."
Of course, this might all just be a squabble among neighbors. The old-timers in the community said they'd be amenable to changing the town's "antiquated" laws. And an older couple—who said they considered the Kneers like grandchildren—were pretty distraught that the Kneers up and left the community last week only to return with a lawsuit filed Monday in Federal District Court claiming the league's housing practices violate the Fair Housing Act.
"People in other parts of town look at us and think this is closed to non-Germans," one of the old-timers said. "That's just not true."