Manny Beck, chairman of the International Committee Against Nazism (ICAN), flotly denied today that the organization had or was mailing parcel bombs to neo-Nazi groups and former Nazi war criminals living in the United States.
Beck told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that some group might have been motivated to organize the package bomb mailing campaign by the ICAN’s extensive mailing of anti-Nazi literature. He said “this is going to hurt us.” He described ICAN as being made up of roughly 500 members but that it had been forced to delay implementation of a planned program for lack of funds. He said that the committee has an office in Manhattan and one in Toronto.
There were widespread reports this week that parcel bombs had been discovered in New Jersey, Illinois, Nebraska and Virginia. One of the news agencies receiving a call affirming the mailings was the JTA. The caller said the ICAN was responsible for the mailings and planned to do more of them. He refused to give his name.
According to police reports, the mail bombs were received by a Nebraska man connected with a neo-Nazi group; a former SS officer in Paterson, N.J.; and a branch office of the National Socialist Party in Cicero, a suburb of Chicago where the tiny neo-Nazi Party has its headquarters.
Bombs also were reportedly found in packages at post offices in Chicago and Arlington, Va. The parcel bomb in Chicago was addressed to Frank Collin, head of the Chicago neo-Nazi group who created a major controversy last year with a threat to march in Skokie, home of thousands of survivors of the Holocaust. Collin dropped the threat when he received court permission to hold a rally in Chicago’s Marquette Park, located in a racially mixed area.
Post office officials in Arlington refused to give the name of the person to whom the parcel was addressed but Arlington county sources said it was mailed to the National Socialist White People’s Party. A parcel bomb was received by Tscherim Soobzokov, the former SS officer.
The callers also claimed responsibility for a package bomb mailed to a Gerhard Lauck, a member of an American Nazi Party in Lincoln, Neb. None of the explosive devices went off.
Arthur Meister, an FBI agent in the FBI office in Newark, said the FBI was “actively involved” in an investigation, in cooperation with the U.S. Postal Service and that nationally the probe was being coordinated by the FBI headquarters in Washington.
The FBI said in Washington it was investigating the mailing of the letter bombs but refused to provide details on the extent of the probe. An FBI spokesman told the JTA that the Justice Department had given the FBI “complete jurisdiction” in the case following investigations by the U.S. Postal Service and the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, an investigation group.
The package to Lauck was mailed to him accompanied by a manila envelope, the contents of which were not disclosed. The postmark indicated the package was mailed in Paterson, N.J. Fire inspectors in Lincoln disarmed the bomb.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.