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Op-Ed Contributor

On Thursday, a Manhattan
auction house will be
accepting bids on one of
the more disturbing books
to come onto the U.S.
antiquarian book market
in some time: Adolf Hitler’s
personal copy of a city-by-
city, state-by-state guide
to the location of America’s
Jewish population.

The book includes detailed
data on towns like Peabody
and Brookline, Massachusetts,
the boroughs of New York City,
as well as the farther-flung
population clusters in states
like Arizona, Arkansas,
Minnesota and California. I
t also provides details of
several hundred Jewish
organizations, including
B’nai B’rith and the Anti-
Defamation League, along
with names of key individuals
and their addresses.

In light of the Holocaust,
it is a disquieting compendium.

The 137-page report,
“Statistik, Presse und
Organisationen des
Judentums in den
Vereinigten Staaten und
Kanada” (Statistics,
Media, and Organizations
of Jewry in the United States
and Canada), was compiled
in 1944 by Heinz Kloss,
a German linguist who
specialized in minorities
and visited the United States
in the early 1930s.

Like many Nazi-era publications,
the Kloss report, printed on
cheap, highly acidic paper,
is brittle and chipping. The
cover, which bears a diagonal
warning “For Official Use Only,”
has become detached. On the
verso is a bookplate with
a stylized eagle perched on
an oak branch clutching a
laurel-wreathed swastika
in its talons. It is framed,
in bold-face type, “Ex Libris
Adolf Hitler.”

The Hitler book was among
the thousands taken by
American G.I.’s from the Nazi
leader’s alpine retreat outside
Berchtesgaden in the spring of
1945. Most have ended up in
attics, basements and
bookshelves across America.
One of the more notable
examples I have seen is
Hitler’s personal copy of
Shakespeare’s collected
works, 10 volumes bound
in fine Moroccan leather
with a swastika and the
letters AH embossed on
the spine. On occasion,
these war trophies find
their way onto the antiquarian
book market.

The Kloss report is being
sold Thursday by Kestenbaum
& Co., a Manhattan auction
house that specializes,
according to its Web page,
in “fine Judaica” and “rare
kosher and vintage wines.”
The owner, Daniel Kestenbaum,
observes that he would
normally not auction a
Hitler book, or any other
object from the Nazi era
for that matter, unless it
related somehow to “the
Jewish experience.”

“It is less about the bookplate
or the owner and more about
the book,” Kestenbaum said.
He has estimated the sales
price between $3,000 and
$5,000. “I have been in
this business since 1986.
If I haven’t seen it before,
it is rare.”

The price is rather high
for a Hitler book. Most such
volumes go for a few hundred
dollars. But this particular
volume, given its provenance
and disturbing historical
resonances, may be worth
the price. The book
underscores with stark
statistical data how
assiduous the Nazis were,
even as late as 1944,
in pursuing their goal of
world domination as well
as their designs for
extending the geographic
compass of the “final solution.”
That such a volume found
its way into Hitler’s personal
library is as understandable
as it is chilling.

“When a person gives
they have to take,” Hitler
once said. “And I take what
I need from books.” Hitler
was an obsessive reader
from childhood, and his
understanding of America
was shaped in great part
by his readings, in his
youth, of the cowboy-and-
Indian stories of the
adventure novelist Karl
May, and later in life
of the anti-Semitic writings
of Henry Ford. Hitler kept
copies of Ford’s “The
International Jew: The
World’s Foremost Problem”
on a table outside his office
and included it in a list of
books “every National
Socialist should know.”

After reading “America
in the Battle of the
Continents,” a screed
about Franklin D. Roosevelt’s
alleged war mongering
written by the German-
ophilic Norwegian explorer
Sven Hedin, Hitler sent
the author a three-page
letter thanking him for
setting the record straight.

Hitler’s most valued book
on America was “The
Passing of the Great Race,”
by a Columbia-educated
eugenicist, Madison Grant,
who claimed that American
greatness, built on the
Nordic stock of its founding
fathers, was being eroded
by the allegedly inferior
blood of immigrant races.
Hitler quoted liberally from
Grant in his speeches and is
said to have sent him a
letter describing “The
Passing of the Great
Race” as “my bible.”

The Kloss report is a fitting
addition to Hitler’s American
reading list, but this
particular book comes
with a double-barbed
moral hitch. What kind of
price tag belongs on a book
that would have, but for
the defeat of the Nazis,
provided a blueprint for
the horrific consequences
of similar data-collecting
efforts across Europe?
More problematic still,
who would want to own
such a book that was
almost certainly perused
and quite likely studied
by Hitler during one of
the ritual nocturnal
reading sessions, usually
with a cup of tea, in his
upstairs study at the Berghof?

It would be best if the
Kloss report were acquired
by an individual or institution
willing to donate it to a public
collection, ideally, the Rare
Books and Manuscripts Division
at the Library of Congress.
There it could join 1,200 other
surviving volumes from Hitler’s
private library and not only be
readily accessible to scholars
and historians but also occupy
appropriate shelf space with
an equally sinister companion
book from Hitler’s private book
collection, a 1925 German
translation of Madison Grant’s
“The Passing of the Great Race,”
bearing a personal inscription
to Hitler.

Timothy W. Ryback is
author of “Hitler’s Private
Library: The Books That
Shaped His Life.”

The New York Times
Published: Dec. 7, 2011

I was the target of a neo-
Nazi ‘troll storm'

As told to Lois Beckett

Tanya Gersh was targeted by the
‘alt-right’ for being Jewish after
getting caught up in the notoriety
surrounding Richard Spencer.
She tells Lois Beckett about the
trauma of her experience and
the antisemitism leveled at her.

The Guardian|20 April 2017

I came home one night and
found my husband sitting in a
completely dark house, and
he had suitcases on the floor
of our bedroom and he said:
“Tanya I need you to pack,
we need to go.”

“Where we going?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“How long are we going for?”

“I don’t know,” he said.
“Are we leaving right now?”
And he said: “I don’t know.
I think we should probably
go wake the kids. I don’t
think we should spend the
night here tonight.”

He showed me the website
on the computer. That was
how I found out I was the
target of a neo-Nazi “troll

The post on the Daily
Stormer last December
claimed I had been trying
to extort and threaten the
mother of Richard Spencer,
a white nationalist whose
family has a vacation home
in our town. It had a
photograph of me and
contact information:
phone numbers, email
addresses, and links to
social media profiles for
me, my husband, my
friends, my colleagues.
It had my son’s Twitter
handle. He is 12 years old.

“Are y’all ready for an
old fashioned Troll Storm?”
Andrew Anglin, a neo-
Nazi internet troll, asked
his followers, talking
about my family and me.

“Just make your opinions
known. Tell them you are
sickened by their Jew agenda,”
he wrote. “And hey –
if you’re in the area,
maybe you should stop
by and tell her in person
what you think of her actions.”

I felt fear for my life – just
fear, absolutely fear, for our
lives. We had no idea what
this meant. I had never
heard of the Daily Stormer,
which the Southern Poverty
Law Center says is now
“the most popular English-
language website of the
radical right”, a site with
hundreds of thousands
of visitors a month.

My husband and I sat
on our bed in our bedroom
and cried, thinking: what
are we supposed to say
to the kids when we
wake them? That we’re
running in the middle
of the night and could
possibly be in the greatest
of dangers?

Do we tell our children
that we’re running in the
middle of the night because
we’re Jewish?

Ultimately, we decided to
lock all the doors and shut
all the shades and go
to sleep and figure
out what to do in the

I had never, ever
encountered antisemitism
until Andrew Anglin
launched his troll storm.
Since December, I’ve
received more than
700 threatening, hateful,
harassing, antisemitic
communications from
Anglin’s followers at
all hours of the day
and night, and it hasn’t

I’ve been told: “You
really should have died
in the Holocaust with
the rest of your people.”

Sometimes, when I
answered the phone,
all I heard were gunshots.

I’ve received emails,
texts and voicemails
threatening my life.

I was told I would be
driven to the brink of
suicide. There were
endless references to
being thrown in the oven,
being gassed. There were
even suggestions: “Call
her up, get her to take
you on a real estate tour
and get her alone.”

I’m a realtor, but I’m
no longer working. I can’t
expose my clients to
potential harassment.
I’m in trauma therapy
twice a week. Most nights
I go to bed crying.

I broke when I realized
that Anglin was also
urging people to direct
these attacks on my kids,
my son. They made an
image with photographs
of me and my 12-year-old
son on the entrance
gate to the Auschwitz
concentration camp.

My son is currently
studying for his bar
mitzvah right now,
and devastation like
this is so hard to describe.

I desperately worry for
my son and my children.
Can you imagine going
through this as a child?
Our dinner conversations
at home now include
assuring them that they
don’t have to fear being

Andrew Anglin and his
troll army have attacked
me and my family at the
very essence of who we are.

I’m a small business owner
in a beautiful mountain
community. I’m a realtor
now. I used to be a wedding
planner. I just told someone
recently that I think Whitefish,
Montana, might be the best
place on the planet.
Healthy, clean living.

I’m not an activist. I’ve never
been an activist. In my
personal life, I’m a natural
peacemaker, and my friends
tend to call me when they
have problems.

Especially after Richard Spencer
hosted a conference in
Washington DC and said:
“Hail Trump! Hail our people!
Hail victory!”, our little town
grew very concerned. It’s
natural for people in my
community to reach out to
me and say: “This is so scary,
what do you feel about this?”
People were mad, they were
were scared. It’s important to
understand: tourism, in our
town, feeds our children.
It was frightening for our
town. There was talk of a
protest of a building Spencer’s
mother owned. I actually
witnessed people stopping
to take pictures of Sherry
Spencer’s building and that
was really alarming for me.
I made phone calls to the
tenants in the building,
who were friends of mine.
I was very concerned for
them. I worried for their
business and their safety.

One of the tenants gave
my phone number to Sherry
Spencer and I received a
phone call from her and
she said to me: “What do I do?
I don’t believe in the
ideology of my son.
I know that me having this
building is causing turmoil.
What do I do?” And I said,
if this were my son, if I
were in this position,
I would probably sell the
building, I would donate
some money to a human
rights cause, and I would
make a public statement
that I don’t believe in the
ideology of my son. And
she said to me: “Thank you,
Tanya, you’re right, that’s
what I need to do. Can you
help me?”

I truly believed her. She
even gave me the code to
her building, and said: “Please,
go take a look inside, I really
want you to see it.” All along
I was thinking what I was
doing was helping my community.

I was so touched by the
situation and felt for her,
so for me to end up on a Nazi
website after this was so out
of left field and so shocking.

I actually wanted to go to
lunch with her. I wanted to be
able to sit down with her,
mother to mother, and send
some love, which is why this is
even more painful.

If the phone call were to happen
all over again, there’s nothing
I would have said differently.
I felt like I had handled it exactly
the way anyone would have
handled it.

After I spoke with Sherry,
I was so relieved that the
situation was going to be
resolved that I shared what
she had told me on a Facebook
group for local activists. You
forget how public Facebook is,
that people can take a
screenshot of anything
you post. I just wanted to
say: ‘Look, ladies, this part
is handled, don’t worry about it.
Don’t go protest.’ I was just
so happy that I may have
been able to be part of a
peaceful solution.

Then I heard from a local
reporter who had seen
the Facebook post. I kept
telling him there’s no story
here, there’s no story here.
He published one anyway,
about a town torn apart by
Richard Spencer’s notoriety.
Then, with no warning,
Sherry Spencer published a
post on Medium attacking me
and telling a twisted version
of our interactions. And the
neo-Nazi trolls picked it all up.

My husband is a lawyer, and
he has gone back to work now.
There was a time when we
shut down the office because
our paralegals weren’t able
to conduct regular business or
even answer the phone. That
has lightened enough that
they can go back to work as
usual, but it is important for
everyone to know that the
attacks have not stopped

My friends used to call me
the happiest person on Earth.
I know I’m not the first person
that Andrew Anglin has
victimized, and I’m filing
a lawsuit against him
because he and his white
nationalist followers terrorized
me and my family for months,
and my life is forever changed.
My sense of safety is forever

When you go to synagogue
or are part of the Jewish
community, you almost always
say a prayer for the 6 million
people who died in the
Holocaust and you always
say out loud: “Never again.”
It’s something instilled in us
since we were children in
Hebrew school. There’s no
way that I couldn’t stand
up and file this lawsuit.
It’s part of the core of who
I am as a Jew, and everything
that I’ve been taught.

I want other victims of this
bigotry to know that they
aren’t alone.

The Guardian
Published: April 20, 2017

When the Nazis Tried to
Exterminate Hollywood
(Book Excerpt)

Decades before today’s white
nationalist movement, "the most
dangerous Jew in Los Angeles"
fought a plan to assassinate film
stars and studio heads by hanging
them in the streets.

By Steven J. Ross|Sept. 21, 2017

The Hollywood Reporter

In March 1934, Leon Lewis, a
44-year-old lawyer and former
executive director of the Anti-
Defamation League, invited
40 of Hollywood’s most powerful
studio heads, producers and
directors — men like Louis B.
Mayer, Irving Thalberg and Jack
Warner — to a secret meeting
at Hillcrest, the elite Jewish
country club in Cheviot Hills.
For nearly a year, Lewis had
used a network of spies (including
the son of a Bavarian general)
to keep tabs on Nazis and
American-born fascists in
Los Angeles. Some in the
group knew a bit about what
Lewis had been up to, but few
knew the full extent of his work.
As the group settled into the
Club Room after dinner, Lewis
rose to share what he had
learned: Anti-Semites had
invaded their studios. Foremen
sympathetic to the Nazi and
fascist cause had fired so
many below-the-line Jewish
employees that many studios
had “reached a condition of
almost 100 percent [Aryan]
purity.” Scarier still, Lewis
told them his spies had
uncovered death threats
against the moguls.

He pleaded with them for
money to continue his operations
so they could keep track of not
only how the Nazis were trying
to influence the studios but also
their plans for sabotage and
murder in Southern California.
Would the moguls help?

Thalberg promised $3,500
from MGM. Paramount production
head Emanuel Cohen matched it.
RKO’s David Selznick contributed
and said he would canvass the
town’s talent agents for additional
contributions. By the end of the
evening, the group had pledged
$24,000 ($439,000 in 2017
dollars) for the spy operation.

Lewis was elated. The money
would allow him to recruit more
spies and continue his undercover
operations. “For the first time,”
he wrote an ADL colleague,
“we have established a real
basis of cooperation with the
Motion Picture Industry, and I
look for splendid results.”

Over the next decade, until
the end of World War II, Lewis,
whom the Nazis called “the
most dangerous Jew in Los
Angeles,” used the money
raised from Hollywood to
recruit World War I veterans
— and their wives and
daughters — to spy on
Nazi and fascist groups in
Los Angeles. Often rising to
leadership positions, this
daring group of men and
women foiled a series of
Nazi plots — from hanging
24 Hollywood actors and
power figures, including
Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor,
Charlie Chaplin, Mayer
and Samuel Goldwyn,
to blowing up defense
installations on the day
Nazis planned to launch
their American putsch.

Even though Nazi plans
for murder and sabotage
failed, as with today,
we need to take this homegrown
extremism seriously. Lewis
certainly did. While local
and federal officials were
busy monitoring the activities
of communists, his operatives
uncovered enough evidence
of hatred and plotting to
be concerned about the fate
of Los Angeles Jews and
American democracy. Were
it not for Lewis and his spies,
these plots might have succeeded.

As he paced his downtown
office on Seventh Street
waiting to meet his first
potential recruit in late
July 1933, Lewis reflected
upon the events that
had led him to embark on
a new career as spy
master. On the evening
of July 26, 100 Hitlerites,
many dressed in brown
shirts and sporting red,
white and black swastika
armbands, held their first
public meeting at their
spacious downtown
headquarters in the Alt
Heidelberg building. Hans
Winterhalder, handsome
propaganda chief of the
Friends of the New Germany,
told the crowd of plans to
unify the 50 scattered
German-American organizations
of Southern California and their
150,000 members into
one body. It had been
seven months since Adolf Hitler
had become the Reich’s
chancellor of Germany in
January 1933 and five
months since Berlin had
sent Capt. Robert Pape to
Los Angeles to build a
Nazi organization in the area.

For Nazi propaganda minister
Joseph Goebbels, no American
city was more important than
Los Angeles, home to what
he deemed the world’s
greatest propaganda machine,
Hollywood. Although many
people in the U.S. and
around the globe viewed
New York as the capital of
Jewish America, Goebbels
saw Hollywood as a far
more dangerous place,
one where Jews ruled
over the motion picture
industry and transmitted
their ideas throughout
the world. And Los Angeles
seemed the perfect place to
establish a beachhead for
the Nazi assault on the U.S.
Not only did Southern California
have a long history of anti-
Semitism and right-wing
extremism, but the Los Angeles
port also was less closely
monitored than New York
(or “Jew York,” as Nazis often
referred to it), which made
it easier to use as the central
depot for sending spies,
money and secret orders
from Germany.

What really frightened Lewis
was a small paragraph in a
Los Angeles Record story
about the rally describing how
Los Angeles-based Nazis
had turned the Alt Heidelberg
basement into a barracks
for unemployed Germans
who would be fed, bathed
and housed at no cost other
than being instructed in
National Socialism. Lewis
understood that this was
not done out of kindness.
The Nazis were raising an army
from among the unemployed
and discontented, especially
targeting veterans, just as
Hitler had done in the
1920s to fuel his rise.

There was little in Lewis’
background to suggest that
the modest Midwesterner,
6-foot-1 with light brown
eyes and black hair, would
come to this. After graduating
from the University of Chicago
Law School in 1913, Lewis,
committed to the Jewish
idea of tikkun olam (world repair),
became the ADL’s first
national executive secretary.
In 1923, after serving in
World War I, he added the
ADL’s international division
to his portfolio, and keeping
track of Hitler and the threat
he posed to Jews became an
obsession. Within days of
the local Nazis’ first meeting,
Lewis, convinced American
authorities were too obsessed
with communists to take the
Nazi threat seriously, started
his spy operation from his
small downtown law office.

His initial recruits to his spy
ring included an unlikely
array of non-Jews. He wanted
experienced soldiers (and
their wives) who would not
be prone to fear or exaggeration
so government agencies
could not accuse Lewis of
engaging in Jewish paranoia.
First to join was John Schmidt,
the German-born son of a
Bavarian general who had
moved to the U.S. around
1903, joined the Army and
been wounded in World War
I. After Lewis appealed to
his patriotism and promised
the cash-strapped veteran
a modest monthly stipend,
Schmidt — who operated
under the code names
Agent 11, 74 and Elf — agreed
to pose as a Nazi sympathizer,
and his wife, Alice (Agent 17),
joined him, becoming
president of the FNG’s
Ladies Auxiliary. Others
followed, including Charles
Slocombe, a former Long
Beach KKK member who
penetrated deep into the
leadership ranks of the
Klan and fascist groups
like the anti-Semitic
American National Party,
Silver Shirts and the
American Labor Party’s
military wing, the Lode
Star Legion. Lewis also
enlisted Neal Ness, an
engineer turned journalist
turned spy who became
the American right-hand
man and confidant to
FNG leader Herman Schwinn.

As millions of Americans
prepared to welcome in
the New Year on Dec. 31,
1935, Slocombe warned
Lewis of an outrageous
plot to assassinate a
number of Hollywood’s
leading figures. Ingram
Hughes, a failed attorney
and founder of the ANP,
was working closely
with local Nazi leader
Schwinn to rid the nation
of its “Jewish menace.”
The 60-year-old fascist
planned to assassinate
20 prominent Angelenos,
including Busby Berkeley,
Superior Court judge
Henry M. Willis, entertainment
lawyer Mendel Silberberg
and Lewis himself.
“Busby Berkeley will look
good dangling on a rope’s
end,” the ANP leader
quipped. Hughes hoped
the hangings would spark
a nationwide uprising against
Jews. He recruited Nazi
propagandist Franz Ferenz
(distributor of German
films and newsreels on
the West Coast), four
Nazis from the FNG and
several other trusted accomplices.

This was no hasty killing
fantasy but a carefully
planned terrorist plot.
To hide their identities,
he ordered the kidnappers
to wear cotton gloves and
heavy wool socks over
their shoes. “Every man
will have a perfect alibi,”
Hughes explained, and
“several weeks will be
spent in developing the
minutest details to the
nth degree.” The police,
Hughes’ friends on the
force had assured him,
“will not interfere but
will give a sigh of relief.”

Lewis knew all this because
Slocombe had penetrated
the ANP. Lewis’ spy
impressed Hughes at their
first meeting when he
insisted the KKK and Silver
Shirts “were not militant
enough” and that he
“wanted to have action
and not a lot of talk.”
The 28-year-old Long
Beach water-taxi driver
soon became the fascist’s
most valued assistant.

Hughes’ slaughtering of
Jews did not proceed
as planned. He and
Schwinn suspected that
Lewis’ spies had penetrated
the operation; they just did
not know who was spying
for the Jews and did not
wish to risk being arrested
for murder until the traitor
was revealed. “We must
watch our step as we
proceed,” Hughes confided
to Slocombe. Fearing Lewis’
reach, Hughes postponed
the killings.

Another plot surfaced a
year later, hatched by the
British fascist Leopold
McLaglan, the estranged
brother of 1936 Oscar
winner Victor McLaglen
(Leopold changed the
spelling to differentiate
from his brother). The
53-year-old World War I
veteran had turned to
teaching martial arts to
rich Californians and
Nazis (he had once
taught at Scotland Yard)
after his brother blackballed
him from acting. Schwinn’s
crowd loved McLaglan;
not only had he built a
fascist organization in
England, but he was
teaching Nazis and White
Russians “how to kill
through jiujitsu.” Soon
after they met in September
1937 at the Nazi-run German
Day Celebration (which attracted
a crowd of 3,000), McLaglan
invited Slocombe, longtime
fascist Henry Allen and
prominent Hollywood
photographer and Silver
Shirts leader Ken Alexander
to dinner at his favorite
restaurant, the House of
Sullivan. Over Tom Collinses
and scotch and sodas,
McLaglan shared his “bloody
good idea.” And bloody it
was. To garner “worldwide
publicity, we are going to
have to do a wholesale
slaughtering here in the
city of plenty of the leading
Jews.” He planned on targeting
Jewish studio execs, the
Hollywood Anti-Nazi League
and the Christians who
aided them. “I can get the
Nazi boys and the White
Russians who would do this
for us,” he promised.
White Russian leader George
Doombadze, he added, has a
“psycho” fellow “who does this
stuff for him all the time.”

Slocombe sent Lewis 24 names
on McLaglan’s killing list, which
included some of the most famous
people in the world, including
Cantor, Chaplin, Goldwyn, Jolson,
Jack Benny, James Cagney,
Fredric March, Paul Muni,
Joseph Schenck, B.P. Schulberg,
Gloria Stuart, Sylvia Sidney,
Donald Ogden Stewart,
Walter Winchell and William
Wyler. As they reviewed the hit
list, McLaglan revealed he had
spoken to FNG leader Schwinn
about the assassination plot
“many times.” Schwinn told
McLaglan that his Nazi allies
“were particularly interested
in eliminating” the key leaders
of the Anti-Nazi League.

Boasting that he “could get all
the dynamite he needed through
the police,” McLaglan would
provide two dozen Nazi and
Russian assassins with the
bombs and the names and
addresses of their targets, all

of whom would be
murdered on the
same night. Knowing
that they would likely fall
under suspicion, McLaglan
suggested they spend the
night of the killings in Santa
Barbara to have “a perfect alibi.”

The plot unraveled when
Slocombe convinced Allen
and Alexander that McLaglan
planned a double-cross in
which he would pin the murders
on them. So they double-crossed
first, striking a deal with District
Attorney Buron Fitts: sworn
statements implicating McLaglan
in return for immunity. Evidence
in hand, the police arrested McLaglan
on Oct. 26, 1937; but instead of
charging him with attempted
murder, the D.A.’s office covered
up police involvement in the murder
plot by charging the British fascist
only with extorting money from
millionaire Philip Chancellor
(who had hired McLaglan to
conduct an undercover operation).
When the trial began six weeks later,
McLaglan, dressed in a dapper
suit and sporting a monocle,
pleaded not guilty, but a jury
found him guilty of extortion.
Sentenced to five years in prison,
McLaglan received probation on
the condition that he take the
first ship back to England.

Having saved Hollywood Jews
a second time, Lewis and his
spies turned to getting Schwinn
deported. In September 1938,
armed with evidence provided
by Lewis and Ness, the U.S.
Department of Naturalization
and Immigration began steps
to revoke Schwinn’s citizenship.
Nine months later, federal
judge Ralph Jenny ruled that
Schwinn had perjured himself
by providing false information on
his application for citizenship.
Although Schwinn told the court
he had made “an honest mistake,”
the judge, insisting that the Nazi
was not of “good moral character,”
revoked his citizenship. Two hours
later, Lewis’ informant Jimmy
Frost gave him more good news:
The immigration service had
begun deportation proceedings
against the Nazi.

Despite their success, Lewis and
his spies never received the
recognition they deserved.
It was not until after Pearl Harbor
that the communist-obsessed
FBI acted against Nazi spies.
In the days and weeks after the
attack on Dec. 7, 1941, J. Edgar
Hoover’s men received nationwide
acclaim for the speed and
efficiency with which they rounded
up Axis spies and fifth columnists.
Yet, as Lewis’ assistant Joseph
Roos later noted, the Los Angeles
FBI “had scant security information
of their own.” Government intelligence
agents simply retyped the list of
suspected German agents and
subversive fifth columnists sent
by Lewis and claimed it as theirs.
As far as the FBI was concerned,
its job was done. On Oct. 3,
1942, the L.A. bureau filed
what it believed was its last
report on Schwinn: “As no
further investigation is
contemplated … this case
is being closed.”

The FBI may have closed
its case on Schwinn and the
Bund, but Lewis knew that
the fifth-column movement
remained alive and that
hatred of Jews had grown
stronger since Pearl Harbor.
With the FBI focused on
rounding up suspected
foreign agents, it was up to
him to expose any threats to
the city’s Jewish community.
Over the next several years,
he relied on the mother-daughter
spy team of Grace and Sylvia
Comfort to keep tabs on —
and foil the plots of — anti-Semites.
One member of the California
Women’s Republican Club told
Sylvia Comfort that all Jews
should be “hung from lampposts
within five years,” while another
complained, “that was too slow.”
Knowing it would take only one
crazy person to carry out these
threats, Lewis and his operatives
continued watching over the city
with an eye to protecting Jews
from Nazis and anti-Semites.

There are many ways to fight
an enemy, not all of which require
guns. The actions taken by Lewis
and his allies require us to change
the way we think about American
Jewish resistance in the 1930s.
From August 1933 until the end
of World War II, with few resources
at their disposal, Lewis and his
courageous undercover operatives
ontinually defeated a variety of
enemies — Nazis, fascists and f
ifth columnists — bent on violence
and murder. Without ever firing
a weapon, they managed to
keep Los Angeles and its citizens

Lewis and the men and women
who aided him were heroes who
never sought glory. He died of a
heart attack at age 65 in 1954
mostly unrecognized, except by a
few, and what happened faded
from memory.

In the wake of recent events in
Charlottesville, Virginia, and the
rise of neo-Nazi activities across
the country, Lewis’ story offers a
guide to what happens when
hate groups move from the margins
into the mainstream of American
society and when an American
government seems complacent or,
as some would argue, complicit.
Lewis understood that democracy
requires constant vigilance
against all enemies, internal and
external. He and his network of
spies showed that when a government
fails to stem the rise of extremists
bent on violence, it is up to every
citizen to protect the lives of every
American, no matter their race or
religion. Only in a “unified America,”
he said after the war, could the nation
and its citizens achieve the true
“realization of the American democratic

Adapted from Hitler in Los Angeles:
How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against
Hollywood and America.
Copyright © Steven J. Ross, 2017.
Published by Bloomsbury USA.

The Hollywood Reporter
Published: Sept. 21, 2017

A second Trump administration will
‘come after’ people in the media
in the courts, an ally says

Associated Press
Dec. 5, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — A Donald Trump ally
who worked in his Justice Department
said Tuesday that if the former
president is elected again, his
administration will retaliate
against people in the media
“criminally or civilly.”

Kash Patel, who was also chief
of staff in the Defense Department
and held a role on the National
Security Council, made the
comment on Steve Bannon’s
podcast. He said that, in a
second Trump administration,
“We will go out and find the
conspirators not just in government,
but in the media,” over the 2020
election, which Trump lost to
Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump and his allies have
repeatedly claimed the election
was stolen, despite the fact that
numerous federal and local
officials, a long list of courts,
top former campaign staffers
and even his own attorney
have all said there is
no evidence of the fraud he
. Trump has also
promised “retribution” as a
central part of his campaign
message as he seeks a
second term in the White House.

Trump’s campaign distanced
itself from Patel’s comments,
saying that proclamations
“like this have nothing to do
with” them. The campaign did
not respond to questions about
whether Trump is considering
the plans Patel described.

In a Fox News Channel interview
later Tuesday, Trump declined
twice to say he would not abuse
to seek retribution in a
second White House term.

“You mean like they’re using
right now?” Trump responded
to one question, alleging
that the Biden administration
was abusing power.

Patel is a fellow at the Center
for Renewing America, a
conservative think tank that
is part of a network of conservative
groups that is preparing for
a possible second White House
for Trump or any conservative
who aligns with their views.

In his interview with Bannon,
Patel said: “We’re going to
come after the people in the
media who lied about American
citizens who helped Joe Biden
rig presidential elections.
We’re going to come after
you, whether it’s criminally
or civilly. We’ll figure that
out. But yeah, we’re putting
you all on notice.”

Trump has long targeted the
media, labeling news organizations
as “Fake News” and the
“Enemy of the People,”
a phrase linked to Soviet
dictator Josef Stalin.

In a post on his Truth Social
network in September,
Trump repeated both phrases
and vowed to investigate
NBC News and MSNBC for
“Country Threatening Treason”
and try to curb their access
to the airwaves.

“I say up front, openly,
and proudly, that when
I WIN the Presidency
of the United States, they
and others of the LameStream
Media will be thoroughly
scrutinized for their
knowingly dishonest and
corrupt coverage of people,
things, and events,” Trump
said in the post. “Why should
NBC, or any other of the
corrupt & dishonest media
companies, be entitled
to use the very valuable
Airwaves of the USA, FREE?
They are a true threat to
Democracy and are, in fact,
The Fake News Media should
pay a big price for what they
have done to our once
great Country.”

Patel was a guest at Trump’s
kickoff for his 2024 presidential
campaign last year at his
Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
In June, he attended
Trump’s speech at his
Bedminster resort following
the former president’s
appearance in court on
federal charges he
mishandled classified documents.

In the interview, Bannon
suggested Patel might be a
possible director of the CIA
if Trump wins another term.

The Trump campaign did
not respond to a question
about whether Patel was
being considered for a
role as CIA director.

Associated Press
Published: Dec. 5, 2023

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