A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 18, 2016
Beefsteak Nazi (brown on the outside, red on the inside)

"Beefsteak Nazi” is a term originally used in the 1930s for a German who was brown (Nazi) on the outside, but red (Communist) on the inside. “Beefsteak Nazis—Brown outside but Red inside” was cited in print in 1934.

Related political terms include “radish” (red on the outside, white on the inside) and “watermelon” (green on the outside, red on the inside).

[This entry was assisted by Goerge Thompson and Garson O’Toole at the American Dialect Society listserv.]


Wikipedia: Beefsteak Nazi
Beefsteak Nazi was a term used in Nazi Germany to describe Communists who joined the Nazi Party. ‘Beefsteak Nazis’ appeared following the suppression of the German Communist Party in the 1930s, and the term was popular as early as 1933. The term was particularly used of working-class members of the Sturmabteilung (SA) who were aligned with Strasserism. The term derived from the idea that these individuals were like a ‘beefsteak’ - brown on the outside and red on the inside, with ‘brown’ referring to the colour of the uniforms, and ‘red’ to their communist sympathies. The implication of this was that their allegiance to Nazism was superficial and opportunistic.

14 September 1934, The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle (Milwaukee, WI), “Strictly Confidential: Tid-Bits From Everywhere” by Phineas J. Biron, pg. 4, col. 4:
Beefsteak Nazis—Brown outside but Red inside—are said to be the latest political phenomenon in Hitlerland; from which we gather that at least the Communist are still working against Hitler.

Google Books
Europe Since 1870
By Preston W. Slosson
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.
1935
Pg. 695:
Former Nationalists, like von Papen within the and Alfred Hugenberg who had been tolerated *ra” (?—ed.) for the conservative support they brought to the party, had to greet as comrades “beefsteak Nazis” ("reds" at heart under the brown shirt) who believed that the movement was primarily directed against “international capitalism.”

7 September 1935, The Manchester Guardian (UK), “Letters to the Editor,” pg. 10, cols. 5-6:
Might I therefore suggest that visitors to Germany look for “beefsteak” Nazis, brown outside, and red inside.
(...)
EMJANE.

22 September 1944, Riverside (CA) Daily Press, “Beefsteak Nazis” (editorial), pg. 1, col. 2:
“Beefsteak Nazis” are cropping out in eastern Europe as the Red armies advance. This is a term applied by Kurt Singer, European journalist, to the turncoats who were very good nazis while the going was good, but are now running to cover. Like beefsteak, they are a good nazi brown on the outside, but inside they claim to be Red.

Their change will fool nobody. Like some beefsteaks, they will probably be done to a turn.

Google Books
The Saturday Evening Post
Volume 231
1959
Pg. 45:
He was to be what the Communists called a “beefsteak Nazi” — brown on top, red underneath.

Google Books
Why Hitler?:
The Genesis of the Nazi Reich

By Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr
Westport, CT: Praeger
1996
Pg. 120:
Most of the Strasser people were, in fact, anti-Semitic socialists—what the SA men would call “Beefsteak Nazis”: brown on the outside and red on the inside.

Google Books
Hate:
George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party

By William H. Schmaltz
Washington, DC: Brassey’s
1999
Pg. 173:
Stormtrooper Andrew Chappell was known among the other party members as a “beefsteak” Nazi: Nazi brown on the outside and “Red” on the inside.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Monday, January 18, 2016 • Permalink