"I looked at us in the window and it was a beautiful sight to me. That was my moment."
An assortment of people chat quietly in a corridor of the Pasadena Holiday Inn. Suddenly, a conference room door opens. A young man with dark, friendly eyes peers out and smiles as he notes the size of the crowd. His eyes seem out of character, shining above his khaki storm trooper shirt with Nazi swastika armband, thin black tie, and black trousers tucked into the top of his combat boots. A J8 caliber Colt Diamond back revolver hangs in the holster of his gunbelt.
The National Socialist party’s official newspaper. White Power, editorially stomps on every nonwhite toe in sight.
After the storm trooper searches unfamiliar visitors for weapons, the assembled crowd moves inside to rows of folding chairs facing a wall covered with a huge red Nazi banner, a podium flanked by an American flag, and a table supporting two candles and a silver bowl. A large painting of Adolf Hitler watches over the room from one corner.
The meeting which follows is like a window into the past, to Germany, circa 1930. But this is not the past; this is a recent district meeting of the three Nazi units in Southern California, units representing the cities of Los Angeles, Torrance, and San Diego.
While 11 storm troopers snap to the Nazi salute and prepare to start the meeting, one man in the audience asks another how he got the two ribbons which decorate the top of each pocket on his green military shirt. Pointing to each ribbon, he answers, “This one is for killing a nigger, and this one is for dragging him behind my car for three miles." They laugh.
The house lights are extinguished while a young storm trooper, illuminated by candles which cast a flickering glow to the Nazi banner, switches on a scratchy recording of a German marching song. The song thumps along for several minutes before the storm trooper yells, “Audience, atten-hut!" and the crowd jumps to attention while two more storm troopers stomp through the darkness to the front of the room.
Yesterday’s treels seem to come alive as the new troopers stand stiffly before the blood-red flag and raise their arms in salute, prompting the crowd to follow their example.
The people stand in silence as one of the new storm troopers, head of both the Southern California district and the Los Angeles unit, asks for “all patriotic Americans” to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. First-time visitors sigh with relief, knowing at least one thing in this bizarre ritual is familiar to them: the national pledge to a country founded on “liberty and justice for all." After all, how strange can these people be if they still believe in the Pledge of Allegiance? But the visitors are not left at ease. The pledge is altered to end, “...with liberty and justice for all white people.”
The Southern California district leader, a short man with a neatly trimmed mustache, peeks over the podium and starts the meeting. “Good evening, National Socialist comrades and visitors. I’d like to welcome you all to our monthly district meeting. As you should know, this meeting is in honor of the 88th birthday of Adolf Hitler.”
He reviews his unit’s activities for the month and calls for reports from the other two units. A tall, pale teenager, whose storm trooper shirt and black pants hang loosely on his slender frame, steps to the podium on behalf of the San Diego unit and holds up a Nazi newsletter called the Young Aryan.
The San Diego representative, who writes the newsletter aimed at junior and senior high school students, explains how the Young Aryan is disseminated. “We each go out with a handful of leaflets and we put them everywhere, and the Jews are getting worried. A leaflet here, a sticker there, a poster here. Oh my God, they’re everywhere!”
The crowd listens intently as he explains his purpose. “We are getting around with this paper right now because we’re not going to share this country with any other race; it belongs to us. It’s a white man's country and it’s going to stay that way.”
The Young Aryan's author is 16 years old. He has been a Nazi since he was 12.
The district leader returns to the podium and glances over the crowd before him. Using his best preacher’s style, he begins sermonizing about a child born in Austria 88 years ago. “This child was to be named Adolf Hitler. He rose from those humble beginnings to become the greatest champion of the white race and the greatest mortal to walk the face of this earth.”
After briefly outlining the dictator’s early life, he stares down at the audience and asks, “Who was this being, this half-man, half-god that walked among us, who trod this earth, who breathed this air, who watched the same sun as you and I rise and set?
He pauses while his eyes dart around the room. “Our enemies are just full of answers. I’m sure they all know who Hitler was. The Jews say he was a pervert. The capitalists say he was some sort of communist, and the communists say he was a total capitalist. Yet, all of these enemies managed to agree on one thing: they all say that Adolf Hitler was a mad man and his coming was a disaster to mankind. Yet, surely by their own admission, he was a very strange mad man and a very unusual monster.”
He lists some of the attributes which would make Hitler a star politician in any society: he adored children, loved animals, and single-handedly pulled Germany out of the depression.
He continues: “These enemies — communists, Jews, Democrats — are insanely jealous of Adolf Hitler. Unable to do anything themselves, these small men try to throw mud on the personality of our leader.”
The speaker scoffs at the concentration camp “ghost stories” and the “fairy tales” about how Hitler deliberately started World War II. “When someone single-handedly affects the world —who changes the course of history, as our premier did — you have to stop thinking of them as a mere human being and look for a higher explanation. Ultimately, we have to think of Adolf Hitler as being not just a mortal man but as being an expression of nature.’
As he intones his message, the crowd’s eyes riveted upon him, it becomes evident how the eloquent Hitler might have captured audiences four decades ago.
“Adolf Hitler, I feel more than anything else, was just that: an upheaval of nature, like an earthquake or a cyclone or a hurricane. But also like the gentle rain that falls to earth. He was both the lightning that destroys and the sun that causes things to grow.”
Expanding on Hitler’s belief in inherent racial inequality, the trooper tells the people that living in accordance with National Socialism is living in accordance with nature. “(Hitler) felt that there are laws which govern the workings of the universe. For a man to be successful and happy, he must recognize what these laws are and then live in accordance with them. That’s all National Socialism is.”
He pauses once again before delivering his final words. “Adolf Hitler’s doctrine is actually a new religion for Aryan man. Just as Jesus Christ announced the doctrine of individual salvation, so Adolf Hitler proclaimed the doctrine of racial salvation.”
After a passage from the Nazi bible—Hitler’s Mein Kampf—the lights are dimmed again and the silver bowl next to the candles is set on fire. While the bowl blazes, the crowd ends the meeting by singing the lyrics of the “Horst Wessel Lied," the official anthem of Hitler’s original Nazi party.
- We march and fight to death or on to victory.
- Our might is right, no traitor shall prevail.
- Our hearts are steeled against the fiery gates of hell.
- No shot or shell can still our mighty song.
As one first-time visitor opens the door to leave, San Diego’s only female Nazi at the meeting turns to him and says ,“Eighty-eight."
“What?” he answers.
“You don’t know what ‘88’ means, do you?” she asks, referring to the salutation in honor of Hitler’s latest birthday.
“No,” he replies.
The woman does not move. She stares wildly into his eyes, smiles, and says, “Heil Hitler.”
The official name of the Nazi party today is the National Socialist White People’s Party (the term “Nazi" is contracted from two German words meaning “National Socialism"). Modern Nazis still idolize Adolf Hitler and continue to hold one of his fundamental tenets: men must recognize and submit to a natural inequality of the races.
“In Germany, National Socialism was overcome from the outside by sheer weight of number.” said a former leader of the San Diego unit, who chose to remain anonymous and will be referred to as Mr. Schneider. “It didn’t collapse from within ... it never did.”
Schneider, a quietly assertive man with traces of gray through both his wavy hair and blue eyes, would be hard-pressed to fit the stereotype of the goose-stepping storm trooper. He immigrated here from Britain in the early 50s; a slight accent still marks his measured words. Though reluctant to divulge personal information, he says he fought with the Allies in the Second World War, participated in the liberation of occupied European countries, and witnessed the release of prisoners from German concentration camps.
He has been a Nazi for more than two years, one of them as head of the San Diego unit. An attractive job offer elsewhere led to his resigning the position. As he prepares to leave San Diego, the local unit remains leaderless.
While relaxing in his San Diego apartment on Second Avenue, he outlined the party’s four-step plan for controlling the United States and discussed its major goal: the deportation of every black American man, woman, and child to either Africa or the West Indies.
The first step, according to Schneider, was establishing the Nazi party in the United States. This was completed in the late ’50s by George Lincoln Rockwell, first head of the American Nazi Party who was gunned down by a former party member on August 25, 1967.
The second step, building leadership to run the party, is in progress right now. The two final steps are drawing mass support to the party and, finally, the process of taking control.
The Nazis, according to Schneider, want to be elected to all levels of American government, hopefully within the next 15 to 20 years. They hope the white majority will become fed up with “rising black crime” and sweep the National Socialists into office. Then they plan to make American a racially snow-white country.
Once in power, Schneider says, the Nazis will amend the U.S. Constitution so black Americans can be legally deported and all other nonwhites and Jews can be stripped of citizenship. The blacks, now numbering about 25 million nationwide, will be shuttled to their “ancestral origins” by military ships and aircraft.
But the Jews may pose a special problem for the Nazis, just as they did for Hitler. As the National Socialists do not consider the “outlaw” state of Israel to be the ancestral homeland of the Jews, nearly seven million American Jews may have to live on reservations like the Indians, Schneider guessed. But one way or another, the Nazis believe the time has come for the races to part company.
“You have got to do it once and for all. It may be tough on one generation, but after that, everything will fall into place.”
As for the future of the white race. Schneider sees nothing but gloom unless the blacks are returned to Africa. “(Integration) is going to kill the white race, because if you put them together it’s going to encourage intermarriage and encourage the whites to follow the ways of the blacks.”
Unless the United States turns to National Socialist guidance, Schneider believes America is destined to become a “banana republic” populated by mulattoes. “It’s bound to happen; there is no way it’s not going to happen. The president of the United States is going to look like Idi Amin and everybody else will be a coffee color.”
But until the day comes when the Nazis take control, the San Diego unit will content itself with protest demonstrations and trying to solve local problems like illegal alien traffic. (In keeping with their uniquely direct solutions to most problems, the Nazis would halt illegal border traffic by constructing a chain-link fence along the border and using Marines and equipment from Camp Pendleton to police it.
Although National Socialist storm troopers bring to mind visions of the Nazis’ ruthless past, Schneider insists the Nazi party does not advocate violence unless provoked. The horror of Hitler’s blitzkrieging tanks and screaming Stuka dive-bombers was replaced long ago by a somewhat more subtle means of persuasion: the written word. The National Socialist party’s official newspaper. White Power, editorially stomps on every nonwhite toe in sight, and libels everybody from Jimmy Carter to Kunta Kinte. (A recent White Power photograph of Jimmy Carter kissing black staff member Rita Samuels carried this caption: “LUST AFTER BLACK FLESH—In an uninhibited and fulsome display of his savoir-faire as a nigger-lover without equal, Jimmy Carter smooches with one of his liver-lipped girlfriends”)
Nazi literature such as this serves as the first experience many people have with the group, but Schneider says blacks themselves are a catalyst which ignites people to join the Nazi ranks. “The best recruiting element we have is our opposition, probably the blacks. People are forced to live with them; they are forced to be exposed to the black crime which is going on all over. They do a lot of our work for us.”
Asked why blacks should be forced to leave, Schneider answers, “The blacks were born here but they were born in a white country. Their origins are in Africa."
The blacks’ mission in life, he says, was to populate Africa where they were adapted to the surroundings, the climate, and the way of life. Back when they were herding cattle, they were doing fine; they were in their element. But you take them out of the jungle, put them into the white man’s society, and try to make second-class white men out of them, it just doesn’t work. They have that basic jungle instinct and it comes out all the time. You can give them a Cadillac and a fancy suit, but it doesn’t change them.”
Recruiting support for the party today can be difficult because of the Third Reich’s sinister reputation, which Schneider calls “a pack of lies.” For example, he alleges that six million Jews were not exterminated in concentration camps during World War II. Germany was losing the war and could not afford to feed and care for prisoners properly, so many of the prisoners, who were not all Jewish, died of starvation and sickness. Schneider admits corpses were burned in ovens to stop disease epidemics, but asserts gas chambers disguised as showers were never used to kill people.
In fact, the National Socialists believe Hitler never wanted war with the Allies and only invaded Poland on September I, 1939, to use Poland as a buffer zone against the Soviet Union. But if Germany and the Axis powers had beaten the Allies during the war, Schneider believes America would have done well under Nazi rule. “I think (America) would be in very good shape. We would have an all-white America; there would be very little crime here. It would have a National Socialist type of government, I'm sure. You wouldn’t have the nigger pimps driving around Horton Plaza—driving around with white women—to put it on a local level.”
In another part of San Diego County, the precocious young leader of the Nazi youth auxiliary, brainchild of the Young Aryan, slips away from his school to talk about party activity in San Diego and his own fervent commitment to a racially pure America. Although his name and picture appeared in the Pacific Beach Sentinel in 1974 as a result of his Nazi activities, he wishes to remain anonymous. With just a few months left in his senior year at this private school, he doesn’t want to complicate the impending graduation with publicity. (“When I'm out you can print my name, address, and phone number if you want. But not now.”) For the purposes of this interview he has chosen the name Cedric Knall, “a good, Anglo-Saxon-sounding name.”
As with former leader Schneider, it is difficult to imagine this lean young teenager in a Nazi uniform. He has just returned from an afternoon at the beach, and if it weren’t for the words he speaks and the occasional lunging pitch of his voice as he makes a point, one would more easily imagine a surfboard under his arm, than a swastika band around it.
Knall's introduction to the Nazi party came during a school field trip when he was 12 years old. On a park bench he saw a sticker which read, “National Socialism Is For White People.” “I looked at that and said, ‘Wow. that’s something.’ So I read some about it and met some people and got interested."
Initially, his parents obliged his indulgence, and, he says, even took an interest themselves, but from a distance. “They’d say stuff like, ‘Well, I wouldn’t join you, but you got a helluva lot of good points.’ But that changed when I went out on the line (in the streets). They didn’t like that.”
Like most “green” members, as a new recruit Knall was taken to Los Angeles for his first experience “hitting the street.” “It’s the real moment of truth. You’re out there in your uniform handing out pamphlets and people are going by and you’re asking yourself, ‘What the hell am I doing here? Am I going off the cliff? Is someone going to shoot meT
“My first time I was really scared, but I tried not to show it, and I don’t think I did. As we came back from the street, we were all standing in a big truck—we came up to a stop light and I saw our reflections in a big store window. Everybody was there together, the helmets, the flags flying, the swastikas. I looked at us in the window and it was a beautiful sight for me. That was my moment; I knew I belonged and decided right then to stay.”
When his picture appeared in the Sentinel later, his parents got “very tough" with him. His father, he says, was physically abusive. At the time, Knall was enrolled in a San Diego Catholic boarding school, and he feared that the reaction there would be just as bad. But his fears were for naught. “This is the most fantastic thing of all. When the paper came out, a lot of people at school got interested. They wouldn’t join, but they started wearing armbands, swastika armbands, in class.
“The nuns complained, but they complained because the bands clashed with the school colors we had to wear, these blue shirts. So they said we had to change the color and that’s just what we did. I wore mine until I graduated. I even heard from one of the nuns that one of the priests became an official supporter and that some other nuns read the literature and liked it.
“And then you’d see leaflets up on dormitory walls and no one would take them down. They’d just stay up there and everybody would read them. After the newspaper thing, school was a picnic. It was the most sympathetic school I’ve been to in my life.”
The San Diego unit today is in a sort of limbo due to Schneider’s departure, but Knall says that there are about 32 active members, and as many as 50 more “official” supporters. The group is divided into three sections: the youth auxiliary (which he heads), the women’s auxiliary, and the storm troopers. These last are the unit’s elite, men who have passed “rigid" tests and served difficult probationary periods. They are the frontliners, the ones who take to the streets with literature, petitions, and protective headgear.
When a new leader is appointed (by the national headquarters in Arlington, VirginIa), Knall expects that the regular meetings, usually held in a rented conference room in the Hotel Circle area, will resume. He expects that the local party will gear up its recruitment one* again (he claims that before Schneider’s resignation, as many as 80 people would attend a regularly scheduled meting). For the time being, however, he continues his work with the Young Aryan, and is encouraged by what he sees.
Currently, the paper is printed three or four times a year, with a reported press run of about 1,000. Knall claims it is widely distributed throughout San Diego’s junior and senior high schools, but city school officials say they have never seen it. Knall counters that if school officials haven’t seen his work, it’s because they haven’t been doing their job. “Youth has awakened to our deal. It’s fantastic! Southeast San Diego has been the greatest. It’s those kids who are trapped in schools that are heavily Mexican and black.
“One thing, I’d really like to say that they’re disgusted with the way things are, the corruption. But, you know, they see us and there’s an initial fascination right there. They see us and then they look at their homes. There’s no values in their homes. Their parents drink, their brothers and sisters are popping pills. They’re looking for ideals, social order. They want good and evil to exist. They want black and white, and we represent that. We’re a return to a moral order. I think people like to be told what to do."
If Knall has his way, telling people what to do will be his profession. “I will definitely run for office when I come of age,” he says, “maybe for the House of Representatives. I was thinking of going for a local office first, but that’s a bad idea. When the first Nazi is elected, bureaucrats will do everything in their power to destroy him; they’ll stall his paperwork and foill up his office. Secretaries won’t work. Then they’ll say, ‘Well, you may like his views, but you can’t vote for an incompetent.’
‘‘But I know I will run and I see myself really going somewhere. You’ve got to build a success of yourself first, then people will listen. Look what Jane Fonda did. What we need is a national figure to come out and say ‘I support the National Socialist Party,’ and if we don’t find somebody. I’ll have to be the one.
“You know, if people weren’t so afraid of the repercussions, we’d have a million members right now. But it’ll happen. First comes our existence, then comes our perfection. We’re talking about a perfect society. We’re out to win the hearts and minds of the people, and we’ll do it.”