Prominent neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and Holocaust-deniers converged on Bergen County earlier this month, as the New Jersey unit of the National Vanguard held a conference in Elmwood Park.
The New Jersey faction of the neo-Nazi group, which is an offshoot of the now defunct National Alliance, brought former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, National Vanguard leader Kevin Strom, and the regional commanders of several National Vanguard outposts to the Elmwood Park Veterans of Foreign Wars hall May 13. The closed-door meeting also featured an appearance by the sister folk duo Prussian Blue, who have been dubbed "The Olsen Twins of Hate."
But the meeting made national headlines because of the appearance of Larry Darby, a candidate for attorney general in Alabama. Darby has become notorious for claiming that "no more than 140,000 Jews died during World War II, and that most of them died of typhus," according to news reports.
What was actually said at the meeting is hard to decipher because reporters were not allowed in or as the National Vanguard’s reportage on its own Website put it: "The heavy news coverage brought several representatives from the corporate media to the event site, who were politely refused interviews with the helpful suggestion that they quote V-news.org for any statements they wanted from us."
If one were to believe the V-News reportage, this was the meeting to end all meetings, and Duke spoke of the progress he has made in creating inroads into universities in the Middle East. "Dr. Duke has lectured on the crucial biological, racial aspect of the Jewish question to Middle Eastern students, with a very gratifying response," according to www.nationalvanguard.com, which went on to quote Duke as saying, "Whites will benefit when a racial understanding of Jewish supremacism is more widespread in the non-white world."
But according to the Anti-Defamation League, only about ‘0 people showed up for the meeting.
While the National Socialist Movement, which is now the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States, seems to be gaining a little steam, the National Vanguard has been floundering, according to Etzion Neuer, the head of the ADL’s New Jersey region.
And while it might appear that a meeting that drew national neo-Nazis to Elmwood Park might be reason for concern that the white power movement is growing in this state, Neuer said that the meeting may have been more smokescreen than fire.
"This might have been a way to sure up the local chapter so that it doesn’t close like others across the country," said Neuer.
The Northern New Jersey chapter of the National Vanguard has been meeting in Elmwood Park for several years, said Neuer, explaining that the meetings may not indicate a growing neo-Nazi presence in Elmwood Park but that some of it’s leaders might live in the area.
"Nevertheless," he added, "I think that the question becomes how worthy is this of our attention. Whenever you have a group of neo-Nazis meeting in your midst, you must sit up and take notice, much as if you see a growth on your body that may be cancerous. Even if it could be benign, you need to deal with it very, very carefully."