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Nazi spy landing re-enactment in Amagansett

Dominick J. Stanzione (R, I, WF, C), candidate

Dominick J. Stanzione (R, I, WF, C), candidate for town council (June 30, 2009) (Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

Wednesday night in Amagansett a group of local history buffs will gather on the beach to re-enact an event that put the community on the map in 1942 during World War II -- the landing of four Nazi saboteurs from a U-boat.

The landing took place exactly 70 years ago, and town crier Hugh King -- East Hampton Town still has someone on the payroll who rings a bell and makes public pronouncements, mostly about the town’s colorful history -- has written a script recalling the events and bringing the people who were involved to life once again.

A small but critical role in the play is that of George Dasch, identified in the script as Stranger No. 1, who is described as “evil, conniving and dangerous.” He will be played by Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who also will make some introductory remarks before the re-enactment begins on the beach, which is about two-thirds of the way down the hill from Bluff Road off Atlantic Avenue.

Kent Miller, chairman of the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Committee, gets to play John Cullen, the 21-year-old Coast Guardsman who was on patrol that foggy night and, in the town’s re-enactment, spotted three men, two in bathing suits, working on a small inflatable rubber boat.

According to a Coast Guard report, the strangers first said they were fishermen who had run aground, then threatened to kill him, and finally gave him $300 as a bribe to forget about them. Cullen took the money and left, running back to the Coast Guard station to report as soon as he could.

By the time the alarm went out, the spies were gone. But by June 27, the FBI announced the arrest of all four, along with four other Nazi spies who had landed in Florida, as well as the seizure of plans to destroy war plants, railways, waterworks and bridges.

Miller said that, as far as he knows, no one has ever staged a re-creation of the Nazi spy landing, and that it is particularly appropriate this year, because Cullen died this past September.

Photo: East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione will participate in a re-enactment of  a World War II Nazi spy landing in Amagansett.

Tags: Amagansett , Nazi , spy , re-enactment

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