VANCOUVER, Canada (Sep. 11)
Neo-Nazi Skinheads, some carrying guns and wearing swastika armbands, scuffled Saturday with members of the Jewish Defense League of Canada and assaulted reporters during a white supremacist “Aryan Fest” at a farm near Provost, Alberta.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who had described the event as peaceful, nevertheless have filed charges against members of the racist group for theft and pointing firearms at members of the media and the Jewish group.
The reporters were covering the annual racist gathering sponsored by Terry Long, leader of the Canadian Aryan Nations, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ Aryan, a camp of barbed wire and watchtowers which is headquartered in Caroline, Alberta.
The “fest,” held at a location some 280 miles northeast of Calgary, Alberta, near the Saskatchewan border, also attracted delegates from Utah and Montana.
The Jewish communities of Calgary and Edmonton, both in Alberta province, did not organize counterdemonstrations because the gathering took place on Shabbat.
About a dozen people protested the gathered Nazis, who sang Nazi songs, chanted “Sieg Heil” and shouted, “Next time 12 million,” in reference to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Among the protesters were three members of the JDL, represented by Harvey Kane, its national executive director in Canada; David Strauss; and Sigmund Sobolewski, a non-Jewish Auschwitz survivor who came with the JDL group.
According to Sheldon Alberts, a reporter for the Calgary Herald, “There were about seven or eight armed men at the gate entrance to the farm owned by Ray Bradley. Several were wearing Nazi uniforms with swastikas; others were in jeans.” Alberts reported that “the words got pretty heavy between Kane and the Skinheads. They taunted the protesters with ‘You survived the Holocaust; see if you can survive me. Why don’t you come closer?’
“The JDL moved closer and the Nazis pushed them and some reporters away,” Albert continued.
REPORTER HELD AT GUNPOINT
At that point, Aryan Nations leader Long appeared and challenged Kane to a public debate about the validity of the Holocaust. “So at the same time there were Skinheads with swastikas saying, ‘We didn’t get rid of all of you,’ Terry Long was saying, ‘It never happened,’” Alberts recounted.
Brad Clark, a freelance reporter for the Alberta Report, was grabbed from behind by some neo-Nazis and held at gunpoint while the film was removed from his camera and the tape from his recorder.
Kane was roughed up trying to help him.
According to Sobolewski, 67, a Catholic who was in Auschwitz for five years and bears a tattooed number on his arm, the neo-Nazis ranged from 16 to 30 in age.
According to Alberts, there was no police presence at the gathering.
He reported that at night, the Skinheads burned a cross while about 30 men circled it and gave the Nazi salute. He said he counted four wearing Klan-like white robes.