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August 23, 2013

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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