Jewish Groups Plan Demonstration in Skokie: Nazi March Uncertain Despite Supreme Court Ruling
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Jewish Groups Plan Demonstration in Skokie: Nazi March Uncertain Despite Supreme Court Ruling

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Two national Jewish organizations are proceeding with plans to send delegations to demonstrate in Skokie on June 25, despite new uncertainties as to whether the tiny Chicago Nazi Party will carry out its much-litigated march that day.

Reaffirmations of the plans were given to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Eli Zborowski, past president of the American Federation of Jewish Fighters, Camp Inmates and Nazi Victims, and Col. Erwin Ziff, national executive director of the Jewish War Veterans.

The officials made their comments in response to a statement last night in Chicago by Richard Tedor, the Nazi group’s deputy leader, that if the group could march in Marquette Park, in a Black area of Chicago, the Nazis would cancel the Skokie march. Tedor made his comment after the U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to delay the Nazi march in Skokie.

Skokie officials had applied to the Supreme Court for a stay of the march until the court could rule on an effort to block the march permanently in Skokie, home of 7000 Holocaust survivors. The court late yesterday handed down a one-sentence order denying the town’s request for a temporary stay until the town could appeal a federal appeals court ruling holding unconstitutional three ordinances adopted by Skokie after the Nazis announced their plans to march in May, 1977. (See related story P. 3.)


The order was issued by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. Two justices, Harry A. Blackmun and William H. Rehnquist, dissented. The dissenting justices said the appeals court ruling declaring the Skokie ordinances unconstitutional was “in some tension” with a 1952 Supreme Court ruling, Beauharnais v. Illinois.

In that case, the court sustained the conviction of a man who had distributed anti-Black leaflets in the streets of Chicago. The man was convicted under a Chicago ordinance barring the distribution of material defaming any group. One of the Skokie ordinances similarly bars the distribution of “hate literature.” Justice Blackmun, in his dissent, said the 1952 Supreme Court ruling “has never been overruled or formally limited in any way.”

The invalidated ordinances require posting of $350,000 in liability and property insurance, banned marches by persons in para-military regalia, and the distribution of defamatory material.

Zborowski told the JTA his organization was urging Jewish organizations to send delegations to Skokie to demonstrate on June 25 even if the Nazis call off their march. However, spokesmen for two other Jewish groups planning counter-demonstrations expressed uncertainty as to what would happen if the Nazis definitely canceled their march.

The spokesman for the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Jewish United Fund of Chicago, which is coordinating plans for a ” massive but peaceful ” counter-demonstration, said PAC officials had not decided what they would do if the Nazis canceled their march. Ziff said no decision had been made for “that contingency,” and that the JWV was going ahead with plans to send “around 10,000 members to Skokie to demonstrate June 25.


The possibilities of a Nazi march in Marquette Park involve a hearing on June 20 in federal district court in Chicago on whether the Nazis have to post a bond to get a marching permit for the park. A year ago, a federal court judge in Chicago held that Chicago Park District regulations requiring a $350,000 bond were unconstitutional because so large a bond would inhibit demonstrations by small groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has represented the Chicago Nazis in the various court actions, obtained a reduction in the bond to $60,000, then, according to the JUF spokesman, decided to go to federal court to obtain a ruling on what size bond would be reasonable.

Zborowski said his organization planned to send between 50 and 100 people to Skokie, regardless of what the Nazis did. He repeated his appeal to other Jewish organizations to send delegations whether or not the Nazis marched because Skokie has become “the symbol” of resistance to contemporary Nazis.

Ziff said a meeting of department commanders will be held in Washington on June 20 to “firm up” JWV plans to send demonstrators to Skokie. Last April, the JWV sent mailgrams to all 100,000 JWV members asking them to prepare to go to Skokie.

Ziff said that Herman Moses, the JWV national commander, is a Chicago attorney and has been “deeply involved” in efforts by the Chicago Jewish community to deal with the Nazi march.

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