One of the advantages, or disadvantages, of living a good long life, is that one remembers so many events on the world stage. For example, I remember my mother coming into my bedroom and telling me that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. I was just eleven, by two days, and hadn’t a clue as to where Pearl Harbor was or why she was so upset. But I remember the incident vividly. I remember the end of the war and the pictures of the horribly emaciated bodies of the living and the dead from the German concentration camps. Those pictures changed my life forever. I remember being so very proud of my country during the Nuremberg Trials – that we as a country stood for law and order, and compassion, good government, and all of the good things in the world. I remember reading a comment from the wife of one of the generals who tried to assassinate Hitler, “My family could have stopped that awful little man, but we didn’t want to become involved.”
Imagine my horror when I read, just a few years later that between 1948 and 1952, America’s Displaced Persons Commission arranged for nearly a half-million Europeans to immigrate to the United States. For two years, it barred those who had been members of organizations sympathetic or collaborative to the Nazis. In 1950 that began to change, when first the ‘Baltic Legion’ was removed from the list of ‘hostile’ movements, though the Baltic Legion was also known as the Baltic Waffen SS.” (www.Rigorous Intuition, March 31, 2006)
The article from Rigorous Intuition goes on to explain that, “The change of policy was strategic: The CIA was subsidizing the immigration of European Nazis and fascists in order to build a far-right power bloc as a hedge against communism. Its primary vehicle became the Republican Party.” The Republican Party organized a subsidiary group called the Republican Heritage Groups Council in 1969. It is interesting to Google the organization for further information. There is more there than can possibly be in an article of this length.
One of the sites that came up in the Google search is ‘nazigop’, and an article by Carla Binion, 2000, “Nazis and the Republican Party.” In this article Binion quotes extensively from Russ Bellant’s book, “Old Nazis, The New Right, and The Republican Party”, which I had read years ago, since loaned out, and lost track of. It was published in about 1988. Bellant had been intrigued by an article in the Washington Jewish Week stating the George H. W. Bush had some six former Nazi and fascist sympathizers on his campaign committee. Bellant’s investigative reporting as detailed in his book indicated that these people were:
1. Rudi Slavoff, GOP Heritage Council’s executive director, and head of “Bulgarians for Bush.” Slavoff was a member of a Bulgarian fascist group, and he put together an event in Washington honoring Holocaust denier, Austin App.
2. Florian Galdau, director of GOP outreach efforts among Romanians, and head of “Romanians for Bush.” Galdau was once an Iron Guard recruiter, and he defended convicted Nazi war criminal Valerian Trifa.
3. Nicholas Nazarenko, leader of a Cossack GOP ethnic unit. Nazarenko was an ex-Waffen SS officer.
4. Method Balco, GOP activist. Balco organized yearly memorials for a Nazi puppet regime.
5. Walter Melianovich, head of the GOP’s Byelorussian unit. Melianovich worked closely with many Nazi groups.
6. Bohdan Fedorak, leader of “Ukranians for Bush.” Fedorak headed a Nazi group involved in anti-Jewish wartime pogroms.
And last, but definitely not least, Laszlo Pasztor, a convicted Nazi war collaborator, built the Republican émigré network. Pasztor, who served as adviser to Republican Paul Weyrich, belonged to the Hungarian Arrow Cross, a group that helped liquidate Hungary’s Jews. Pasztor was founding chairman of the Republican Heritage Groups Council.
In an article printed in the San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle, October 30, 1988, Warren Hinkle wrote, “We’re not talking here about some guys wearing swastika earrings. One of the Bush backers was a former police chief in Latvia during WWII who rounded up the residents of a Jewish town and burned it to the ground. Another was a former SS appointed mayor during a 1941 pogrom in which thousands of Jews were murdered.”
“All of these Nazi swingers came to the United States as refugees with the help of the CIA in the late 1940’s. Bellant’s report was backed up by the Washington newspaper Jewish Week, which printed an article revealing the Nazi-collaborationist and fascist background of the six – the majority of whom remain Republican Party wheels.”
Also, and this is from a book review located on Buzzflash.com, “The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the Third Reich,” Max Wallace, “Given a BBC report in late July of 2007 that covers a planned and corroborated – but fortunately never carried out – right wing conspiracy (that involved George Bush’s grandfather, Prescott, as one of those involved) to overthrow FDR and install a government in the style of Hitler and Mussolini (we are not making this up), 'The Axis' takes on new importance.” The final sentence of the review has a chilling quote from Charles Lindbergh who was lamenting the destruction of Germany, a civilization that “was basically our own, stemming from the same Christian beliefs.”
And then there was the personal incident I was involved in during a George W. Bush campaign swing through the city that is also the county seat. At the time I was an elected county official (since retired). So, I went to the train station to see if I could tell if George was as bad as people said. Of course the train was late, and a group of us Democrats eventually coalesced, since this is a small county (population), and we all knew each other. Sitting near us was an obvious Bush supporter – a woman with cute tightly curled white hair, the ubiquitous straw hat with the red, white and blue ribbon, a blouse with red, white and blue motif, white skirt – the whole nine yards of Republicanism. After a time, an intern reporter for the local paper came up to interview us as to why we were there, since we were Democrats. The woman heard us, and called me over to her. She asked if I were a Democrat, and I answered in the affirmative. Her next comment really jolted me. “You’d better be glad I don’t have a gun because if I did, I’d shoot you.” Having someone threaten to shoot you, eye to eye, tends to focus one’s attention. In this case, on the radical Republican right.
So – what does all of this have to do with the breakdown of our current Federal Administration, or G. W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Alberto Gonzales, Karl Rove, et al? Simply that we have George W. Bush’s father and grandfather enamored of a fascist style of government. As an old saying goes, “The apple does not fall far from the tree.” Which brings us up to current times.