LONDON (Oct. 17)
Congregants of a northeast London synagogue were intimidated last weekend by members of the anti-Semitic British National Party, which held its annual general meeting in a public hall next door.
At the same time, British immigration officials barred entry to a notorious neo-Nazi from Germany who was to have addressed the British fascists.
Although no incidents were reported, a police escort was provided for worshipers Saturday evening who were leaving the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue.
But a study group led by Rabbi Eli Sufrin declined to leave.
Earlier that day, 20 children attending a Bnai Akiva meeting at the synagogue were evacuated at the urging of fearful parents. One mother raised an alarm when she saw men on foot and in cars streaming toward the meeting hall.
“Some were well dressed, but there were Skinheads and brutish-looking young guys, and there were no black or Asian people among them. I knew they weren’t from the local horticultural group,” the woman said.
The British National Party posed as an environmental group to trick the Epping Council into renting it the hall. A council spokesman apologized later for any concern to synagogue members.
Scotland Yard estimated that 500 attended the meeting. But Epping officials said the hall’s capacity was no more than 200.
Missing was Manfred Roeder, leader of the extreme right-wing German Citizens Initiative who has been convicted several times for inciting hatred of Jews.
Roeder, who styles himself as the legitimate representative of the Third Reich, was the invite guest speaker at the British National Party meeting. He tried to enter Britain by way of Jersey in the Channel Islands, where he flew from Paris on Oct. 11, traveling under his own name.
Acting Chief Inspector Martin Furzer of Jersey Immigration recognized his name from circular. Roeder was detained overnight and sent back to Paris.