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Hearing Finds Few in N.Y. State Are Members of Neo-nazi Groups

A New York Joint Legislative Committee began a study this weekend of information collected in a series of hearings in several cities on activities of Neo-Nazi anti-Semitic groups, to determine whether such groups were political parties under New York State law. Political parties must regularly file financial and other information on their activities with state authorities.

The hearings ended with a session here marked by a conclusion that two neo-Nazi groups were “insignificant” in numbers, and by the hasty departure in tears by one of the committee members, some of whose relatives had been murdered by the Nazis in Europe. All members of the legislative committee are Jewish, including the chairman, State Sen. Irwin Brownstein.

Among the neo-Nazis who testified were George Rockwell, head of the American Nazi party, and James H. Madole, head of the National Renaissance party. Sen. Brownstein summed up the testimony with the conclusions that the hate peddlers were “extremely small, insignificant in numbers.” Referring to an admission by Rockwell that there were only 20 Rockwell Nazis in New York State, Sen. Brownstein said that it was important to know that in a state with 16,000,000 residents, “only 20 were sick enough to join” Rockwell’s group. Sen. Brownstein said that the Madole group had between 800 and 1,000 members.

Rockwell thanked the committee members for “helping” him enlist new members with the publicity he was getting from the hearings. His anti-Semitic remarks caused Assemblymen Bertram Podell to denounce the native Nazis and to leave the room fighting tears. His grandmother and her family were among the Jews murdered by the Nazis. Before leaving he said that he had always defended the right of anyone to state his beliefs, but that he sincerely regretted that “these people” had been allowed “to say these things here.”

(In Washington, two adherents of the American Nazi Party were arrested yesterday in front of the White House, and charged with disorderly conduct, when they staged a counter-picketing demonstration against an action protesting the United States involvement in the war in South Viet Nam. The men displayed anti-Semitic banners. They were released after posting nominal bail.)

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