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Nazi March Turns out to Be Hoax

February 26, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A series of events suggesting a hoax against the local Jewish community come to on abrupt end last Friday morning in federal court when U.S. District Court Judge Clifford Green ordered withdrawal of a permit for a march Sunday (Feb. 25) by a mysterious individual identifying himself as the leader of a Nazi party . The National Park Service, which had issued the permit for the march at Independence Mall to a James Guttman on Feb. 20, followed through on Green’s order by cancelling the permit.

Disclosure that the permit had been issued for a march by “100” Nazi party members touched off action for an injunction to bar the march, and plans for counter-demonstrations by the Jewish War Veterans and the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (JCRC).

The injunction was sought by the City of Philadelphia, the Association for Jewish New Americans, a survivors group, and Birth Shalom. The hearing on the injunction application began last Thursday in Green’s court but the judge postponed the hearing until 10 a.m. Friday, giving Guttman until then to appear in court to prove his constitutional right to the permit and the march! Guttman has not been seen since he went to the National Park Service office, which is in charge of Independence Mall, and obtained the permit.

Officials said Guttman had listed a. PO Box as his address and the name of Frank Collin, leader of the Nazi group in Chicago Who obtained worldwide publicity last year when he announced plans to stage a march in Skokie, III., and switched it to a rally in Chicago. Collin was reported to have said he had never heard of Gorman, and that there was no Nazi party in Philadelphia.


The board of the local JCRC met last Thursday to consider action, on the assumption that Guttman’s constitutional rights to stage a march would be upheld. The JCRC board approved plans for the counter-demonstration — called off after the permit was withdrawn — and asked all people ” of good will” in the city to join the planned counter-demonstration at Independence Mall.

Solomon Fisher, president of the JCRC, declared in a statement issued after the permit was cancelled that the JCRC asked ” all appropriate governmental officials to investigate these events fully and completely ” and prosecution ” to the fullest of the law ” for ” any criminal acts” perpetrated ” in this matter. ” Fisher expressed gratitude for ” the many acts of kindness that so many people — Blocks and whites, Christians and Jews — willingly performed during this period .” Thernon-Jews helped to prepare materials for the counter-demonstration and offered to march in the projected counter-demonstration.

According to the permit, Guttman planned to lead a “White power rally to show to white masses the unity of the white race.” The shadowy alleged Nazi may be an individual using a student identification card lost by a Belgian music student, Michael Guttman, who lived in New York, according to testimony presented in Green’s court Thursday.

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