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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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January 23, 2013 0

White Supremacists Begin New Year With Plot, Murder

Anthony Baum­gart­ner at Char­lotte, North Car­olina, NSM rally in Novem­ber 2012

Amer­i­can white suprema­cists marked the New Year with vio­lence, open­ing 2013 with a mur­der in Ken­tucky and an alleged plot in Ohio.  Sus­pects in both inci­dents have ties to neo-Nazi groups.

The mur­der occurred near the small town of Wal­ton, Ken­tucky, south of Cincin­nati, Ohio, on Jan­u­ary 9. About a week later, Boone County sheriff’s deputies arrested three men on kid­nap­ping, mur­der and abuse of a corpse charges, stat­ing that the sus­pects had beaten the vic­tim in two sep­a­rate loca­tions and stabbed and stran­gled him to death at the sec­ond loca­tion, then dis­mem­bered his body and left parts of it in dif­fer­ent places. The vic­tim was a 19-year old drug addict who also allegedly sold heroin to sup­port his own drug habit.  

The sus­pects arrested were Anthony Baum­gart­ner, 23; Jef­frey Allen, 21; and Stephen Hark­ness, 22. At least one of the sus­pects has ties to the white suprema­cist move­ment. Baum­gart­ner, who has sev­eral white suprema­cist tat­toos, was a rel­a­tively recent recruit to the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM), with the rank of “Stormtrooper First Class.” He attended a major NSM rally in Char­lotte, North Car­olina, in Novem­ber 2012 and also attended or orga­nized local NSM events in Boone County. He claimed to have in the past been involved with a Ku Klux Klan group; this has not been verified.

Baum­gart­ner and the oth­ers also admired out­law motor­cy­cle gangs and Baum­gart­ner claimed on one Web site that he was the for­mer pres­i­dent of a biker club called “SS Ban­dits.” This has also not been verified.

Recently, he posted to a white suprema­cist site that “I want to get back in the race war so me and a few other boys in my area are start­ing to clean up [the] area of drugs and so called street gangs…we had […] enough and its time we stand up and take back what is ares [sic].”

In neigh­bor­ing Ohio, mean­while, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors in mid-January indicted another neo-Nazi, Richard Schmidt of Bowl­ing Green, on weapons charges. Schmidt, a con­victed felon, allegedly had a horde of weapons that included at least 18 assault weapons and more than 40,000 rounds of ammo. Accord­ing to NBC News, a law enforce­ment offi­cer said there was evi­dence that Schmidt pos­si­bly was plan­ning attacks on Jew­ish and civil rights groups in the Detroit area. 

Schmidt was a long-time mem­ber of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, recently act­ing as its Toledo con­tact point, and in the past also occa­sion­ally attended meet­ings of the NSM.

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