James Von Brunn: An ADL Backgrounder
Posted: June 11, 2009
Born in 1920, Von Brunn grew up in the Midwest, attending college at Washington University in St. Louis. During World War II, he became a lieutenant in the Navy and served as a torpedo boat captain.
After the war ended, Von Brunn became a copywriter at a New York advertising agency. It was in the post-war years that he developed his extremist views and began associating with a variety of prominent right-wing extremists and anti-Semites.
In 1968, Von Brunn moved to Maryland and started a small advertising business there. According to his own account, shortly thereafter he became involved in a barfight with a Jewish patron. After leaving the bar, Von Brunn was pulled over for driving while intoxicated, resisted arrest, and fractured an officer's jaw. Von Brunn said he was convicted for the assault, sentenced to a year in jail, and served four months.
After getting out of jail, Von Brunn lived variously in Florida, California, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Maryland, sometimes working as a real estate broker, sometimes doing free-lance advertising work, while continuing his racist and anti-Semitic efforts.