Jewish Boy Shot to Death by Young Admirer of Rockwell
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Boy Shot to Death by Young Admirer of Rockwell

Download PDF for this date

A 17-year-old youth described by police as an anti-Semite who admired George Rockwell’s American Nazi party and sought to join it, has been charged by Fairfax county police with shooting to death a Jewish boy, also aged 17. The shooting followed years of anti-Semitic agitation by the Rockwell movement among high school youths in northern Virginia.

The victim of the shooting was Lewis M. Goldfein, an honor student, vice-president of the Falls Church High School student council, president of his class, and a member of the varsity baseball and wrestling teams. He was shot down at night outside his home as he set up a telescope to study the stars. He aspired to become a scientist.

The accused, John C. Vinson, Jr., was described as a highly intelligent youth, possessing an I.Q. of 165. He was fascinated by Nazism and, according to the Washington Post, had previously been charged with painting a swastika on private property.

The Post quoted a probationary official as stating that “young Vinson had exhibited some American Nazi party literature on one occasion and he understood, once tried to join the organization but was turned down because he was too young. ” Detective M. Herbell told the Washington Star “he hated Jews.” The detective also stated that Vinson sought to associate himself with the Rockwell Nazi group. Vinson is a son of a Metropolitan police officer who served on the District of Columbia force for 23 years.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund