Police: Neo-Nazi May Have Been Drawn to Holocaust Museum by Anne Frank Play

art.james.von.brunn.mugIt nows appears that murderer and Neo-Nazi James W. von Brunn was drawn to the Holocaust museum by the performance of an Anne Frank play. Reportedly a World War II veteran, von Brunn was a holocaust denier with a particular fixation with the play.

von Brunn, 88, is a native of St. Louis and reportedly Stephen Tyrone Johns as soon as he walked into the museum. , a six-year veteran of the museum’s security staff, later “died heroically in the line of duty,” said Sara Bloomfield, museum director.PH2009061004075

von Brunn created an anti-Semitic Web site called “The Holy Western Empire” where he spends a great deal of time challenging the fact of Anne Frank’s diary.

von Brunn is the classic model of a neo-Nazi with a history of unhinged and hateful acts that eventually consumed his mind and life. He served six years in prison for trying in 1981 to kidnap Federal Reserve board members because he was upset with high interest rates. He blamed his conviction on a “Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys” and “a Jew judge.”

For the full story, click here.

16 thoughts on “Police: Neo-Nazi May Have Been Drawn to Holocaust Museum by Anne Frank Play”

  1. Holocaust deniers are sick, twisted and living in denial.

    Every right wing wacko should have a right to say anything and everything that burbles up from the cesspool of their minds. The problem is that many mainstream republicans are enabling them and lending legitimacy to their hatred and fear.

    There is a certain element on the right wing that seems incapable of accepting democracy. If a president they didn’t support gets elected, he must be a secret foreigner who usurped his position. If the law allows a woman to exercise control over her own body, kill every doctor who provides legal medical service.

    For the life of me I could never understand why the republicans saw that report on right wing extremism and decided to identify with the extremists. Mainstream republicans aren’t the ones committing violence, but many of them have contributed to an atmosphere of hatred and intolerance that provides fertile ground for such criminals.

    I think it was Bill Maher who said, “Not all republicans are racists, but if you’re a racist the odds are that you’re a republican.” There must be some reason that these folks feel comfortable among conservatives.

    Yes, I know that this sicko wasn’t a republican. I was speaking on general terms of what we’ve seen in the news. This wacko thought that the republicans were too liberal. In the “mind” of papa Rush that makes him a liberal?

  2. Mike A: “The election of Mr. Obama, coupled with the right’s increasingly hostile and threatening rhetoric during the past year, shattered an already fragile connection to reality.”
    [Excellent posting}

    Consider the mans age also. My dad had stayed pretty sharp until the last year in his early 90’s but how often does that happen? With the kind of health problems plaguing older Americans; high blood pressure, Diabetes, transient ischemic events (little strokes), that Mr. von Brunn may have organic brain damage is not so far fetched. A lot of older radicals that may go over the edge due to cognitive problems that come with advanced age is not something I see as impossible.

  3. Mike A.,

    I think you’ve pulled together many threads as well. What interests me is that both the right wing and the left wing believe many of the same things about Obama, even though, IMO, these beliefs cannot be reconciled to the reality of Obama’s actions.

    For the life of me I cannot understand why many of my conservative neighbors are in fear of Obama’s economic policy, when in fact, they stand to benefit from it. They seem unaware and unreassured that the same people who were in charge of the economy under Bush are in charge of it under Obama. It worries me that the left wing isn’t much more nervous about that same fact.

    Likewise in the “tough man” world of war and counter-terrorism, we have Bush’s people safely in place, leading the charge. So why isn’t that a comfort to the right wing? Furthermore, why doesn’t that scare the shit out of the left?

    I keep going back to 2008 advertising brand of the year, “brand Obama”. It’s one of the few explanations I have on how two wildly divergent groups come to the exact same erroneous conclusion about the left wing credentials of Obama.

    In each case, as a civil libertarian, I’m scared. The right wing does produce hate speech that creates a climate justifying violence. In the meantime, the left wing’s belief in brand Obama is causing many people to look the other way while the govt. engages in it’s own lawless cruelty. This is lose-lose for everyone.

  4. FFLEO, thank you for your kind words. I completely agree with you on the free speech issue. I would certainly oppose any efforts to restrict what people say. I also agree with your observation that the level of bitterness in today’s discourse exceeds anything I heard during the Vietnam years. Your comments on the impact of the internet raise some very interesting questions. Had the flow of information been this available and incessant in the ’60s, one wonders whether our involvement in Vietnam would have continued as long as it did.

  5. Mike Appleton,

    Well stated, Mike, as usual, regarding your reasoned posts. However, you will doubtless agree that those people—regardless of how misguided and ill informed—have the free right to say what they did.

    I subscribe to what Professor Turley stated on the Maddow program regarding Mr. Roeder; paraphrastically, we want such people to speak up so they appear on the radar screen, thus exposing their potentially dangerous extreme views that might rightfully cause LE to pay a bit more attention to the most extreme among them, using lawful meaning of preventive investigation.

    In my 60-plus years, I have never seen or heard such across-the-board, wide-ranging divisiveness—including the 1960s/early 70s anti-war protests—than what is occurring today. Of course, this great social tool called the Internet is responsible for exposing information and thoughts that I clearly could never have envisioned and I wonder how society could have been changed had this public tool existed back then.

  6. I am certain that Mr. Von Brunn, like Scott Roeder, had been teetering on the brink for some time. The election of Mr. Obama, coupled with the right’s increasingly hostile and threatening rhetoric during the past year, shattered an already fragile connection to reality. Consider the following:

    1. During the campaign, we witnessed the strongest public outpouring of racism in many years: Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland describing Mr. Obama as “uppity”; Diane Fidele of the Chaffee Community of Republican Women, Federated in California distributing phony “Obama” food stamps bearing images of fried chicken and watermelon; Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa asserting that the election of Barack “Hussein” Obama meant that terrorists “will be dancing in the streets”; Republican Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky referring to the then candidate as “boy”; Republican Rep. Paul Brown of Georgia declaring Mr. Obama a “Marxist”; Marcia Stirman, chairman of the Republican Women of Otero County, New Mexico, publishing a letter charging that Mr. Obama is a “Muslim socialist” and concluding that “Muslims are our enemies”; Craig MacGlashan, chairman of the Sacramento County Republican Party, posting materials on its website comparing Mr. Obama to Osama bin Laden and urging Americans to “Waterboard Barack Obama”; Virginia Republican Party Chairman Jeffrey Frederick labelling Mr. Obama a “terrorist” and exhorting party operatives to emphasize the name “Hussein” and to spread the message that the president was “anti-American and “not one of us”; Sheriff Mike Scott of Lee County, Florida, appearing at a Sarah Palin rally, armed and in full uniform, reminding the faithful, like some latter day Bull Connor, that Florida would not welcome “Barack Hussein Obama”; crowds at other Palin rallies shouting racial epithets and “kill Obama.”

    2. Since the election Republicans in Congress have waged a non-stop war of obstructionism, actually criticizing the president for failing to manage the economy before he was inaugurated, opposing candidates for positions before their identities have even been announced, rejecting every legislative proposal out-of-hand and declaring the Obama presidency a failure for having failed to overcome eight years of moral and financial devastation in three months.

    3. Religious conservatives have accused the president of abandoning Israel, of promoting the killing of the unborn, of imposing socialism and godless economic policies, of rejecting American exceptionalism, all culminating in the announcement of Rev. Wiley Drake that he is actively praying for the Almighty to bring about the death of the president.

    4. Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and other right-wing radio and televisions hosts, are daily haranguing their audiences about the need “to take our country back,” organizing “tea parties” as a prelude to revolution (armed if necessary) to prevent the complete takeover by the government of banking, industrial production and media and admonishing listeners to horde guns, gold and food to protect their families against unknown and undefined, but apparently quite real, threats. Rupert Murdoch continues to use his media resources for promoting the message that the president is “dangerous.”

    5. Lawsuits funded by miscellaneous right-wing fanatics proceed through the courts, alleging that Mr. Obama is a foreign-born usurper unable to produce a valid birth certificate and therefore is an illegitimate head of state.

    6. Opponents of abortion rights are increasingly abandoning lobbying efforts in favor of direct confrontation and intimidation. After a few lukewarm condemnations of violence, Operation Rescue proposes to purchase the clinic operated by the late Dr. Tiller, presumably as a memorial to the recent success of its efforts. Perhaps the Imperial Order of the Ku Klux Klan will put in a bid for the Holocaust Museum.

    The country is experiencing a constant barrage of appeals based on racial, ethnic and religious hatreds, on fears about immigration, social change and economic uncertainty. Is it any wonder that there are people who view the election of Pres. Obama as the final act in a conspiracy to destroy the America that existed only in their fantasies, a world of black and white moral choices, of settled social structures in which each of us knew his or her place, of familiar traditions preserved by familiar groups, a land in which, in the words of Billy Sunday, “Christianity and patriotism are synonymous terms”? Should we be surprised that, fueled by those appeals, there are those who are willing to take whatever action is necessary to restore the fantasy? Do we not understand that in the minds of the tentatively sane, vigilantism is the only honorable and patriotic avenue available to “take back” a country when the old institutions have failed, and that violence in the restoration of legitimate government is viewed such individuals as sacramental?

  7. “‘WARNING US FOR A REASON’: Following the Holocaust Museum shooting, two Fox News personalities, Shepard Smith and Catherine Herridge, suggested that critics of DHS’s report on right-wing extremism should re-think their objections. “The right went absolutely bonkers” over the report, said Smith, adding that DHS was “warning us for a reason.” Though some conservatives have concluded that the recent string of right-wing violence has “vindicated” the DHS report, many others disagree. Blogger and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin, who led the charge against the DHS report, approvingly linked to a military blogger that called Smith and Herridge “pathetic.” Malkin’s Hot Air colleague, Ed Morrissey, defended the criticism of the report by claiming that it didn’t “mention anti-semitism at all.” But as Huffington Post’s Sam Stein points out, the DHS report “warned specifically about an upswing of anti-Semitic behavior.” “At this point it’s little consolation,” CBS News’s Charles Cooper observes, “but Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano turned out to be more prescient about domestic extremism than many of her critics.”

  8. The discussion is now moving toward the notion that due to the economy, the election of an african-american president and the flourishing internet industry of hate, that perhaps following the murder of Dr Tiller we have reached a tipping point giving people like Roeder and Von Brunn the courage and impetus to act on their ideas about hate and justice and whatever.

    hate speech is still and should remain protected speech. the real truth is that with freedom comes risk and we need to be willing to allow freedom of speech and thought even if it puts us at risk.
    this means that sometimes the crazies will get us. they will attack museums and kill guards. I’m just grateful that Von Brunn did not choose a synagogue or jewish community center or day school or church where security is not as good. I think we should consider these acts to be acts of domestic terrorism. they are designed to make the public fearful.

    I wonder though what the response would have been if this had been a muslim.

  9. I am deeply sorry for the death of Mr. Johns and the fear this must be triggering in the lives of others who know the truth about the holocaust, perhaps because they lived it.

    I can’t help wondering if the play about Anne Frank brought up an overwhelming internal conflict with his idea that the holocaust never happened. This man is obviously disturbed and surrounded himself with hate groups who encouraged and cultivated his hate and violence. I am very sorry.

  10. I just cannot for the life of me phantom why people do things like they do. Makes no sense to me.

  11. Indentured Servant 1, June 11, 2009 at 7:30 am

    It is a good thing he was arrested now, he would really be in a tizzy with the coming high interest rates and an African American as president.

    Shush, there are somethings better not said. OMG.

    Do you think that this pushed him over the edge?

  12. Police: Neo-Nazi May Have Been Drawn to Holocaust Museum by Anne Frank Play.

    I don’t quite understand how they could make that connection.
    Knowing the Story of Anne Frank and Emmett Till.

    The play is a supposed conversation between the the young victims.

  13. “He served six years in prison for trying in 1981 to kidnap Federal Reserve board members because he was upset with high interest rates. He blamed his conviction on a “Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys” and “a Jew judge.””

    It is a good thing he was arrested now, he would really be in a tizzy with the coming high interest rates and an African American as president.

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