No Home for nazis
PLEDGE TO FIGHT HATE
Unlike the Ku Klux Klan, which was in turns tolerated, supported, or openly ridiculed in Glendale (See Episode 2: “KKK in Glendale”), or even the German American Bund prior to the United States entry into World War II, the presence of the Nazis in the 1960s was intolerable to the Glendale community at large, particularly Glendale war veterans who had fought against fascism abroad. Between the memory of the war itself and the atrocity of the Holocaust, Glendalians were aware of the destructive totalitarianism that took hold of Europe in the 1930s. The community condemned Ralph Forbes and the American Nazi Party as un-American and subversive by civic leaders, Jewish and Christian organizations and veteran’s groups in Glendale and surrounding cities.
On May 7, 1965, a public anti-Nazi rally was at planned at Glendale Civic Auditorium to discuss Nazism in Glendale, but also its continued threat elsewhere in the world, like Austria. In the 1960s, former Nazis who had fled Germany after the war still had not been held accountable for their war crimes.
Ronald Reagan, who would announce his candidacy for governor of California at the end of 1965 and further his political ambitions to become the 40th President of the United States, was a featured speaker. The event was co-sponsored by several groups: Christians Against Bigotry, Anti-Nazi Congress of America, and Jewish Survivors of Concentration Camps. The goal was to stop a growing threat before it could spread.
Above: Ralph Forbes is met with protestors and jeers as he arrives at McCambridge Park in Burbank, CA on August 29, 1963 to deliver a speech.
"WE WANT NAZIS OUT OF GLENDALE"
Ralph Forbes’ American Nazi Party headquarters received continual resistance from the City of Glendale. Glendale’s City Manager throughout the period was Eugene Perkins, who declared the Nazi’s presence in Glendale was not “just a Glendale problem or a California problem, [but] a national problem” that would not disappear on its own. Perkins acknowledged that although many groups in Glendale had passed resolutions against the Nazi’s ideological stances, not much action had been taken. Legally, municipal government used local ordinances as a means to try and prevent the Colorado Street property Forbes rented from becoming an American Nazi Party headquarters, but his lease enabled him to stay even under pressure from the city. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors became involved, amending a state legislation covering the activities of subversive groups, which was originally drafted in 1941 to control the German American Bund party. Board Supervisor Kenneth Hahn in particular wanted to send the message that the American Nazi Party was not welcome in L.A. County. While the City of Glendale and L.A. County continually resisted the American Nazi Party in the 1960s, the Nazis also drew the ire of community members and business owners from Glendale and surrounding communities.
A Baptist minister from Whittier, Reverend Harry A. McGimsey, picketed outside Nazi headquarters with his son and a friend equating Nazism and Communism and calling out Nazis as “butchers.”
Printer’s Press, owned by a World War II air force veteran, suffered because it was located behind the Colorado Street house, and people were afraid to pass through the crowds of either Nazis or counter-protesters.
The German owner of Farmer’s Sausage Kitchen, a delicatessen, feared new customers might associate him with the Nazis . At the Burshay Brothers Pool Hall, the hate group tried to distribute propaganda.
The Jewish Telegraph Agency’s Daily News Bulletin describes part of the battle the Razzano brothers, the landlords of the Colorado Street house, and their lawyer had with Forbes in 1965. They tried to evict him on the grounds that he had mislead them about how the house would be used
By 1966, when the lease was up on the Colorado Street house turned Nazi headquarters, the Razzano brothers doubled the rent to force Forbes out and were finally successful. Forbes left the area and rented a residence to the north in La Crescenta, through his proxy Walter Gould, to keep a lower profile.
The Glendale News-Press alerted the new prospective landlord, Joseph Weaver, to Gould’s true political aim in renting the house for himself, Ralph Forbes, and Forbes’ family. Weaver did not have a lease with Gould, and through the advice of his lawyer, decided to allow the new tenants to occupy the property for the thirty days for which they had paid before legally attempting to force them out. Forbes, Weaver, and the rest of the American Nazi Party would eventually create a new headquarters in El Monte, CA, with an equal amount of pushback from the El Monte community.
Ralph Forbes later settled in London, Arkansas and was politically associated with former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and neo-Nazi David Duke when Forbes was his presidential campaign manager in 1988. Forbes’ political ambitions were unceasing; he made a failed attempt to run for the Republican Party’s lieutenant governor nomination in 1990, but was defeated by an African American real estate executive, Kenneth Harris.
Copyright notice: Any materials under copyright in this exhibit are covered by the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act. Permission and preferred attribution were requested of all copyright holders.
NO HOME FOR NAZIS:
“Eviction of Leader of American Nazi Party in California Sought.” Jewish Telegraph Agency, vol. 32, no. 80, 26 April 1965, p. 4.
“E. Colorado Businessmen Disparage Nazis.” Glendale News-Press, 18 Dec. 1964. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.
"Minister Pickets Nazi House." Glendale News-Press, 17 April 1965. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
"Nazis Exposed." Glendale News-Press, 14 Jan. 1966. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
Anti-Nazi Rally Flyer, 7 May 1965. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.
"Documentation of Nazi Activity Vowed at Rally." Glendale News-Press, 6 May 1965. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.
Mann, B. “Valley Nazis Stir Concern of Veterans, Civic Groups: Organizations in Area Pledge to Fight Hate.” Los Angeles Times, 28 Mar. 1965, p. 1, SK. ProQuest.
Anti-Nazi Picketers on Colorado Bl. 1964. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.
Gordon, Dean. Nazi Leader Greeted by Jeers. Valley Times Photo Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. 1963. Tessa. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Public Library.
United Anti-Nazi Conference Rally. Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, Community Relations Committee Collection. In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda in Southern California 1933-1945. California State University, Northridge Digital Library.
Pickets March on Wilshire Boulevard. Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. 1965. Tessa.
Castro, Mike, and Al Martinez. "Anti-Nazi Protest in El Monte Turns Violent; 40 Arrested." Los Angeles Times, Jan 31, 1972, pp. 3. ProQuest.
Fournier, Ron. “White Supremacists Running for Lt. Gov. in Arkansas, Georgia.” Associated Press, 1 June 1990.
“Klan Supporter Is Soundly Beaten by Black in Runoff in Arkansas.” New York Times, 30 June 1990. ProQuest.
Ward, Mike. "Nazi Moves Headquarters to El Monte: Ralph Forbes, State Leader, Turns Up in Clerical Collar." Los Angeles Times, Feb 18, 1966, pp. 1-sg8. ProQuest.
“White Supremacist Candidate Defeated in Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Race.” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 14 June 1990.
Yaro, Boris. "Youths Spark Picketing of Nazis' House." Los Angeles Times, Mar 07, 1966, pp. 1-sg8. ProQuest.