A new study charges that accused Nazis, fascists and anti-Semites hold or have held leadership positions in some of the Republican National Committee’s ethnic outreach groups.
The report, “Old Nazis, the New Right and the Reagan Administration: The Role of Domestic Fascists Networks in the Republican Party and their Effect on U.S. Cold War Politics,” by Detroit free-lance writer and researcher Russell Bellant, was released Sept. 15 and reported Friday in the Washington Jewish Week.
Bellant, 40, uncovered accused Nazis in the outreach groups formed under the umbrella of the RNC’s Heritage Groups Council.
He also found that four of the seven members of Vice President George Bush’s Coalition of American Nationalities who resigned in the past two weeks are still active in the Heritage Groups Council and its constituent groups.
In an interview, Bellant said that he could not uncover any remaining RNC link to Jerome Brentar, Bohdan Fedorak and Ignatius Bilinsky, the other three who resigned, but he said they might be involved in the RNC on the state level.
He said he was not calling for the resignations of the individuals in question, but, added that “it would be nice if some Republicans would call for the resignations instead of the Democrats.”
RNC WON’T INVESTIGATE
Responding to Bellant’s accusations, Albert Maruggi, the RNC’s press secretary, said there are no plans to investigate the backgrounds of any of the ethnic group members cited in the report.
He repeated a comment made by Kathryn Murray, RNC director of communications, in the Washington Jewish Week story that the study’s conclusions were “patently ridiculous and absurd.”
Marshall Breger, President Reagan’s former liaison to the Jewish community and now chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, said some of the charges in the report may be true, but said its suggestions that the involvement of the ethnic individuals represents “a Republican conspiracy is ridiculous.”
The study concluded that “a combination of ignorance, amnesia and in some cases political sympathy, have allowed both American and European abetters of the Third Reich to play a prominent and respectable role inside the Republican Party.”
Breger said those in question are part of a larger “problem of American history,” that after World War II, “the U.S. government assisted persons with anti-communism backgrounds who had neo-Nazi backgrounds to enter this country.” He added that both political parties have received support from such individuals.
The 87-page report was published by Political Research Associates of Cambridge, Mass. The research organization was founded in 1981 to investigate the extreme right in the Chicago area following Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi rallies in Skokie and Marquette Park, III.
While Murray of the RNC told the Jewish Week that the research firm “makes its money from trashing right-wing groups,” Bellant simply characterized the firm as “politically progressive.”
FOUR STILL TIED TO BUSH
The four Bush ethnic coalition members who recently resigned but are still active in the constituency groups of the Heritage Groups Council, or the council itself, are:
Philip Guarino, former vice chairman of Bush’s Coalition of American Nationalities. He once chaired the Italian-American Republican Club and, from 1971 to 1975, was vice chairman of the Heritage Groups Council. Guarino has been listed as a member of P-2, a fascist group.
Radi Slavoff, who was national co-chairman of Bulgarians for Bush, chaired the Heritage Groups Council from 1985 to 1987. Slavoff reportedly served in a national front aligned with the Nazis.
Florian Galdau, honorary chairman of the ethnic coalition, who heads the Romanian-American group and allegedly was a member of the Iron Guard, an anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi movement.
Laszlo Pasztor, a former coalition member who set up the Heritage Groups Council in 1969 and has served as head of the Hungarian-American group. Pasztor served in Hungary’s pro-Nazi Arrow Cross regime.
Before 1969, the Heritage Groups Council “was not an ongoing thing,” Bellant said. But since 1969, Republican presidential nominees have “utilized the Heritage Groups Council as the shell for setting up their own ethnic campaigns,” he added.
He said he studied the council’s precursor, the so-called Ethnic Division, in existence from 1952 to 1969, only superficially.
Bellant said Republicans who helped the RNC organize the Ethnic Division also had set up programs to recruit former Nazis to serve in U.S. paramilitary operations in Europe in 1952.
NAZIS IN LEADERSHIP POSTS
Bellant said that since 1969, several dozen alleged Nazis, fascists and anti-Semites have held leadership posts in the Heritage Groups Council.
The alleged Nazis include:
Nicholas Nazerenko, accused of having been a former World War II officer in the German SS Cossack Division. He heads one of the two Cossack-American units in the RNC.
Ivan Docheff, the mayor of a German city during World War II and founder of a pro-Hitler youth group.
Joseph Mikus, a former diplomat to Rome for the Nazi puppet state of Slovakia.
Stanislav Stankevich, mayor of a Russian city in 1941 when police massacred 6,500 to 7,000 Jews in one night, Bellant said.
The late Alfreds Berzins, charged with committing war crimes in Latvia.
In a related development, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sept. 18 that in 1972, convicted Nazi war criminal Boleslavs Maikovskis of Mineola, N.Y., served on the advisory board of the Latvian-American Section of the Heritage Council for the Re-Election of the President.
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.