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February 17, 1989 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Neo-Nazi elements seem to be expanding within the
teenage skinhead phenomenon. And they are
coming closer to home for Jews in Oakland County.

DASH (Detroit Area Skinheads) was
responsible for acts of vandalism here
in November on the 50th anniversary
of Kristallnacht, when Jewish
establishments were spray-painted
with swastikas and windows were
smashed. In November 1938, the
Nazis burned hundreds of Jewish-
owned business and synagogues in
Germany on a rampage as the Night
of Broken Glass, Kristallnacht.
"I think they got their directions
from the Chicago Area Skinheads
(CASH)," Lobenthal says of DASH's
actions. "It's almost a signature act.
They one up each other."
Lobenthal and others are fearful
the skinheads may try for a repeat
performance on April 20, the 100th
anniversary of Adolph Hitler's
birthday.
"We suggest that security precau-
tions be taken," he says. "And we will
be working with law enforcement
authorities. It's a lot like terrorism.
It only takes one individual to do it."
"The skinheads usually aim their
acts of violence at visible minorities,
except on anniversary dates like these
when they target Jews," adds Flint in-
vestigative reporter Dan Shriner, who
has been studying the skinheads.
"Someone in the skinhead movement
is going to understand April 20."

Shriner says the neo-Nazi
skinheads are working directly with
older white supremicists like Robert
Miles of Howell and William Burford,
American Nazi Party head in the
Chicago area.
He adds that elder racists seek to
exploit skinheads to commit violence,
hoping for leaders to emerge within
the skinhead movement to carry the
racist cause into the 1990s.
"Two years ago, I attended a
meeting at Bob Miles' place when he
brought CASH kids here. There were
Detroit kids present, and I think that
was when the neo-Nazi skinhead
movement first became organized in
Michigan;' Shriner says.
"The CASH members were dress-
ed in black leather, with black leather

1AT

e can't say it's only a
small group of people
doing these skinhead
acts;' says Bed Fal-
baum, a member of the
Jewish Community Council. "That's
exactly what people said in Germany.
The implied hatred of these groups is
a disconcerting note that we should
pay attention to. It is the social and
political climate which permits these
groups to gain more control, and the
future of the skinheads depends on
the future of the political climate."
Some groups are already paying
close attention to the skinheads.
At Berkshire Middle School in
Birmingham, where problems have
been brewing, Principal Ronald
Miller held a program for seventh-
graders to discuss the issue. He sent
a letter home to parents of seventh-
graders, stating that provocations, in-
cluding name calling, will be grounds
for punishment.
At nearby Groves High School,
principal
Robert Lentz says students
Z cc )
visit the Holocaust Memorial Center
Skinhead John Lyman gave his views on racism to a Milwaukee audience in January.
and that last year, actor Robert
Cleary, a survivor, was brought in to
hats, sporting Doc Martens boots. be a member of the Identity Church,
speak to the student body. He said the
There were about 20.
a white supremacy group, began
school is planning more programs to
promote racial and ethnic awareness.
"When they entered the meeting, touting Shriner in the church after
"I have talked to many Jewish
we all stood up and greeted the the zoning charge was dropped. The
students and parents, and they are
Chicago skinheds with `sieg heil.' At journalist grew a beard, told his
comfortable with the direction we are
the front of the group, where the newspaper he would file reports on
going in;' says Lentz.
skinheads were seated, there was a what he discovered, and enrolled in
At Seaholm, Principal James
bust of Hitler, which we also saluted Identity. The group put Shriner in
touch with many of the top leaders in
Wallendorf expresses concern about
with `sieg heil.
"anyone who professes to follow these
"William Burford was there. So the supremacy movement in the
(skinhead) groups;' adding, "the two
was William Pierce, head of the Na- 1980s during the layoffs here and dur-
skinheads who came from Groves
tional Alliance, and Glen Miller, the ing the farmbelt crisis.
have been given strict instructions
Klan leader in the Carolinas. Miles
"I eventually stopped because I
and certain written regulations about
told the gathering that the skinheads was becoming too successful;' says
what it means to misbehave. I know
were the future of the white Shriner, 34. "By 1985, I, alone, had
they infuriate their parents."
supremacy movement in this coun- recruited 200 people into the move-
Eva Sears of the Atlanta-based
try," Shriner says.
ment."
Center for Democratic Renewal, a na-
Shriner began studying the
tional clearinghouse that counters
He went public and gave all his
skinheads while covering the court-
bigoted violence and hate-group ac-
room beat for the Flint Journal. An information to the FBI. A year ago, he
tivity, expresses deep concern over the
odd-looking minister charged with a was a key Justice Department
swift rise of the neo-Nazi skinhead
zoning violation was representing witness in the sedition trial of Aryan
movement among affluent youth. She
himself. Shriner mentioned a flaw in National leader Robert E. Butler, and
and Lobenthal point to the Reagan
Bob Miles. The Justice Department
the charges.
administration's legacy of
The minister, who turned out to lost the case in Fort Smith, Ark.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

25

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