Seattle Jewish Leader Assails Whiteshirt Group Sponsored by the Legion
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Seattle Jewish Leader Assails Whiteshirt Group Sponsored by the Legion

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Germany can keep its brownshirts, Italy its blackshirts, Russia its redshirts and the Ku Klux Klan its nightshirts but America, which has the Stars and Stripes, does not need a shirt as an emblem of patriotism, P. Allen Rickles, Jewish leader in this city, declared today in the face of a plan by Seattle American Legion officials to organize a Whiteshirt Corps.

The Whiteshirt Corps is the brainchild of the Seattle Times, controlled largely by the Ridder brothers, publishers of the New York Staats-Herold. In the Independence Day parade here this month 3,000 Whiteshirt youths marched proudly along. As yet, the Whiteshirt Corps is a localized super-patriotic organization, but it is learned that the leaders of the local branch of the American Legion are planning to suggest at the next national legion convention that the white shirt be used by American youth as a symbol of patriotism.


When the Seattle Times ballyhooed the Whiteshirt Corps into popularity here the paper published photos of Adolf Hitler reviewing his brownshirt storm troopers in Germany to “inspire” Pacific Coast youth.

Mr. Rickles, who is B’nai B’rith District Grand Lodge officer and president of the Herzl Congregation here, stated that American youth should not ape European shirt-wearers. “Let us consider for a moment what the brownshirts, blackshirts and redshirts of Europe symbolize,” he declared. “In Italy the blackshirts represent an absolute dictatorship, wholly contrary to every doctrine of the American form of government and entirely inconsistent with every principle of Americanism and of the spirit of 76.

“In Germany today the brown shirt is the symbol of the most despotic, intolerant, bigoted and inhuman form of government that any civilized country has had since the Middle Ages. In short, the European ‘shirt’ is a European symbol of despotism and autocracy and completely foreign to the American spirit.

“It occurs to me that the only symbol which we need properly to represent the principles of Americanism is the Stars and Stripes. More than 120,000,000 people living under a most democratic government regime which represents the ideals of liberty, justice and equality should need no symbol other than their own flag, and certainly not one which represents everything contrary to their doctrines.”

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