WASHINGTON (Dec. 16)
FBI Director Louis Freeh took a step toward combatting religious and ethnic hatred this week by ordering an investigation of Americans accused of assisting German neo-Nazis.
The Anti-Defamation League’s national chairman, Melvin Salberg, and its national director, Abraham Foxman, praised the investigation.
Freeh said Thursday on ABC Television’s “Good Morning America” that, during his trip to Germany this week, German law enforcement authorities requested he look into American involvement in the dissemination of neo-Nazi materials.
“We’re looking at a couple of cases in the United States where people may be working, aiding and abetting criminal activities” in Germany, Freeh said.
Reports indicate that the Germans presented Freeh with proof that certain Americans acted in collusion with German neo-fascists.
Freeh announced the investigation Tuesday from Germany.
The investigation is likely to focus upon Gary Lauck of Lincoln, Neb., the editor of a German-language newspaper called “NS Kampfruf,” which means “Nazi battle cry.”
Lauck’s newspaper glorifies Adolf Hitler and offers Germans a mail-order catalog of Nazi propaganda, including flags with swastikas and recordings of Hitler’s speeches.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that German officials have identified Lauck as the most important supplier of Nazi propaganda to German neo-Nazis.
In a letter sent to the FBI on Wednesday, the ADL said, “Lauck has used the United States postal system as one of his means of supplying German neo-Nazis with thousands of pieces of propaganda that are prohibited by law in Germany.”
German law makes it illegal to publish hate mail.
The ADL also sent a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Marvin Runyon urging him to use international postal regulations to stop Lauck’s activity.
“We’re not going to prosecute people for ideas, no matter how despicable they are,” Freeh said Thursday. “But when they either violate U.S. law or foreign law, we will vigorously prosecute them.”