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August 23, 2013 0

100 Years Later, Anti-Semitism Around Leo Frank Case Abounds

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Leo Frank

Anti-Semites are using mis­lead­ing web­sites to exploit the 100th anniver­sary of the Leo Frank case and to pro­mote anti-Jewish views.

On August 25, 1913, Leo Frank was falsely con­victed of mur­der­ing Mary Pha­gan, whose body was found in the fac­tory he man­aged in Atlanta. A mob later lynched Frank after the gov­er­nor of Geor­gia com­muted his death sen­tence to life impris­on­ment. The Frank case was a sem­i­nal moment in Amer­i­can Jew­ish his­tory when the Jew­ish com­mu­nity united to fight against the anti-Semitism that was ram­pant at that time. 

A num­ber of web­sites, osten­si­bly pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion about Leo Frank actu­ally use decep­tive means to tell their ver­sion of the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the Frank case. These sites pro­vide doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mony from that time, but their aim is to cre­ate con­fu­sion and per­versely to accuse Jews of reverse racism. They claim that Jews used the Frank case to under­mine whites, espe­cially in the South.

One site is par­tic­u­larly mis­lead­ing. Call­ing itself “The 1913 Leo Frank Case and Trial Research Library,” the site con­tains numer­ous doc­u­ments from the Frank case. How­ever, the “About” sec­tion of the site reveals the real impe­tus for its cre­ation. The site, which is reg­is­tered anony­mously, asserts that the Frank case was one of the events of 1913 that started “the Birth of the Jew­ish Race War Against European-Americans.”  Accord­ing to the author of the sec­tion, the Frank case led to the cre­ation of a “Jew­ish lobby” and “became a polit­i­cal and social front for sub­vert­ing the major­ity pop­u­la­tion of Gen­tiles by a tiny dis­sent­ing minor­ity of Jews.” The author also accuses Jews of con­trol­ling the government.

Another decep­tive Leo Frank web­site is reg­is­tered to neo-Nazi Kevin Strom. Strom was a leader in the National Alliance and then the National Van­guard, two neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions, until he was con­victed on child pornog­ra­phy charges sev­eral years ago. This site cites anti-Semitic works as resources on the Frank case. Strom also pro­motes the arti­cles of “Mark Cohen” on National Van­guard, a neo-Nazi site he runs. Accord­ing to a July 2012 arti­cle on National Van­guard, “Mark Cohen” is “the nom de guerreof a per­son who writes exten­sively about the Leo Frank case.  Arti­cles attrib­uted to Cohen, which assert that Frank is guilty of the Pha­gan mur­der, appear on numer­ous extrem­ist sites.

There are other web­sites on Frank that are also mis­lead­ing. “The Amer­i­can Mer­cury,” an extreme right-wing site with anti-Semitic con­tent, is run­ning a series of arti­cles that pro­mote con­spir­acy the­o­ries about the Frank case. There is also a “Leo Frank” Face­book page that pre­tends to be a per­sonal pro­file page of Frank. This page disin­gen­u­ously lists a num­ber of Jew­ish causes but pro­motes deroga­tory arti­cles on Frank that appear on anti-Semitic websites.

The goal of these fraud­u­lent web­sites is clear. They are using decep­tive means to attack Leo Frank and the Jew­ish community’s efforts to fight back against anti-Semitism.

In the News – The For­ward (8/20/13) “Neo-Nazis Use Leo Frank Case for Anti-Semitic Pro­pa­ganda Push”

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