June 22, 2012 Page 33
Re-enactors on the Coast Guard Station steps talking to the crowd.
The Coastguradsmen and the Nazi Saboteurs Meet Up in Amagansett By robert sforza
t 10 past midnight on June 13, 1942, 21-yearold Coast Guardsman John Cullen left the Amagansett Life-Saving Station and set out east along the quiet beach on his routine patrol, armed with nothing but his flashlight and his spirit. It was dark and foggy. Last week, the Amagansett Life Saving and Coast Guard Station Committee staged its first ever re-enactment of the fateful night when Cullen came across four Nazi saboteurs on the beaches of Amagansett.
The rendition marked the 70th anniversary of the event that night, and those organizing it hope to make it an annual event. The performance began at the old life-saving station as locals, community enthusiasts, and history buffs gathered at the foot of the station waiting for the much-anticipated production. The occasion was enhanced by the presence of William and Daniel Cullen, blood relatives of the late John Cullen, who died last year. Peter Garnham, Executive Director of the Amagansett Historical Association, commenced the performance with a brief, informative
narrative of the events leading up to and the actions that transpired on that foggy June night. The story begins on April 16, 1942, at a hideaway in the dense pine forests of East Prussia, Garnham narrated. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (head of German military intelligence), and Colonel Erwin von Lahousen (head of Abwehr II, Sabotage) are waiting to meet with Adolf Hitler to get permission for a secret mission called Operation Pastorious. The objective: blow up aluminum plants in New York, hydroelectric plants in upstate New York, the Hell Gate (Continued on next page)
A Planned Book About a Heist and 13 Whacks By daniel simone
Kennedy Airport was the answer to all our problems. Money, I got it at Kennedy Airport. If a fur coat would pacify the wife because she found out about the mistress, I got it at Kennedy Airport. If our girlfriends were gettin’ impatient about wanting a color TV, we went to Kennedy. When the cigarette supply dried up, we’d go to Kennedy and rob a truckload of cartons. The airport was our private bank. But when it all came crashing down, my wardrobe turned from Dan's Banner legroom:Layout 1 5/23/11 3:37 PM Page aAwalk-in closet of silk suits to a cardboard box1
of cheap jeans and two-dollar T-shirts.” said Henry Hill. At the end of Hill’s criminal career, everyone privy to his predicament, himself included, would’ve wagered that nothing short of a miracle could’ve prevented his murder. Hill, a seventh-grade dropout mystified by the expensively garbed, swaggering gangsters that roamed his Brooklyn neighborhood, endeared himself to Lucchese Mafia Family Lieutenant Paul Vario. A comedic type with witty oneliners, Hill nurtured a father-son relationship with the powerful underworld chieftain, who
“Legroom, my lad...it’s all about legroom.”
confidently let the eager 13-year-old take charge of menial errands. Before long, Hill undertook matters of greater importance, such as lucrative felonies— peddling untaxed cigarettes, truck hijackings, loansharking, and bookmaking. But though an incorrigible hoodlum, Hill, good-natured and generous to those in need, wasn’t prone to violence. Ten months ago, Hill and I were collaborating on the manuscript of our upcoming book, The Lufthansa Heist, and during his stay at my Amagansett residence, he reminisced, “I did my best keeping my (Continued on page 36)
More legroom than any other Hamptons motor coach.
Dan's Papers June 22, 2012 Issue