ATLANTA (Oct. 31)
Although the recent upsurge of activity by Nazi groups in the United States constitutes no serious danger to American political institutions, their “sick fantasies and hate-filled rhetoric” prompt disturbed persons to deeds of violence, a danger that all Americans should be concerned with. This conclusion was reached in a preliminary analysis of data on American Nazis, which was made public here Saturday at a session of the American Jewish Committee’s National Executive Council meeting here this weekend.
The analysis, compiled by Milton Ellerin, director of the AJCommittee’s Trends Analyses Division, pointed out that though noisy Nazi activities have cropped up in many major cities recently, the total number of Nazi members in the entire country is probably no more than 1500 or 2000. But the analysis cited a number of instances in which violence has resulted from local Nazi activities including:
New Rochelle, N.Y., where a demented admirer of Hitler and the Nazis killed five persons and then shot himself; Charlotte, N.C., where a half-crazed youth with a swastika armband shot up a church gathering, killing two persons; Chicago, where an acknowledged Nazi killed a Jew by forcing him to inhale cyanide, and then killed himself in the same way; and Milwaukee, where Nazis clashed with death camp survivors.
These incidents have occurred concurrently with organized activity by a dozen or so purportedly national Nazi parties and other strictly local groups, the paper reports. All have splintered off from the original group of Nazis organized in Arlington (Va.) by George Lincoln Rockwell in the mid-1950s.
After Rockwell’s murder by a disgruntled follower in 1967, his mantle of leadership was inherited by Matt Koehl, but others have set themselves up as leaders of Nazi-like groups in various cities. These include Frank Collin, in Chicago; Gerhard Lauck, in Lincoln, Nebraska; Allen Lee Vincent, in San Francisco and George Dietz, in Reedy, West Virginia.
HOW MUCH ATTENTION TO GIVE NAZIS
The analysis pointed out the Nazi groups have not been successful in their attempts to build alliances with the Ku Klux Klan. In addition, it continued, “no attempt has been made to create ties between Nazi groups and the National States Rights Party,” a neo-fascist, anti-Semitic and anti-Black group in the South.
Summing up their potential menace, the analysis asked: “Given the ineptitude of the Nazi groups, their rivalries, their lack of anything resembling a program, their tiny membership, how much attention do Americans, Jewish or otherwise, need to pay them?” While understanding the sensitivity of Holocaust survivors, the report is skeptical that what happened in Germany could occur in the United States.
However, it cautions, “Nazism in America, for all its political impotence, releases certain poisons into the nation’s bloodstream. Though it cannot significantly influence the electorate, let alone capture our government, its sick fantasies and hate-filled rhetoric can and do appeal to some disturbed persons, prompting them to act out their accumulated hatreds in deeds of violence. And that is a danger for all Americans to think about.”