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Thursday, 31 October 2013 06:50

Militia-ous Intent: White Supremacists Planning Kansas City Rally On 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

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BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

KristallnachtThe watchdog group the Institute for Research & Education On Human Rights is reporting that the National Socialist Movement is planning a rally in the Kansas City area on November 9. According to IREHR, "Most of the chatter about the would-be rally place it in downtown Kansas City, Missouri; although the NSM leaflet advertising this event places it in Kansas City, Kansas."

Why has the NSM chosen to rally on November 9?

Kristallnacht – Night of Broken Glass

Seventy-five years ago, in the late evening and early morning hours of November 9–10, 1938, Adolph Hitler unleashed his Storm Troopers and gangs of Hitler Youth in cities throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops. The violent anti-Jewish pogroms resulted in deaths, massive destruction and deportations. Those assaults on the Jewish community became known as Kristallnacht (literally translated as "Night of Crystal" and often referred to as "Night of Broken Glass").

According to United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website, "Instigated by the Nazi regime, rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people. They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside."

"Kristallnacht was a turning point in Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored mass murder of the European Jews," ushmm.org points out.

An article posted on the Holocaust Encyclopedia website titled "KRISTALLNACHT: A NATIONWIDE POGROM, NOVEMBER 9–10, 1938" notes that "In its aftermath, German officials announced that Kristallnacht had erupted as a spontaneous outburst of public sentiment in response to the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, a German embassy official stationed in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew, had shot the diplomat on November 7, 1938."

The German government quickly announced that the Jews "were to blame for the pogrom and imposed huge fines "on the German Jewish community." The government "confiscated all insurance payouts to Jews whose businesses and homes were looted or destroyed, leaving the Jewish owners personally responsible for the cost of all repairs."

Dozens of anti-Jewish laws and decrees followed. They were essentially "designed to deprive Jews of their property and of their means of livelihood."

Kristallnacht is seen as "one of the most important turning points in National Socialist antisemitic policy."

Enter America's National Socialists

So why is the National Socialist Movement organizing a rally on November 9, the seventy-fifth anniversary of Kristallnachtt? Could the NSM be unaware of the significance of that date?

A 1 minute 12 second YouTube video announced that the NSM's rally in Kansas City. And the official leaflet, which is headed "Stand Against Illegal Immigration & Rise Against the Downfall of the American Economy!, makes no mention of the historical significance of November 9.

IREHR's Leonard Zeskind is reporting that several white supremacist organizations plan to attend the rally, including "a faction calling itself Aryan Nations," and a fellow named Matt Heimbach who has received some press lately for "creat[ing] a string of white student groups at Towson University outside Baltimore, and the latest incarnation is called the Traditionalist Youth Network."

According to IREHR, "The lead organizer appears to be a Kansas City-area resident with the name Buddy Rumble. ... a regional organizer for the NSM, and the primary contact person for a number of states, including both Kansas and Missouri."

In its profile of the National Socialist Movement, the Southern Poverty Law Center points out that the NSM "is one of the largest and most prominent neo-Nazi groups in the United States. ... notable for its violent anti-Jewish rhetoric, its racist views and its policy allowing members of other racist groups to join NSM while remaining members of other groups."

Founded in 1959 by former Navy Cmdr. George Lincoln Rockwell as the World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists (WUFENS). The group soon changed its name to the American Nazi Party. Rockwell was murdered by one of his followers in 1967. Subsequently, two of his chief lieutenants, Robert Brannen and Cliff Herrington, formed the National Socialist American Workers Freedom Movement in St. Paul, Minn. In 1994, Jeff Schoep assumed leadership and he renamed the group the National Socialist Movement.

"The resurgence of the NSM began in 2004, in the wake of the deaths of the country's two major neo-Nazi leaders, the National Alliance's William Pierce (d. 2002) and the Aryan Nations' Richard Butler (d. 2004)," the SPLC notes. "Also contributing to the vacuum in neo-Nazi leadership of the nation was the 2004 imprisonment of Matt Hale, the leader of the World Church of the Creator. Hale was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for soliciting the murder of a federal judge."

According to the SPLC, "The NSM made its presence felt through frequent theatrical street actions undertaken in Nazi garb. Unlike other neo-Nazi outfits, the NSM adopted an open-arms recruiting policy that allowed members of other white supremacist groups to participate in NSM actions and join the NSM."

Lest you think that the NSM is only about dressing up and holding rallies, consider the situation in Leith, North Dakota. In that small town, a white supremacist named Craig Cobb, "a hate crimes fugitive from Canada, ... has purchased a home and 12 other lots in the city of Leith, N.D. [where with active support from the NSM] He is actively encouraging others with similar beliefs to move to the town, help him gain control over the government, and establish an all-white enclave," rt.com recently reported.

It is doubtful that the NSM's Kansas City rally will draw large numbers of supporters; in fact it's likely to draw more counter-demonstrators. Nevertheless, the possibility that dozens of white supremacists, dressed in their self-styled military garb, will be rallying on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht is gob-smackingly sickening.

(Photo: Abraham Pisarek)