WASHENGTON (Dec. 28)
A new organization, the “American Nazi Party,” flooded the nation’s capital area with propaganda over the Christmas week-end threatening American Jews with “the gas chamber” and calling for enlistment of American Nazis to fight the Jews.
George Lincoln Rockwell of Arlington, Va., openly identified himself a Nazi and leader of the “party.” The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith voiced concern today at the Navy’s attitude in retaining Rockwell as a full-fledged officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve after knowledge of his Nazi activities. The Navy indicated that Rockwell, as a reservist, was permitted “free speech” on “political” matters. But the issue was described by the ADL as one of mental stability and reckless fanaticism.
Members of the Washington Jewish community could not understand why the District of Columbia authorities had permitted the flooding of downtown streets and residential neighborhoods with thousands of Nazi leaflets. The ADL asked the District Commissioners to intervene.
District ordinances technically forbid distribution of leaflets that may precipitate a breach of peace. The Nazi leaflets also requested financial contributions and such solicitation is unlawful without license. But it appeared that the District authorities would not act because of devotion to “free speech” considerations.
Herman Edlesberg, Washington ADL director, described the Rockwell leaflets as “the most vicious and insulting seen in many a day.” The material was headlined to exploit white fears of Negro “domination” of the District of Columbia. Alleging a growing Negro majority, handbills said: “White Man! Are You Going To Be Run Out Of Your Nation’s Capital Without A Fight?” But it was stressed that the real enemy was the Jew who was accused of responsibility for Negro integration efforts.
In 1958, Rockwell was charged with having been in contact with elements under suspicion in the bombing of The Temple in Atlanta, Ga. His activities also brought him into collision with the Virginia police but a court ruled that Rockwell’s anti-Jewish agitation was obnoxious but not legally actionable.