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July 28, 2005 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-07-28

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

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EZEGULAirFrED

310‘..1G1-1JuLy 31. 2005

5(011 GREGORY

gozitiOre fir ker

'm all in favor
of keeping a
community
clean.
I'm in favor of a
city that praises its
citizens for volun-
teering to keep the
community clean.
I just wouldn't
know how to feel if
it allowed a group
to participate carry-

ing a Nazi flag.
And that's where the story really
starts.
The National Socialist Movement-
Michigan Unit's Web site proudly
shows a photograph of the much-
talked-about certificate of apprecia-
tion it received on May 7 from the
city of Cadillac.
According to an Associated Press
story; City Manager Peter Stalker told
the Traverse City Record-Eagle another
city employee made out the certificate
as an honest mistake.
"We certainly do not endorse the
types of things that this organization
stands for," he said.
About eight members of the group,
which likes to be called the American
Nazi Party, wore T-shirts with swastikas
while cleaning up a city park. That's
what makes them a bit different than
other volunteers — they enjoy showing
off swastikas in public. And at their
national meeting in Kansas last April,
some wore full Gestapo uniforms.
Although local outrage didn't appear
in the press until a few weeks ago, the
group's cleanup efforts have been going
on for almost a year.
Photos on its Web site showed the
group cleaning up a portion of 13th
Street in Cadillac on Aug. 28, 2004,
wearing Nazi swastika T-shirts.
On Sept. 9, 2004, photos showed
them cleaning up a portion of M-115.
Some were clad in the same T-shirts,
while one member carried a Nazi flag.
When the certificate of appreciation
and photos from this year's cleanup
effort were loaded onto their Web site,
a Record-Eagle reporter was tipped off
and the story made the national wires. I
learned this from Betsy Kellman of the
Anti-Defamation League-Michigan
Region based in Bloomfield Township.
She wasn't able to attend the city

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Harry Kirsbaum's e-mail address is
hkirsbaum @thejewishnews. corn.

1004920

council meeting on July 18, where the
Nazi group stood menacingly against
the back wall, she was told.
But she led a town hall meeting in
Cadillac on July 21, attended by the
mayor, city manager, city council mem-
bers, chief of police, school superin-
tendent and about 50 citizens, she said.
Kellman said city officials would not
condemn the group.
"This community believes in civil
rights, and they have this resolution

Certikeate DI Appreciation For
Com:nu:11N Service tutcl Volunteerism



The certificate of appreciation awarded
the Nazis by the city of Cadillac.

that says 'We believe in diversity, we
believe in equal rights for all people,"'
she said. "The resolution was good,
but they stopped short of condemn-
ing this group."
According to the Record-Eagle,
Cadillac Mayor Ronald Blanchard said,
"There's not one member on the city
council that believes in what they stand
for. It's appalling to me."
But, according to Kellman, the
mayor came short of condemning the
group, saying the Nazis "are citizens of
this community, and I can't come out
and condemn them."
Kellman set up "World of
Difference" anti-bias training for local
grade 10-12 teachers next month and
also offered to set up a local task force
to decide what else the community
should do.
"There's a long way to go before
this thing is finally won," Kellman
said. "The Nazis are staying. They live
there, they're part of the community. I
think the community itself is strong,
but the city council really has still not
come out and said, This is a hate
group and we have to monitor and
get rid of them.'"
I tried to contact the city manager,
but as of press time, I still haven't
heard from him.
I'd like to ask him what happens at
the next clean-up event? 0

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