Former Pro-Nazi “Settlement League” Sued for Racially Discriminatory Housing Rules

Emery Celli has filed a federal lawsuit that challenges the racially discriminatory housing policies of the German-American Settlement League (“GASL”). The GASL owns Siegfried Park in Yaphank, Long Island, where, in the late 1930s, German Americans traveled to rally together in support of Nazism.  Since its incorporation in 1937, the GASL has excluded non-whites from its membership, recreational programs, and summer homes in favor of new residents with German ancestry.  As stated in its Constitution, one of the purposes of the GASL is to “introduce, cultivate, and propagate in every direction true Germanic culture and to cultivate the German language, customs and ideals.” The GASL requires its members “primarily” to be “of German extraction.” New members must be sponsored by a current member and accepted by a majority vote of the Board and membership. GASL  membership may be extended under limited circumstances to “other national elements” only if they are sponsored by current members. The lawsuit challenges these restrictions and seeks, among other things, to amend the by GASL bylaws to allow for equal access to housing.

Plaintiffs are represented by ECBA attorneys Diane Houk and Andrew Wilson.

Read the New York Times’ coverage of the lawsuit and the GASL here; read the full complaint here.

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