It was after midnight on June 13, 1942, when four saboteurs climbed out of a German submarine and set foot on the beach at Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett. Their plan was to travel to New York and other cities to blow up bridges and factories. Their plan was spoiled when a U.S. Coastguardsman on patrol stumbled upon them in the fog.
The annual reenactment of the historic event will take place at the Amagansett Life-Saving Station on Thursday, June 13, at 7 p.m. on the 71st anniversary of the fateful night. This year, a script and props will be used to create a more dramatic and palpable performance, according to East Hampton Village Historian Hugh King. Mr. King wrote the script and is directing the performance, which is being hosted by the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Committee.
“It’s a step up from last year—the audience will be right next to history,” he said this week.
Last year, the reenactment was more of a staged reading, he added, but it drew 200 people, including East Hampton contractor Ben Krupinski. Mr. Krupinski, intrigued by the story, committed his company to restoring the exterior of the station at no cost. The station was built in 1902 and will serve as a museum and base for town lifeguards once the renovation project is finished.
Mr. King said he hopes the reenactment, which will incorporate the newly built porch of the building into the performance, will draw attention to the building and inspire more donations for the project.
In addition to a more accurate setting, actors will work with props, including a dinghy, a box of “explosives,” duffel bags and a briefcase full of money and a bag of clams—all of which the Nazi saboteurs had with them when they landed on the beach.
East Hampton attorney and town justice hopeful Carl Irace will play the role of saboteur George Dasch, Evan Thomas will be his comrade Ernest Burger and Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione will play Heinrich Heinck. Mr. King did not cast an actor to play the fourth saboteur, whose role, he said, was limited to tending their boat. Sonny Sireci will play John Cullen, the 21-year-old guardsman who discovered the Nazis on the foggy beach. Kent Miller will play the other guardsman at the Life-Saving Station, Carl Jenette.
Mr. King said the men will have a total of six rehearsals before their performance.
“This year the audience will get a better picture of what happened and see how the story begins at the Life-Saving Station and then down at the beach, they’re going to experience what John Cullen and the saboteurs were going through at the time,” Mr. King said. “We have one night, one shot, to perform.”
The Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Committee recommends that people meet at the station on Atlantic Avenue at 6:30 p.m. Audience members can take blankets and beach chairs for the performance, which will start at 7.