Weekly Wire
NewCityNet Harbinger of Hate

By Sam Jemielity

DECEMBER 22, 1997:  The twisted wreckage of Oklahoma City connects to Chicago history via the U.S. government's proceedings against bomber Timothy McVeigh and suspected accomplice Terry Nichols. Long before the militia movement took root in the American consciousness, Windy City native Francis Parker Yockey became what one expert calls "the patron saint of Holocaust deniers." If you haven't heard of Yockey, it's not surprising. Even the 1,000-plus page "Encyclopedia of the Third Reich" doesn't mention him. The Nizkor Holocaust Remembrance website notes that Yockey, who died in 1960, "is important because Willis Carto is important." Carto is the publisher of Spotlight, a tabloid of the right-wing extremist group the Liberty Lobby. Nearly forty years after Yockey's death, the newsletter was used by the government in its case against McVeigh. Testimony during the trial indicated that McVeigh used a calling card offered by Spotlight to plan the Oklahoma City bombing.

The long-dead Yockey may seem like a small cog in a sinister chain. But for Spotlight publisher Carto, Francis Yockey is a saint. Yockey grew up in Chicago, wrote the post-war equivalent of "Mein Kampf" and died in a San Francisco jail cell. He was an accomplished pianist, a great mimic, but also an immature, difficult person. After his suspicious death in San Francisco, which authorities called a suicide, Yockey was embraced as a hero by Carto, who was among the last people to see the well-traveled neo-Nazi alive.

The person pointing out this historical Chicago connection to the McVeigh and Terry Nichols trials is Martin Lee, an investigative journalist and author of "The Beast Reawakens" (Little, Brown), a look at neo-Nazi movements around the world since World War II. Lee, in town last week on a book tour, calls Yockey "a fascinating figure." The brilliant but emotionally stunted young man fell under the spell of the Silver Shirts, a pro-German organization, during the thirties, Lee reports. In 1939, Yockey gave a speech before a Silver Shirts gathering at the tender age of 22. He went on to law school at Notre Dame, graduating in 1941 cum laude. After a short stint in the Army, Yockey returned to Illinois to practice law, and then moved to Wayne County, Michigan, as assistant district attorney. After going to Wiesbaden as part of the American contingent handling the war crimes trials, Yockey worked as a spy for the Nazis, Lee says. According to Carto, however, Yockey quit his post in 1947 after being asked to produce propaganda by his supervisors.

"Yockey looked at the United States as more of a threat to Nazism than the Soviet Union," Lee says. "In his mind, at least the Russians were white, while the United States was a mongrel culture." In 1948, after moving to Ireland, Yockey published a turgid book, "Imperium, The Philosophy of History and Politics," a 700-page tome which Lee characterizes as a post-war "Mein Kampf." In it, Yockey bemoaned U.S. cultural domination, focusing on Hollywood--a code-word for Jews, Lee says. But what had a more resounding effect was Yockey's claim the gas chambers didn't exist.

Fearing reprisal, Yockey used the pen-name Ulick Varange, and only a handful of copies of "Imperium" entered circulation. To further the demise of the United States, Yockey stayed in Europe, working as a courier for the Czechoslovakian secret service after World War II. That got the FBI on his trail, but it wasn't until after Yockey made a trip to Cuba in an abortive attempt to meet Castro that the Feds caught up with him in Oakland. He committed suicide after ten days in a San Francisco jail, but not before receiving a visit from Willis Carto.

Carto went on to become publisher of Spotlight, and also, according to Lee, to promote Francis Yockey as a figurehead for the neo-Nazi movement. Carto wrote the introduction to a hardback edition of "Imperium" in 1962, and expressed skepticism about the official story of how Yockey died. In 1969, a paperback edition was released. According to the Nizkor website, Carto commonly recommends the book to friends and acquaintances, thus keeping alive the flame of the patron saint of Holocaust deniers.

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