James Von Brunn: An ADL Backgrounder
Posted: June 11, 2009
As a result of his long history as an active white supremacist, Von Brunn developed relationships with and connections to a variety of prominent white supremacists over the years, including Ben Klassen (whose portrait Von Brunn painted), founder of the Creativity Movement; Willis Carto, a longstanding racist and anti-Semitic publisher and Holocaust denier; Tom Metzger, founder of White Aryan Resistance, and many others. One close connection was a retired Navy admiral and white supremacist, John G. Crommelin, who supported Von Brunn for decades (and whom Von Brunn also captured in portraiture).
It was probably with notorious anti-Semite Willis Carto and Carto's various publications and organizations that Von Brunn had his longest connections. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, according to someone who knew Von Brunn at the time, Von Brunn was a distributor of Carto's racist newspaper, The Spotlight. Earlier, he had briefly worked for Carto's Noontide Press publishing company. In 2003, the anti-Semitic American Free Press, successor to The Spotlight, returned the favor by quoting him in an "investigation" of General Tommy Franks, identifying Von Brunn as an "independent investigator."
Though he flirted with a number of white supremacist groups, von Brunn did not strongly associate himself with any for a long period of time; his connections were often more personal than institutional. There are some indications that at one point he intended to turn his "Holy Western Empire" site into an actual group. In a 2004 issue of Metzger's WAR magazine, Von Brunn even identified himself as the "Supreme Archon" of the "Aryan Council" of the Holy Western Empire. However, perhaps because of Von Brunn's advanced age, the Empire never advanced beyond Web page status.