Nazi resurrection

GLENDALE IS An Unwilling host

KEEP GLENDALE WHITE COMMITTEE

In 1959, in Arlington, Virginia, a fascist named George Lincoln Rockwell started a political action group called the World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists.  By 1960, they were going by a new name: The American Nazi Party.   

Its West Coast leader was a Glendale resident named Ralph Forbes, a racist who peddled race-baiting newsletters on the street and started grassroots groups such as the Citizens to Keep Glendale White committee and the Keep America White committee.  

 

In December of 1964, Rockwell announced that a new headquarters for the American Nazi Party was about to open up in Glendale. The leader of the American Nazi Party told the Glendale News Press “[Glendale] is the best community in California, the most patriotic and decent in the state.” When asked by the Los Angeles Times, Rockwell expanded on this by saying that Glendale was “a white man’s town...It’s the best town for us.” To many, Glendale was a peaceful suburb outside the city center of Los Angeles. But  the American Nazi Party saw Glendale’s history of unfair housing, sundown town practices, the Klan and the Bund, and saw fertile soil to restart their movement on the West Coast.  

George Lincoln Rockwell seated at desk

Ralph Forbes originally leased a Glendale office building for the American Nazi Party headquarters under a different political group name to avoid interference from Glendale community members. George Lincoln Rockwell, the national commander of the American Nazi Party "bawled out [Ralph] Forbes for opening a headquarters under another name," stating "We're not going to hide behind another name as we did earlier this year in Glendale."

Nazis Will Open (1964, Dec 02).jpg
Nazi bigot (1963, Aug 01).jpg

PARTY HEADQUARTERS

After announcing that Glendale would be the home to the West Coast chapter of the American Nazi Party, Ralph Forbes and his family moved into a small house at 823 E. Colorado Boulevard. It would not only serve as the Forbes home but the headquarters, meeting place and dormitory for the new Nazi party. He told reporters that the new headquarters would be “a center of resistance against communism, Zionism, and race-mixing." The headquarters served Nazi groups in Redondo Beach, Long Beach and the San Fernando Valley and other local areas.  

Glendale residents and city officials were outraged. Glendale Mayor Herman Barnes and City Manager Eugene Perkins both inspected the property and stated that the “frame dwelling...cannot be occupied for other than dwelling purposes without violation of our ordinances” and would instruct the city attorney to sue them if the Nazis “so much as put up a sign on the outside of the building.” However, Forbes was legally allowed to operate until the lease ran out. Almost immediately, the landlord filed a 30-day eviction notice, but the lease he and Forbes signed stated the house could be used for holding meetings and distributing literature, and could be used as a dwelling and for political purposes. The landlord attempted to get Forbes to sign an affidavit agreeing that he would not use the building as headquarters for the group, but Forbes refused.  

Glendale officials warn (1964, Dec 05) c
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Hahn opposes Nazi hdqtrs. (1964, Dec 17)
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When city officials cut the electricity at the rented in hopes of driving the Nazis out, the group read racist pamphlets by candlelight. The City of Glendale went to Municipal Court and charged that the Nazis in Glendale violated four sections of the municipal building code by operating a meeting hall and asked that the group be served with notices. The above photo shows Forbes heating coffee on gas camp stove for a meeting at party headquarters after the electricity had been cut to the house by city officials.

The American Nazi Party headquarters was located at 823 E. Colorado Blvd. in 1963 (above) and the building as it looks today (right.)

Ralph Forbes (right) at party headquarters with American Nazi Party member Lyle McLaughlin (left.)

POLITICAL AMBITIONS

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With three of the five city council seats becoming available in an upcoming election, Ralph Forbes filed his declaration of candidacy to run for Glendale City Council in the  municipal election in February of 1965. Although he appeared outside his usual Nazi brown-shirt uniform, he was quickly identified as the leader of the American Nazi Party in Glendale.  He gave his address (his residence as well as being the groups headquarters) and his occupation, “electronics technician.”  

To qualify for the city council candidacy, Forbes had to obtain at least 1,005 signatures from Glendale residents registered to vote.   Three weeks later, it would be reported that he had failed to obtain them in time to qualify. 

 

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:

 

KEEP AMERICA WHITE: 

"American Nazi Party Moving into Glendale." Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 1964, pp. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times.

 

Georges, Harvey. George Lincoln Rockwell News Conference. Associated Press photograph. “The American Nazi Party’s Attempt to Establish Itself in the South Bay.” Blog post. South Bay History, 4 July 2014

"Nazi Bigot Heads Pro-White Group." Los Angeles Sentinel, 01 Aug. 1963, p. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Sentinel. 

"Nazi Chief Linked to Race Group." Glendale New-Press, 23 July. 1963. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

"Nazis Will Open Glendale Quarters." Glendale News-Press, 2 Dec. 1964. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

 

PARTY HEADQUARTERS: 

"Glendale Officials Warn Nazi Party Members: Use of 'Headquarters' for Anything but Dwelling Won't be Tolerated, Lessee Told." Los Angeles Times, 05 Dec. 1964, p. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

"Hahn Opposes Nazi Hdqtrs." Los Angeles Sentinel, 17 Dec. 1964, p. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Sentinel.  

"Nazi Leader to Fight for Headquarters: AMERICAN NAZIS." Los Angeles Times, 08 Dec. 1964, pp. 2. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Ralph Forbes, Nazi Commander. Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. 11 Dec. 1964. Tessa. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Public Library. 

Nazi Headquarters, Glendale. Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. 11 Dec. 1964. Tessa. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Public Library. 

Two American Nazi Party Members, Allen Vincent and Attorney A.L. Wirin Being Interviewed by Reporter in Glendale, Calif., 1965. Islandora Repository. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive. Department of Special collections, University of California, Los Angeles.  

"Glendale Unwilling Host to American Nazi Party." Spokesman Review. 28 Dec. 1964. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.  

Smith, David. Ralph Forbes, 24, Poses Beside the Fireplace in the House in Glendale, CA. Associated Press photograph. “The American Nazi Party’s Attempt to Establish Itself in the South Bay.” Blog post. The Daily Breeze, 4 July 2014

Neo-Nazi Group in Glendale, 1965 image. Glendale Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. San Fernando Valley History Digital Library. Digitally published by California State University, Northridge.  

“Glendale’s Former American Nazi Party Headquarters.” Blog post. Bizarre Los Angeles, 7 May 2016.  

 

POLITICAL AMBITIONS: 

"Nazi Files for Glendale Council Seat: Forbes must Obtain 1,005 Signatures by Feb. 24 to Qualify." Los Angeles Times, 09 Feb. 1965, pp. 1. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Snyder, Don. "Nazi Fails to Qualify for Ballot: 10 in Race for Council School Posts in Glendale." Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb. 1965, pp. 2. ProQuest. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Times. 

Ralph Forbes. Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection. Los Angeles Public Library. 1963. Tessa. Accessed Jan 2021. Reprinted by permission of the Los Angeles Public Library.