New York (Jan. 6)
— The producer of the CBS-TV movie “Skokie” has denied a charge that the 2 1/2-hour film will imply that Chicago area Jews made a “deal” to move a threatened march by a small group of Chicago Nazis from Skokie to a Black area of Chicago.
In a telephone interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Robert Berger of Titus Productions Inc., said he read the script by Ernest Kinoy and viewed the scene in the film itself in which the “deal” is discussed. Berger said it clearly implies that the deal was made by Chicago city officials at City Hall.
Sol Goldstein, of Skokie, charged in Chicago that the script “make it sound as if the Jewish people said let the Nazis go to the South Side (of Chicago) to torture the Blacks as long as they leave us alone.”
“Not true,” Berger told the JTA. He said the script has Eli Wallach as city attorney tell the Skokie mayor, played by Ed Flanders, that “it’s all over,” referring to the demonstration the Nazis planned in Skokie in June, 1978. Berger said that when the mayor asks for an explanation, Wallach replies that a “deal” was made and “I got it straight from City Hall (in Chicago).”
“I don’t know how you can get an inference from that that it was the Jews who made a deal,” Berger said. He said it “sounds like” it was made by Chicago officials.
And that is what happened, the producer maintained. He said that after a meeting between the U.S. Justice Department, the local prosecutor and the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Nazi leader Frank Collin it was agreed to allow the Nazis to demonstrate in Chicago’s Marquette Park which was what they had sought in the first place. After originally being denied a permit for the park, the Nazis threatened to march in Skokie, which has a large Jewish population, many of them Holocaust survivors.