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Anderson Tells 5000 People at Interfaith Rally Countering Nazi Rally That It is a Sin to Keep Silent

October 20, 1980
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Independent Presidential candidate John Anderson declared here today that “An attack on the Jews is an attack on everyone” and that “it is a sin to be silent” when they occur. Anderson, a Republican Congressman from Illinois, addressed more than 5000 people gathered on the Northwestern University campus in a community-wide interfaith demonstration of solidarity with traditional American values.

It was organized to counter a rally staged by a group of American Nazis at Lovelace Park, about three miles away which ended almost before it began under the heckling of an angry crowd of some 2000 spectators.

The campus demonstration, sponsored by the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at Northwestern University in cooperation with the Jewish community of Evanston and the Public Affairs Committee of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, drew religious and civic leaders of all faiths and races.

Anderson, in a special appearance, denounced attacks on Jews. “Where are the boundaries of evil?” he asked. “If we don’t draw them here, where will we draw them? I submit it is a sin to be silent. I’m here with you today because I consider it my duty to be here with you. I say what Jews have said for thousands of years — “Hineni.”


Sol Goldstein, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee’s subcommittee on individual liberty and Jewish security, himself a Holocaust survivor, declared, “In times of evil, indifference to evils is evil itself. As Jews and as human beings we must never forget what the Nazis did to us. Never again, not in Jerusalem, not in Paris, not in Evanston. We have come to this place to attest that we live.”

Mayor James Lytle of Evanston, told the gathering that “issuing a permit for the Nazi demonstration was the most repugnant act I’ve had to perform. But there is a price one has to pay for freedom.” Father John Pawlokowski, of the University of Chicago Divinity School, said, “I am here as part of the determined group of Christians against anti-Semitism in the churches. I am convinced that this is not a Jewish battle but a battle for all.”

Rabbi Peter Knobel, of Congregation Beth Emet, the Free Synagogue of Evanston, said, “Today must be a beginning until the dominion of hatred is banished from the world.” Rabbi David Polish, founding rabbi of Beth Emet, said, “if America does not destroy racism, racism will destroy America.” Robert Schrayer, president of the Jewish Federation and Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, who introduced Anderson, read telegrams from Sen. Charles Percy (R.III.) and Gov. James Thompson.


The Lovelace Park rally proved a fiasco for the Nazis. Eleven showed up, one carrying an American flag, the others carrying shields with swastikas. They were surrounded by 60 policemen inside a cordoned off area but did not manage to speak as the fiercely anti-Nazi crowd shouted epithets and pressed threateningly against a six-foot fence barrier.

The crowd included members of leftwing groups and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Many participants in the campus rally went to Lovelace Park “to bear dignified witness,” as Rabbi Knobel said, “to the distress of seeing Nazi symbols in Evanston.” The rabbi was among the group carrying signs reading, “The Jewish People Live,” and “Freedom Yes, Nazis No.”

The Nazis left after five minutes under heavy police escort. Their parting gesture was to unfurl a sign reading “Holocaust – 6 Million Lies.” Four or five spectators were detained by police for trying to break through the barriers.

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