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Wiesenthal Charges That Two Right-wing Groups Provide Money for Legal Defense of War Criminals

May 16, 1977
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Simon Wiesenthal charged here that two right-wing foundations in the United States are channeling tax-free donations for the legal defense of Nazi war criminals and said that one of them is connected with a world-wide disseminator of anti-Semitic and other racial hate propaganda. Wiesenthal, who heads the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna, made the disclosures yesterday at an address at a special session held in his honor during the 71st annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee.

The Nazi-hunter named the foundations as the Hermine Ryan Defense Fund of New York and the Patriotic Legal Fund of Marietta, Ga. He said they collected monies from about 80 neo-Nazi and Fascist groups in the U.S. and Canada. According to Wiesenthal, the Patriotic Legal Fund is connected with White Power Publications of Liverpool, W. Va.

He said that White Power prints 60 publications in five languages which are distributed in the U.S., South America, notably Argentina, Europe, especially West Germany, and South Africa. It also sends German language editions of Nazi books to German underground groups, he said. Its titles include “Adolf Hitler’s testament,” “My Part in Germany’s Fight” by Goebbels and “Mein Kampf.”

Wiesenthal said that the Hermine Ryan Fund paid the legal expenses for the Austrian-born former Queens housewife Hermine Braunstein Ryan during a nine-year battle against deportation and continues to pay her legal fees as she stands trial in West Germany for the murders of 250,000 Jews and others when the was a concentration camp guard at Maidanek during World War II.


According to Wiesenthal, neo-Nazi groups are in various stages of development in different parts

He said that in the U.S. and Canada “the several dozens of small organizations are not dangerous for these big democracies themselves but they harm the American image abroad because neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist groups all over the world receive this dirty propaganda from their counterparts in the States and pass it on as American propaganda.”

Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY), who spoke at the session honoring Wiesenthal, called on the House Subcommittee on Immigration to investigate why the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has failed to deal with cases of Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. She demanded that the subcommittee find out why these individuals were permitted to enter the country and to become American citizens.


Speaking last week in Chicago to 150 members of the Jewish United Fund (JUF) social welfare agencies’ division at a fund-raising meeting in the Jewish Federation building, Wiesenthal described himself as “a survivor who feels compelled to do my duty.” He noted, “Young people today cannot comprehend the horror of the Nazis. For them it is something as impersonal as a history book. That is why I must expose the Nazi menace which persists today, so that our young people will not be contaminated.”

Wiesenthal stressed his deep concern about the fate of the three million Soviet Jews. He said that even if Soviet Jewish emigration should again reach the level of 30,000 to 40,000 a year, instead of the current approximately 12,000 a year, there would still be three million Jews in the Soviet Union, to whom the world Jewish community has not given sufficient attention.

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