Longtime Hitlerian Activists
While Tom Smith and Ryan Wilson are both less than 40 years old and relatively
new to neo-Nazi activism, other neo-Nazis on the Web represent more established
organizations and have been active in the white supremacist movement much
longer, since the days of American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell.
Following Rockwell's assassination by a disgruntled party member in 1967,
Matthias (Matt) Koehl took over his American Nazi Party, renaming it the
National Socialist White People's Party. In 1970, NSWPP member Frank Collin
started his own group, the National Socialist Party of America (NSPA),
made famous by its attempts to march through the predominantly Jewish
town of Skokie, Illinois in 1977. Another former NSWPP member, Harold
Covington joined the NSPA in the mid-1970s. At that time, Gary "Gerhard"
Lauck, who went on to found the NSDAP-AO (a German acronym meaning National
Socialist German Workers Party - Overseas Organization), was also a member
of Collin's group. Covington took over the NSPA in 1980, after Collin
was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing children.
In 1982, Koehl dropped the name NSWPP in favor of the name "The New
Order," and Covington's NSPA disbanded. In 1994, Covington founded
a new group using the old name once used by Koehl: NSWPP. Today, Covington
and Lauck both have a presence on the World Wide Web.
Harold Covington was one of the first neo-Nazis on the Web, establishing
a site as early as 1996. Covington's original site defined National Socialism
as "a world view for White People" and listed guiding principles
such as "Racial Idealism" and "The Upward Development of
the White Race." The site listed "Ten Basic Principles of National
Socialism," which urged "Aryan" racial purity and conquest
of the world. Covington lauded Rockwell at length and provided links to
other white supremacist sites.
Covington has repeatedly been denounced by fellow white supremacists
as a Jew and an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
(BATF). In particular, Will Williams, onetime national membership coordinator
for the National Alliance, has criticized Covington ruthlessly on the
Internet. In turn, Covington has lashed back at Williams and NA leader
Williams and Covington have traded thousands of insults on white supremacist
USENET newsgroups, accusing each other of being traitors to the white
supremacist movement. Each man has also established a Web site critical
of the other. Williams registered his anti-Covington page at an address
very similar to that of Covington's own Web site, and Covington's page
attacking the National Alliance appeared at an address nearly identical
to that of Pierce's group. In 1997, Williams successfully sued Covington
in a North Carolina court for making defamatory statements about him and
was awarded a judgment of over $110,000. Covington failed to pay Williams
and fled the state.
Covington faced further trouble when Matt Koehl, who formerly used the
name NSWPP for his group, instructed an entity called the G.L. Rockwell
Foundation, Inc. to "copyright" that name. Subsequently, a notice
appeared in place of Covington's primary Web site barring him from using
the term NSWPP in "printed material, electronic messaging and Internet
Despite these legal roadblocks, a few sites affiliated with Covington's
NSWPP remain on the Web. For Folk and Fatherland reprints Hitler's
Mein Kampf in its entirety and more than two dozen of Hitler's
speeches as well as Covington's NSWPP literature, George Lincoln Rockwell's
writings, and various other anti-Semitic documents. The National Socialists
of Utah Web site lists Covington's San Antonio address for the NSWPP and
links to For Folk and Fatherland.
Web pages for Gerhard Lauck's NSDAP-AO could be found at Ryan Wilson's
ALPHA site. Born in Milwaukee and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Lauck affected
a German accent and named his organization, founded in the early 1980s,
after the German name for Hitler's Nazi party. From the 1970s through
the mid-1990s, he ran the world's most productive and extensive distribution
center for neo-Nazi publications and paraphernalia. According to reformed
neo-Nazi Ingo Hasselbach, Lauck was the source of "the bulk of...neo-Nazi
propaganda pasted up on the walls and windows from Berlin to Sao Paulo."
In the early days of cyberspace, Lauck's materials were circulated on
a closely guarded computer network named the "Thule Network,"
a bulletin board system similar to the "Aryan Nation Liberty Net."
In order to gain access to the network, prospective users had to pass
a loyalty test and a background check. According to some estimates, over
1,500 neo-Nazis in Germany had access to Lauck's propaganda via the "Thule
Network," which remains active today.
In 1995, Danish authorities, acting on international warrants, arrested
Lauck and agreed to extradite him to Germany, where he was sentenced in
1996 to four years in prison for inciting racial hatred by disseminating
anti-Semitic and racist material. Lauck was released in March 1999 and
deported to the United States.
While he was in jail, Lauck's Web site featured the headline, "Free
Gerhard Lauck!" The site said about Lauck's arrest and imprisonment:
"these illegal and reprehensible acts by the anti-White authorities
are a direct assault upon ALL pro-White organizations. YOU are under attack
now! If International Jewry is allowed to kidnap Gerhard Lauck their next
step will be to systematically silence all pro-White leaders, organizations,
and members worldwide one by one."
Like other neo-Nazis, Lauck has expressed intense approval for Hitler
and hatred for Jews. He has stated that "anything that is bad for
the Jews is good for us" and told a Danish audience that "the
Jews were treated too nicely in the concentration camps." Yet buried
among the Nazi-themed books sold at his Web site were a group of texts
that question whether the Holocaust took place, bearing titles like "Auschwitz:
Truth or Lie?" and "Did Six Million Really Die?"