Local Author, Civics Students Discuss Southbury’s Stand Against Nazis


Marisa Christoff

Former Southbury first selectman Ed Edelson, left, spoke to Nonnewaug civics students about the stand Southbury residents took against the Nazis in 1937.

Emma DeFrancesco, Reporter

WOODBURY – Every Nonnewaug student in a civics course attended a presentation Nov. 1 in the auditorium with Ed Edelson, former first selectman of Southbury and local author of a book that commemorates the time a local town stood up to the Nazis.

Many students did not have prior knowledge of Edelson, so NHS social studies teacher Marisa Christoff introduced him as “a local author and former first selectman of Southbury [who] is here with us today to speak about active citizenship and civic engagement using his children’s book, Lois’s Story, and the documentary, ‘Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said No to the Nazis.’”

Edelson’s work is based on a true story from 1937. The German American Bund, which was a Nazi sympathizers’ organization based in the United States, attempted to start a camp in Southbury. The townspeople and government came together and eventually stopped it.

According to Christoff, Edelson’s work on this ground-breaking event has a huge significance to not only Southbury, but to the nation.

“This local Connecticut story has gone from virtually obscurity to national recognition,” Christoff said.

Caitlin Johnson, an AP US Government and Politics student, attended this presentation and felt that Edelson did a phenomenal job. 

“The presentation revealed a lot of emotion,” Johnson said. “He did an amazing job of sending a message to us on the importance of cooperation and persistence.”

[Edelson’s] message of standing up against hate is something all high school students need to hear,” Christoff concluded.

Edelson’s work can teach us many life lessons – even that significant events in small towns do not always go unheard.