Hatewatch

Radicals React: Holocaust Museum Killer Was a Hero (or a Patsy)

White supremacists reacted swiftly to the death of Holocaust Museum shooter and long-time neo-Nazi James von Brunn by lauding his actions and promoting conspiracy theories about his demise.

Von Brunn, who had been in poor health and was recovering from gunshot wounds to one ear, died early this afternoon at a hospital in North Carolina, according to The Associated Press. The 89-year-old had been charged with the June 10 murder of a black security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He was himself shot in the face by other guards just seconds after killing Stephen T. Johns.

On Stormfront, the leading white supremacist Web forum, posters speculated this afternoon that von Brunn might not have died of natural causes, suggesting that evil forces were actually responsible for his demise. “I knew that case would never go to trial,” wrote “LawAbidingCitizen.” “There were so many holes in the ‘official’ story that it would have been a laughingstock.” Added “MedicineHat”: “Sounds like a clear cut case of ‘Jewicide.’”

Many others praised him as a hero. “James Wenneker Von [sic] Brunn died a martyr,” wrote “starviego.” “Long live James Wenneker Von Brunn.” Said “allkesh”: “Great man who gave his best for his people!” “Kennewickman,” a Stormfront moderator, put it like this: “Every man or woman who expresses opposition to ZOG [a neo-Nazi acronym for Zionist Occupation Government, meaning the federal government] and dies in ZOG’s hands is a martyr, automatically.”

Not everyone was so enamored, however. “He was an idiot, a crazed old kook,” wrote “Notakook.” “His actions might as well be scripted in Hollywood: ‘Mean, hateful, old racist, Jew hater, evil NAZI attacks Holocaust Museum. Honest, Black African American doorman/security guard is murdered!’ Yeah, that’s really a heroic act, really helps our ‘movement.’ We have to find things for our old men to do that do not involve military invasions of museums! Wow. Really pathetic folks.”

Von Brunn, who wrote many racist and anti-Semitic screeds, had ties to prominent neo-Nazis over the course of some four decades of radical activism. When he was arrested immediately after the June shooting, police found a notebook in his car saying: “You want my weapons — this is how you’ll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America’s money. Jews control the mass media. The 1st Amendment is abrogated henceforth.”

Von Brunn was never a major extremist leader. However, he became a hero to the radical right in 1981, when he carried a sawed-off shotgun, a pistol and a hunting knife into the Federal Reserve in Washington, where he hoped to “arrest” the Board of Governors and “read to the American public my indictment on these treasonous liars” on television. He was convicted of attempted kidnapping and other charges by a “Negro jury” and “a Jew judge,” he wrote later, and sentenced in April 1983 to a term of up to 11 years in prison. He was released in 1989.

By the time von Brunn was arrested, however, he had been largely forgotten by other white supremacists. His death is unlikely to have any real impact on their movement.