Nazis at Work

Ralph forbes and the nazi Posse

PROTESTS AND PICKETING

The American Nazi Party grew in response to the Civil Rights movement, counter-picketing with hateful hand-painted signs where Black people were protesting for equality throughout Southern California.

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In October of 1966, the American Nazi Party filed applications to hold a rally on the streets of Torrance to protest Black residents moving into the South Bay. In one image here, a Black woman holds up a picket sign reading “Califor. Real Estate Association Is Against Human Rights.” Steps away in the foreground, a man identified as Robert Martell, a local gardener who participated in a number of Nazi protests, wears a swastika armband and holds another sign: “The Rumford Act Is Communist Backed. Treason Is The Reason.” The letter C’s in the sign have hammers drawn over them to illustrate the hammer and sickle insignia of communist Russia. Tying the Civil Rights movement for racial equity to communism was a consistent Nazi, and more mainstream, message.

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The Rumford Act was passed to ensure fair and equal housing rights for people of color, and opponents sought to overturn it with the passage of Proposition 14. While Nazism was largely reviled in American post-World War II, their ideology aligned with the much more mainstream support for housing segregation espoused by the California Real Estate Association and others who opposed the Rumford Act, including the majority of Glendale residents (See episode 1: All-American City). 

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THE NAZI POSSE

Under the leadership of Ralph Forbes a small group of American Nazi Party members participated in a number of organized public protests. These members were often photographed together with party leader, Ralph Forbes. After a brawl erupted at the United Anti-Nazi Conference being held at the Shrine Auditorium in April of 1963, four of the group were arrested and five were eventually put on trial in May of 1963. 

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Top: Four swastika-clad members of the American Nazi party were jailed after a brawl at the Shrine Auditorium. From left to right: Lyle McLaughlin, Marvin Reeves, Leonard Holstein and William M. Krauss. Photo dated April 29, 1963.

Bottom: Five members of the American Nazi party facing a riot trial. From left to right: William Marion Krauss, Leonard Holstein, Clifford Judson Huss, Lyle McLaughlin and Marvin Reeves. Photo dated: May 7, 1963. 

Right: Police hold back people with the United Anti-Nazi Conference picketing at The German House in Los Angeles, 1963.

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.

Citations:

 

“Nazi Party Wants Parade in Torrance.” Daily Breeze, 10 Oct. 1966. “The American Nazi Party’s Attempts to Establish Itself in the South Bay.” Blog post. South Bay History, 4 Jan. 2014

All images below reprinted with special thanks to the Los Angeles Public Library. 

Nazis picket N.A.A.C.P., Statler Hotel. 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.  

Nazis picket N.A.A.C.P. 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.  

Nazi members face riot trial. 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa

Nazi leader greeted by jeers. 1963. Valley Times Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.  

Self-styled ‘Nazis.’ 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.  

Pickets on 9th and Spring Streets. 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.  

American Nazi party pickets bookshop. 1962. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa..  

William Marion Krauss. 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.  

Clifford Judson Huss. 1963. Herald Examiner Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. Tessa.