Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups often stage events around the anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s April 20th birthday. Many of these events are held explicitly to celebrate Hitler’s legacy of anti-Semitism and world vision of Aryan supremacy.
Several neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups around the country held such events on April 19 and 20, 2008. Many of them featured speakers who espouse a virulently anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-immigrant ideology.
- On April 19, roughly 30 members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) held a march and rally in Washington D.C., “against illegal immigration.” Following a clash between law enforcement officers and anti-racist counter-protesters, which resulted in the arrest of five anti-racists, NSM members marched down Constitution Avenue and rallied on the grounds of the United States Capitol. The featured speaker was Ted Junker, a former German SS soldier during World War II and the founder of a Wisconsin museum devoted to Adolf Hitler. Seeking to modernize their image, NSM members wore “a more militant black uniform, with the NSM Patch on the left shoulder.” In a press release following the event, NSM leader Jeff Schoep explained that the group’s traditional Nazi uniforms will now “be reserved for private Party functions, NSM Nationals, and other internal events.”
On April 18, the group held its national meeting in Washington D.C. Speakers included Ted Junker and key NSM members. The group presented the NSM College Scholarship Award, in the amount of $1,080, to a young woman.
The NSM is currently the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States. The group promotes its virulently anti-Semitic and racist ideology at rallies throughout the country, with members wearing Nazi insignia and openly displaying swastikas to a degree unusual even among white supremacists.
- On April 20, the neo-Nazi American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP) hosted a gathering in honor of Hitler's birthday in Chicago, Illinois. There were reportedly 56 attendees. Phillip Anderson, the ANSWP Illinois leader, emceed, and speakers included group leader Bill White; Art Jones, a long time pro-white activist and former member of the white supremacist National Socialist White People's Party; and Ted Junker, a former German SS officer during World War II and the founder of a museum devoted to Adolf Hitler, located in Wisconsin. Reportedly, "all speakers focused upon issues of primary interest to the audience, including Jewish involvement in prostitution and pornography, the unraveling racial situation in the United States, and the Third Reich during and after World War II." An offshoot of the NSM, the Roanoke, Virginia-based ANSWP was founded in the summer of 2006.
- On April 20, an Arizona white supremacist group called the “Death's Head Hooligans” gathered in Phoenix’s Papago Park in Arizona to celebrate in “remembrance of Adolf” and to support white unity. The event was publicized on the white supremacist hate forum Stormfront. Approximately 20 people reportedly showed up for the gathering.
- Also on April 20, a Hitler’s birthday ‘celebration’ at the Federal Correctional Facility in Florence, Colorado, triggered a race riot. Over 200 inmates reportedly were involved. According to authorities, a fight broke out in the prison yard as white supremacist inmates yelled racial slurs toward black prisoners. Guards were unable to control the violence even after firing between 300 and 400 rounds of warning shots. Two prisoners were shot to death, and five more seriously wounded during the incident.
Other planned events included the following:
- On April 19, members of Stormfront, an Internet forum popular among white supremacists and anti-Semites, planned to host a "racialist cookout" in Morganton, North Carolina. This event, "open to all white racialists," was advertised as "family friendly." Stormfront is the largest white supremacist Internet forum and reportedly contains over 120,000 members. Don Black, former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, operates the forum out of his Florida home.
- On April 19, 2008, the Portland chapter of the neo-Nazi group Volksfront planned to host a gathering. Volksfront, a virulently racist and anti-Semitic group, has become the most active neo-Nazi group on the West Coast and maintains close alliances with many other hate groups. One of its primary goals is to establish an autonomous whites-only living space in the Pacific Northwest and, to this end, the group claims to have purchased several acres of property in Oregon and Washington State.
- On April 20, the neo-Nazi National Socialist Order of America (NSOA) began the National Socialist Leadership Training School, a year-long correspondence course open to NSOA members. NSOA formed as an offshoot of the NSM in October 2007 and is led by John Taylor Bowles, former NSM South Carolina chapter leader and National Election Director.
- On April 26, Crew 38, a group associated with the neo-Nazi Hammerskin Nation, planned to host an "Adolf Hitler Memorial and BBQ" in Houston, Texas. The event was advertised to include live entertainment and a swastika lighting. The Hammerskin Nation is one of the largest hardcore racist skinhead groups in the United States, with a long history of violence. The number 38 is significant to the Hammerskins, as it stands for "Crossed Hammers," ("C" as the third letter of the alphabet and "H" the eighth), which is the group's symbol.