Child rapist Neo-Nazi led army of skinheads terrorised city in ‘swastika war’

Seeing streets filled with marching protesters have become an all-too-common sight in recent times, but it's certainly nothing new.

People have marched through our towns and cities for a number of different causes, be it Black Lives Matter or calls to end the national lockdown, but one of the most shocking demonstrations took place in Chicago in 1978.

A group of Holocaust-denying Nazis were led in a protest at the city's Marquette Park by child rapist Frank Collin in order to oppose the fact that black residents were living in nearby neighborhoods.

Beforehand, the Chicago Park District put obstacles in Collin's way to stop the protest from taking place.

His group would have to post a $350,000 insurance bond but when the American Civil Liberties Union objected, saying that the amount was unreasonable, a federal judge reduced it to $60,000.

At a second hearing, the judge found that, because Collin's views were unpopular, brokers weren't willing to write him an insurance policy, so he was given the right to march without posting a bond.

They had originally planned to walk through Skokie, a village in Illinois largely inhabited by the Jewish community and home to many Holocaust survivors, but were ultimately told they could not do so.

The leader of Skokie's Holocaust survivor community had asserted that the sight of a swastika would have a devastating effect on those who saw loved ones marched off to Nazi gas chambers.

This news set off a rhetorical firestorm that the Chicago Tribune dubbed the "Skokie swastika war".

On the day of the Marquette Park protest, the New York Times estimated that a crowd of 2,000 counter-protesters "drowned out" Collin and the roughly 25 group members who showed up to march with him in front of a federal building in Chicago.

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A New York Times report from the rally states: "Despite frequent outbreaks of scuffling that led to at least 72 arrests, the 400 or more riot‐helmeted policemen drawn up in phalanxes around the barricades that protected the band of about 25 brown-uniformed Nazis kept the volatile situation under control during the hourlong rally."

As some in the crowd chanted, "Never again, never again," the Jewish Defense League's slogan and a reference to the killing of six million Jews in Nazi Germany, Michael Allen, a St. Louis Nazi leader, asked: "Never what?"

He went on: "Do you want us to put you in the ovens? We will. First of all, I don't like your ugly face. Second of all, you marched the n*****s into our neighborhood. We say one more time, all you Jews are going to get it."

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The Chicago Tribune reported that the rally "sputtered to an unspectacular end after 10 minutes".

Its headline the next day read: "Fear, loathing, but little else, at Nazi rally."

A 1980 article in The New York Times reported that "Frank Collin was expelled from the American Nazi Party for illicit intercourse with minors and the use of Nazi headquarters in Chicago for purposes of sodomy with children. The report indicates that the Nazis "tipped" the police who arrested Collin.

Collin was convicted of child molestation and sentenced in 1979 to seven years in prison at the Pontiac Correctional Center. He served three years.

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