Organized Anti-Semitism in America: The Rise of Group Prejudice during the Decade 1930-40

By Donald S. Strong | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
A United Front?

HAVE the anti-semitic organizations cooperated? Have they formed a united front? Have they shown a willingness for organic unity and for monocracy?

Only fragmentary information exists on the first abortive effort towards unity. In the summer of 1934, eleven of America's antisemitic leaders met in Lincoln-Turner Hall, Chicago, at a conference that lasted far into the night. Those known to have attended included Peter Gissibl, leader of the Chicago local of the German-American Bund; a second Bund representative; Harry A. Jung, director of the American Vigilant Intelligence Federation; and an Englishman by the name of Strath-Gordon. Two others believed to have attended were Colonel E. N. Sanctuary, head of the American Christian Defenders, and Colonel E. M. Hadley, national president of The Paul Reveres. The purpose of the conference -- to coordinate the activities of antisemitic groups -- was apparently never achieved.

The next effort was the Asheville, North Carolina, meeting of August 12-16, 1936. The American Forward Movement, a newly-formed organization headed by the Reverend Ralph E. Nollner, invited many Catholic and Protestant clergymen and laymen throughout the country to attend a conference against "Communism," for "Americanism," etc. Though the 200 clergymen and laymen who signed the invitation included 35 of the most prominent Jew- and Red-baiters in the country, nothing in the invitation implied anti-semitism. But no Jews were invited. When this omission was pointed out, two Jewish rabbis were promptly asked to speak; they accepted.

When the anti-semites arrived in Asheville and learned that Jewish rabbis were to speak, 45 of them bolted the conference, formed their own organization, and converted at another meeting place. Among the bolters were Gerald B. Winrod, Harry A. Jung, Robert E. Edmondson, James B. True, Colonel E. N. Sanctuary, George B. Deatherage, Howland Spencer, Nelson E. Hewitt (a Jung associate), and O. K. Chandler. The insurgent conference, which elected Winrod as chairman, was flagrantly anti-semitic in all its utterances; the regular conference, on the other hand, avoided anti-semitism. Although the in

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