A Radical Electronic Resource . George Bush, anti-Semites and the Big Lie . Chronology of
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A Radical Electronic Resource
. George Bush, anti-Semites and the Big Lie
. Chronology of a Coverup
. by Chip Berlet
. George Bush's plan for a kinder gentler America apparently
will be implemented with the help of persons who think the
Holocaust is a hoax. When the Bush campaign was revealed as
having recruited an ethnic support coalition which included
racists, fascists, anti-Semites, Nazi apologists and even aging
Nazi collaborators, it responded with a typical and ironically
appropriate damage control technique--the Big Lie. It didn't even
bother to get its story straight inside the campaign. At various
points during the controversy the Bush campaign announced:
. * It would investigate the charges.
. * It would not investigate the charges.
. * It was shocked by the charges.
. * It could not be held responsible for screening everyone.
. * It was unable to substantiate the charges.
. * The unsubstantiated charges were reckless political attacks.
. * No one would resign until the charges were substantiated.
. * The persons resigning admitted no wrongdoing.
. * The anti-Semites had resigned from the campaign.
. * The issue was closed.
Clearly there are some mutually exclusive positions in the
above list, they even might be considered mendacious
circumlocutions--in other words... a lie.
The charges primarily came from two sources: a report by
Detroit-based freelancer Russ Bellant (published by Political
Research Associates in Cambridge); and a series of articles by
reporter Larry Cohler and Walter Ruby appearing in Washington
Jewish Week. Both sources focused on the Bush campaign's
recruitment of Eastern European nationalists who had emigrated to
the U.S. after World War II, having fled countries such as
Latvia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and the Croation section of
Yugoslavia. These ethnic activists had gravitated towards the
Republican Party due to a shared emphasis on rolling back
communism and gaining independence for the nations near the
Baltic coast and the Balkans which now are under Soviet
Some of these ethnic emigres, who champion "liberation" for
these "Captive Nations," had fled their homelands due to their
allegiance to Nazi Germany. Their continued support for fascism
and anti-Semitic views were aspects of their political work kept
hidden while toiling on behalf of George Bush and the Republican
A chronological look at the controversy shows how artfully
the Bush campaign sidestepped the charges while simultaneously
mollifying its Jewish and fascist constituencies.
9/08/88 -- The story surfaces when Washington Jewish Week
charges several Bush ethnic advisory committee members are well-
known anti-Semites and pro-fascists, including persons who
opposed the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigation
(OSI) probe into emigre Nazi collaborators in the U.S. The
article focuses on Bush ethnic advisors Jerome Brentar, Florian
Galdau and Philip Guarino.
*** Brentar has suggested the OSI search for Nazi war
criminals is a communist plot, and worked with groups claiming
the Holocaust is a Jewish hoax.
*** Galdau is described by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal as
the leader of the Romanian pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic movement in
New York City.
*** Guarino is linked in published accounts to the fascist-
oriented P-2 masonic lodge in Italy, and has made racist
statements about non-white ethnic minorities.
Mark Goodin, spokesperson for Bush campaign, announces "The
Reagan-Bush adminstration supports OSI and George Bush will
support OSI as president," and pledges the campaign will look
into the allegations. "If there is anything to them, we'll take
action," said Goodin.
James Baker, Bush campaign chairman, adds, "There is no
place in this campaign for anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry or
people who espouse those views. Any individuals who espouse those
views will not be welcome in this campaign."
Response in the Jewish community is quick. Henry Siegman,
executive director of the American Jewish Congress, says the
charges are a "shocking revelation. It suggests a high degree of
either insensitivity or incompetence on the part of George Bush's
staff. I'm sure George Bush is personally unaware of the sordid
personal history of these people. But now that he has been made
aware of them we have every right to expect him not only to
remove these people but to repudiate what they stand for."
Albert Vorspan, senior vice president of the Union of
American Hebrew Congregations calls the composition of the
Coalition "outrageous and frightening. The inclusion of notorious
extremists in a committee with such close ties to the vice
president violates the principles that George Bush has publicly
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation
League, urges "an immediate investigation by the Bush campaign of
the backgrounds of members of the Bush campaign ethnic coalition
who are known anti-Semites and have been linked to Holocaust
revisionist and anti-OSI (Office of Special Investiations)
activities." Foxman adds, "There is no place in any political
campaign for anti-Semites. The League urges that these persons be
9/9/88 -- Bush spokesperson Mark Goodin announces Jerome
Brentar has resigned, saying Brentar's "association with
[convicted Nazi war criminal] John Demjanjuk put him at odds with
Vice President Bush." No mention is made of the more substantial
charges regarding Brentar.
As for Galdau and Guarino, Goodin says, "We have absolutely
no substantiation at this point of any of these charges".
Michael S. Miller, executive director of the Jewish
Community Relations Council, however, says his group has
information supporting the Washington Jewish Week descriptions of
Jerome Brentar, Florian Galdau and Philip Guarino. "There's
absolutely no doubt in my mind that these three individuals have
expressed sympathies with Nazism, with fascism," Miller tell the
New York Times. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles is
also cited by the Times as having corroborating background
9/10/88 -- The Philadelphia Inquirer runs an article by David
Lee Preston which corroborates much of the material in Washington
Jewish Week. Preston also cites the Bellant report which describes
how the Republican Party has been recruiting ethnic facists,
racists and anti-Semites for over 20 years, through its Heritage
The Bellant report includes a photo of George Bush on the
campaign trail at a July 1988 event co-sponsored by a pro-Nazi
group, the anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. Also reproduced is a
1984 Republican ethnic pride calendar which urges the celebration
of "Croation Independence Day." The Croation state was run by a
Nazi-puppet government which oversaw the slaughter of over
500,000 Serbians and Jews.
9\11\88 -- The Washington Post carries a story on how Bush
advisor Fred Malek, who, while serving as an aide to President
Nixon, had compiled lists of employees with "Jewish-sounding"
names -- names of persons Nixon suspected were part of a "Jewish
Cabal" at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Malek resigns from Bush
campaign almost immediately.
9/12/88 -- The Bush campaign announces five more
resignations in addition to Brentar, in a stated effort to
prevent Bush from being hurt by "politically motivated attacks."
The statement of resignation issued on behalf of the five
panel members says in part, "We have been attacked unfairly by
George Bush's political opponents. These...attacks are aimed at
neutralizing the support George Bush has and will continue to
have in the ethnic community."
In addition to Brentar, who previously had resigned, the
five new resigness include Galdau and Guarino as well as Ignatius
Billinsky, Laszlo Pasztor, and Bohdan Fedorak.
*** Billinsky, a long-time critic of OSI, is president of
the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America which Bellant
desribes as "heavily influenced but not totally controlled by"
anti-Semites, collaborators with Hitler, and apologists for
*** Pasztor, who recruited many of the ethnic leaders with
questionable backgrounds for the Republican Heritage Groups
Council, himself briefly served during World War II as an
official in a Nazi-collaborationist Hungarian government
controlled by an anti-Semitic organization, the Arrow Cross.
*** Fedorak, also a leading critic of OSI, hosted the July
1988 campaign appearance by George Bush co-sponsored by a pro-
Mark Goodin, spokesperson for Bush, dismisses these charges
as "little more than politically-inspired garbage...the campaign
looked into the allegations against these individuals and was
unable to substantiate them."
Bush responds to reporters questions by saying: "Nobody's
giving in. These people left of their own volition. We're not
accusing anybody of anything....We're getting into a very
peculiar deal where some people are accusing people...I don't
like it a bit."
A few days later, Radi Slavoff, national co-chairman of
Bulgarians for Bush, becomes the last ethnic panel member to
*** Slavoff is charged with working in a national front
which was aligned with Nazis, and heading up the Heritage Groups
Council which has become a safe harbor for anti-Semites and pro-
9/15/88 -- With the resignations out of the way, the Bush
counterattack begins. Bush spokesperson Mark Goodin denounces
Bush's political enemies for disseminating "reckless allegations"
Although he claims the Bush campaign has not seen the Bellant
report, Goodin says "The campaign has been unable to substantiate
any of the allegations...They are some of the most reckless
allegations levelled against anybody....This has the unmistakable
stink of Boston Harbor." Bush campaign supporters begin to refer
to the charges as "Sasso-like attacks," and tell reporters the
Bellant report is part of a Dukakis dirty-tricks effort. In fact,
Political Research Associates has no ties to the Dukakis
campaign, but the smear sticks, and most major media drop the
story. The charges in Bellant's report are not covered in the New
York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, or United Press
International. For most of the country the story never happened.
For those newspapers still covering the story, the Bush
campaign's lies begin to unravel. Washington Jewish Week reports
that Florian Galdau says he had never been asked to resign and
had no intention of doing so. According to the newspaper, Galdau
"said he had never signed a statement issued by the Bush campaign
in his name and that of four others whose resignations the
campaign announced." Says Galdau, "I did not resign. Why should
I resign? I don't want to resign. I was appointed [to the Bush
committee]...and I don't think they have the right to ask me to
Galdau's son, Florin: "[The Bush campaign] called my father
[on Sept. 12] and denied they had any information whatsoever on
any of the allegations made [against] him. Neither [the caller]
or anyone else in the Bush campaign asked my father to resign--
and he did not resign...If they ask him to resign, he will tell
them to go to hell."
Meanwhile on a Cable Network News program Jerome Brentar
insists he never resigned from the Bush ethnic panel; and he
denies that the Nazis deliberately gassed Jews during the
Bush spokesperson David Sandor quickly responds: "This is
obviously in conflict with what we have said. We stand by what we
have said....We didn't force them to resign....George Bush is
their friend. They will continue to support him. They stand by
9/16/88 -- Jerome A. Brentar tells the Philadelphia Inquirer
he is "definitely still in the campaign, still in the
coalition....I was asked to step down. I told them that I'll step
down if they send me a letter outlining why I have to step down,
what I did wrong to earn this degradation....Until I get such a
letter, I feel I'm still part of the Coalition."
The Bush campaign finally takes its only stand relating to
the actual issues involved, and issues the following statement:
"Jerome Brentar and this campaign disagreed....We were at
fundamental odds over some very important beliefs in this
campaign toward racial and religious tolerance, and he was
asked to step down....as far as we're concerned he's no longer
part of this campaign."
9/18/88 -- Philadelphia Inquirer reporter David Lee Preston
demolishes more Bush campaign lies. He notes that since 1969,
several dozen alleged Nazis, fascists and anti-Semites have held
leadership posts in the Heritage Groups Council. He quotes Allan
A. Ryan, Jr. (now with the legal office of Harvard University but
formerly director of the Justice Department's OSI war criminal
probe) as saying he had read Bellant's report and found it to be
"well documented and reliable."
Preston also reports that in 1972 a convicted Nazi war
criminal Boleslavs Maikovskis of Minneola, N.Y. served on the
advisory board of the Latvian-American section of the
Republican's Heritage Council for the Re-Election of the
9/22/88 -- In Washington Jewish Week the Republican National
Committee's Kathryn Murray admiting she has not read the evidence
contained in the Bellant report, but claims the report is "filled
with ridiculous charges" and "insults all ethnic Americans."
Murray says the RNC has no intention of examining evidence of the
extremist background presented against anyone in the report. The
paper, however, reports ADL has evidence backing charges against
four of the persons resigning from Bush campaign.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency quotes Albert Maruggi, RNC
press secretary, saying there were no plans to investigate the
backgrounds of any of the ethnic group members cited in the
Bellant report. Incredibly, four of the Bush ethnic panel members
who resigned, Guarino, Slavoff, Galdau, and Pasztor, are still
active in the RNC's Heritage Group's Council.
9/27/88 -- The Boston Herald carries an Alan Dershowitz
column where Dershowitz reveals he has independent knowledge of
some of Bellant's charges. "I first heard about the presence of
Nazis in the hierarchy of the Republican Party as far back as
1970" In the course of working on the New York governor's race,
Dershowitz says he "learned that several members of a Republican
`Captive Nations Committee' were Nazi sympathizers who had been
personally involved in the Holocaust in Europe, as well as with
racist and neo-Nazi groups in America."
New York Post columnist Pete Hamill in a column titled
"George Bush and his fascist fan club" quotes Menachem Rosensaft,
president of the Labor Zionist Alliance and leader of the
International Network of Children of the Holocaust:
"He accepted their resignations. And he said he was against
anti-Semitism. But when they were gone, an aide said the charges
against these men were `unsubstantiated and politically
motivated.' Clearly Bush wanted them out once they were exposed,
but he still wants the votes of their constituency."
9/29/88 -- Ron Kauffman, Northeast political director for
Bush Campaign tells the Jewish Advocate newspaper the Bellant
report is "totally outrageous." Mark Goodin, Bush Campaign
spokesman, denounces Bellant's report and says people who
voluntary resigned from campaign "vigorously defended" themselves
against the charges. "We were not able to substantiate any of the
allegations...These individuals maintain fierce opposition to the
charges. We certainly accept that explanation."
So the Bush campaign has come full circle to a total
whitewash of the allegations. Just last week author Charles R.
Allen Jr., an expert on the emigre Nazi network, questioned the
candor of Bush when he "professed ignorance of [the] pro-Nazi
backgrounds" of the ethnic campaign supporters. Allen produced a
1983 photograph of George Bush shaking hands with Yaroslav
Stetsko, then leader of the pro-Nazi Anti-bolshevik Bloc of
Nations. The photo was taken at a White House reception. Bush
signed the photo: "To the Honorable Yaroslav Stetsko with best
wiches - George Bush." Allen also produced a 1976 RNC memo in
which Bush, as RNC Chair, is reported to have reviewed the past
work of the Republican Heritage Groups Council and set goals for
the coming year. What Allen, Bellant and other critics conclude
is that if George Bush becomes President he will continue to
collaborate with Nazi collaborators, anti-Semites, fascists and
racists as long as their hard-line anti-communism is useful to
the Republican Party and a militant foreign policy.
This is a story that has been widely ignored. Other than the
Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer, no major newspaper or
electronic news organization has covered the story in depth.
ADL's Boston director Leonard Zakim is concerned about the
situation. Zakim says that if in fact the Bush campaign has never
completely investigated the charges concerning the Republican
ethnic advisors as requested by ADL, then he is "extremely
unsatisfied with that response."
"The ADL is very clear in demanding a full explanation take
place, these charges are extremely serious and we expect the
response to be equally serious. We are very disturbed that
spokespersons for the Bush camp did not see fit to repudiate in
full those individuals whose stateed views are offensive," says
Zakim. "We don't see this as a Jewish issue. When charges like
these are raised, all people should be concerned. It shouldn't
only be Jewish organizations calling on the political campaigns
to deal with issues of racism and anti-Semitism, but all persons
of good conscience."
Chip Berlet, a journalist and paralegal investigator, is an
analyst at Political Research Associates (PRA) and secretary of
the National Lawyers Guild CIvil Liberites Committee. For a copy
of the Bellant report, send $6.50 (includes postage) to PRA, 678
Massachusetts Ave., Suite 205, Cambridge, MA 02139.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank