Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canadian-jewish-congress/marches-to-modems/mtm-002-01 Last-Modified: 1997/03/30 2.1 Wolfgang Droege by Bernie M Farber Droege came to his Nazism quite naturally. According to a Toronto Star article, White Rights advocate learned it all at grandpas knee
Wolfgang Droege was infused with Nazi pride from his grandfather who was a good friend of Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher. Streicher was the editor of Der Sturmer a viciously antisemitic newspaper utilized by Hitler and the Nazis to denounce Jews and portray them as evil sexual perverts. Droege's father - Walter (after whom he was named) - fought for the Third Reich and "missed it when it ended." According to Droege his grandfather instilled in him a pride of being German. Claims Droege, "Adolph Hitler was misunderstood I admire him and his speeches are inspiring: " Born in 1949 in Forcheim, Bavaria, Droege emigrated to Canada as a young teenager at the age of 13. His parents who were separated (mother living in Toronto, father still in Germany) had a significant effect on his life, particularly his father who was in the Luftwaffe and helped encourage Droege' s ideological bent. According to various reports Droege did return to Germany in 1967 at the age of 17 where he began to attend secret meetings of pro-Nazi organizations. At the same time, he made contact with the white supremacist Western Guard. Droege's first brush with the law occurred in 1975 when he was nabbed painting white power graffiti along the route of an African Liberation Day march. This led to a conviction for Mischief, damage to property. Droege's first assault conviction wasn't far behind. The young racist slugged a persistent Toronto Sun reporter on the courthouse steps the same day he was found guilty in the vandalism case. The reporter was David Sommerville - now the president of the ultra-conservative National Citizens Coalition. Droege's criminal record has grown in the decades that followed and now is a litany of legal scrapes over everything from political violence to drug running. In one highly-publicized case Droege and Larry Jacklin, of Listowell, Ontario, (and eight American white supremacists and would-be mercenaries) were convicted in the United States of a conspiracy to overthrow the government of the Caribbean Island of Dominica. For that offence Droege was sentenced to three years in prison, but after an early release, Droege was busted again on drugs and weapons charges. All told, Droege was sentenced to thirteen years in prison in the United States and ended up serving six and a half. After being released from Lompoc Prison in the United States on April 21, 1989 Droege made his way back to Toronto. According to Canadian government intelligence reports, Droege arrived in Toronto with not a cent to his name. However, as a senior statesman of the extreme right movement, Droege was assisted in accommodation, food and shelter and almost immediately went to work as a part-time bailiff for Alan Overfield's bailiff Service. Interestingly, Alan Overfield was not only an old friend of Wolfgang Droege's but a one time associate of Don Andrews of the Nationalist Party. An avid gun collector, Allan Overfield has maintained close ties with key leaders on the extreme right and for a time he was even a spokesman for the Western Guard . He was also instrumental in the Heritage Front's abortive attempt to infiltrate the Reform Party. On November 16, 1992, Metro police raided Overfield's east Toronto home following a call to a domestic dispute. According to media reports, more than 50 weapons were seized, including an anti-tank rocket launcher, machine guns, assault rifles, semi-automatic handguns, bayonets, ammunition and grenades. At the time a startled police official claimed: "It [finding of weapons] was totally unnerving. It's very frightening.... you wouldn't stand much of a chance against this stuff...." One police officer noted that there was enough military weapons found in Overfield's home "...to start your own war". Incredibly Overfield had permits for all of the weapons and, although he was charged with unsafe storage, a plea bargain deal meant he was eventually allowed to keep the collection.. It was a few days after arriving in Toronto in April 1989 that Droege attended a "welcome home" gathering hosted by his old friend, Nationalist Party leader Don Andrews. There Droege met a couple of new arrivals on the scene - Gerry Lincoln and Grant Bristow and shortly thereafter the seed of an idea to create a new white supremacist organization sprouted. In September 1989 Droege and a number of his minions were invited to Tripoli, Libya to attend a 20th anniversary celebration of the Libyan revolution. It was on this trip that plans for a new type of white supremacist organization were crystalized. Among the white racists accompanying Droege on the trip were Gerry Lincoln, James Scott Dawson and Grant Bristow - the three would become the key organizers of the fledgling white supremacist group. Lincoln took on the role of propaganda chief, editing the new group's magazine, Up Front, Dawson filed legal papers and assisted in numerous small ways while the subsequently notorious Bristow - later revealed by the Toronto Sun to have been a paid informant for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service this whole time - took on security and membership duties. Upon their return from Tripoli, on September 25, 1989, the Heritage Front was actually formed. Ironically, while discussing potential names for this new organization - one individual suggested it be called Aryan Resistance Army - ARA . The irony, of course, is that today's ARA - Anti Racist Action - became the nemesis of the Heritage Front. The name was rejected and eventually Heritage Front was chosen. James Dawson registered the Front on October 2, 1989. Officially, the president was listed as Gerry Lincoln. The true aim of the Heritage Front was for it to function as a kind of ''umbrella organization" attempting to unite the fractious white supremacist movement not only in Toronto but eventually across the country. In fact, according to the Solicitor General's report The Heritage Front Affair: "It was Droege's eventual plan to purchase land in the Peterborough area, attempt to control the town council by electing Heritage Front representatives and thereby legislating racist views through township bylaws." Droege' s extensive network of connections were put to good use building the organization. In November of that year Ernst Zundel, one of the world's leading suppliers of Holocaust-denying materials, and a mentor to many neo-Nazis locally and internationally, asked Droege to provide security for British author David Irving. Irving, visiting Canada on one of his periodic North American book-selling tours, has become infamous for Holocaust denial. The following month, on December 8, 1990, the Heritage Front co-sponsored a Martyrs Day Rally, an annual event honoring "martyrs" to the white racist cause, especially Robert J. Mathews. Matthews, leader of the Aryan Nations terror cell, The Order, was killed in a shootout with U.S. officials in 1984. Droege was in a unique position among Canadian racists to honor Matthews Droege is widely believed to have been a member of The Order's outer circle in the mid-80's and claims to have met with Matthews just a few months before his death. Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has suggested that Droege was the advance man for an Order hit squad that had set its sights on Dees in 1984. But after spending most of the 80's behind bars, Droege seems to have abandoned his hopes for a violent race war and subsequent white racist rebellion which were the goals of the terror cell the Heritage Front was honoring that night in 1990. Amongst the other speakers that night were Aryan Nations "Ambassador" John Ross Taylor, a few up-and-coming racist skinheads, and Mississauga high school teacher, Paul Fromm. Skinhead George Burdi's band RaHoWa had something of a corning out at the rally as well. The night was filled with extreme racist rhetoric and overblown adolescent appeals to blood and honor. But the Front was able to claim success, having succeeded in bringing together about 70 very different types of white racists. It was a success that was to be repeated by Droege and the Heritage Front over and over again in the next three years. The early 1990's were boom years for the Heritage Front, especially when it came to recruiting disaffected youth. At its peak the Front boasted a contact list of 1,800, a magazine, Up Front that appeared bi-monthly and was seen by several thousand, and a membership that numbered in the low hundreds. Although their central core was much smaller, they were still able to pull out more than 200 people to several of their rallies during this period. By now, the tale of the Front's unraveling is well known. A sometimes vicious harassment campaign targeting anti- racists, managed by alleged CSIS mole Grant Bristow, helped raise the group's internal temperature to the point where they effectively could not be controlled. Several bloody clashes with radical anti-racist activists occurred, and key leaders - including Droege - found themselves fighting criminal assault charges. Meanwhile groups like the Canadian Jewish Congress prodded the federal government into action, filing Human Rights complaints against the Heritage Front over their telephone hate lines. The net result was that by late 1993 Droege and his core group were focusing all their energies on court and tribunal appearances - rather than managing and nurturing the largest white racist organization this country had seen since WW II. Inevitably it fell apart. Droege is now keeping a shell of the Front alive, the way some keep Cayrnan Island corporations breathing but dormant - you never know when you might need it. The Front's only real activities these days are the hotline, hosted by a Toronto woman, Joy Berke, and the odd Heritage Front Report - a photocopied shadow of the group's defunct magazine. Droege tells people he is focusing on earning a living again, and appears busy trying to recast himself in the role of a propagandist, or maybe eminence grise of the movement, modeling himself to some degree on two of his close associates, Ernst Zundel and Paul Fromm.
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