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3.2 The Recruits: Elizabeth Moore

For far too long neo-Nazi and hate groups have been
portrayed as being populated by uneducated street people
from the lower echelons of society. This is far from the
truth. Leaders such as George Burdi, Marc Lemire, Paul Fromm
and others appear to come from all walks of society and some
are very well educated.

The case of Elizabeth Moore a former Queen's University
student and a young woman who was to become one of the top
and rare female spokespersons for the Heritage Front is a
case in point:

ELIZABETH MOORE: HER STORY IN HER OWN WORDS
by Elizabeth Moore

Neo-Nazis in Canada are often viewed as working-class,
uneducated, under-privileged people_street-punks clearly on
the fringe of society. This stereotype allows us to ignore
them and to think "not in my backyard" or "not in my
school." While it may be true that some of them are crazy
punks, it is not true for all. I personally know, or know
of, an estimated 17 neo-Nazis that are either students of,
or alumnus of eight post-secondary institutions in Ontario.

I can't explain why these educated people were attracted to
the movement, for everyone has their own reasons. What I can
do is tell you my story from the time I was first attracted
to the time I left, and beyond, in hopes of explaining why
and how it is possible for your friends, neighbours, or
family to become racist extremists.

For a person to even be interested in joining a group like
the Heritage Front they must have a certain level of pre-
existing racism. And, admittedly, I was racist before I was
introduced to the group. Many people think that racism is
mostly learned at home, and for many it is. However, both my
parents are fairly liberal in this regard, so most of my
racism was learned at school. I had white friends who
complained bitterly about the "chinks" taking over our
neighborhood. But, I also experienced the other side of the
coin: I felt I was the victim of reverse racism. I was
called names, pushed into lockers, and intimidated in my
classes. At the time, I did not understand where my non-
white classmates' rage was coming from, so their abuse only
served to intensify the racism developing in me.

Five years ago, when I was in grade 12, I met a guy named
Hans. Hans was different from other people I knew. He was
German-born, for one, and a couple of years older than the
rest of the class. I helped him with his assignments because
he still had trouble with English grammar, and he, in turn,
slowly introduced me to National Socialism. Eventually, he
gave me a couple of flyers about the Heritage Front. He told
me that they were "the white man's answer to
muticulturalism." The flyers said they were a group of
ordinary men and women concerned about the future of Canada,
and persecuted by the Human Rights Commission for speaking
out.

When I explain why I joined, I always feel torn because I
want to believe I joined solely for political reasons:
concern about the future, about immigration, about freedom
of expression. But I realize now that that was only part of
it. That was what was going on in my head. But what made me
different from any other well-meaning, but ignorant,
citizen, was what was going on in my heart.

I had a lot of self-hatred, and resentment of not having
control of my life either at home or at school. For a long
time I internalized this negativity and felt that when I was
unfairly criticized they were right. What the Heritage Front
allowed me to do was to redirect the self hatred back out
and thereby feel better about myself. What better boost to
your self-esteem than to be told that you are a member of
the most supreme race on the planet! Suddenly, what my non-
white peers said to me didn't matter because they were "only
blacks" or the fact that the Chinese were changing my
neighborhood didn't matter because they would be deported
when "we" took control. Finally, I began to feel more
confident because I was not just sitting around and
complaining. I was actually doing something, even if it was
only reading propaganda material, and distributing flyers.

I was a willing recruit, but a slow recruit for them. For
several months all I did was send away for magazines and
talk on the phone with Wolfgang Droege. Occasionally I sent
money and distributed Heritage Front business cards.

However, that all changed when I wrote my first article for
the Heritage Front's magazine Up Front. Ironically, my
article was actually a criticism of a piece they published
by David Lane. Lane, a member of the notorious
racist/terrorist group The Order, is serving a life sentence
in the USA for the murder of a Jewish radio personality. He
wrote an article claiming that white women are corrupt and
seduced by power. He claimed that the only way to "get the
women back" was to reclaim them by force. I begged to
differ. Not knowing that he was famous in racist circles, I
assumed he was only a frustrated nineteen year old loser,
and ripped his argument to shreds.

My article quickly became the most controversial one the
Heritage Front ever published, and it also became the hook
that Wolfgang and other Front members used to pull me deeper
into the group. They worked on empowering me, by telling me
that I was better than my family, friends and teachers
because I was racially aware. They also congratulated me for
standing up to Lane. They constantly told racist jokes and
made racist remarks in order to saturate my conversations
with racist rhetoric.

They introduced me to Holocaust denial literature, which
came from 3 sources: Ernst Zundel, The Institute for
Historical Review in America, and, other Front members. For
example, Gerry Lincoln gave me and my boyfriend access to
videos in his extensive collection such as The Eternal Jew
and Triumph of the Will. Holocaust denial is important to
the movement because if a person is willing to believe that
one of the worst mass human rights abuses in the history of
the Western world was a hoax, dreamed up by the victims
themselves, that person is willing to believe just about
anything the movement's leaders tell them.

I quickly got hooked on the euphoria of hatred, the
empowerment, and the sense of belonging, which I never had
before. My attachment to the group grew so strong that I was
always willing to do more, regardless of the potential
costs, monetary or otherwise. By the time I was ready to
leave the group, I was "staff reporter" for Up Front, I ran
a telephone hateline, and I was a media spokesperson. I put
up flyers, made speeches, attended demos, infiltrated left
wing organizations, and public meetings, including one when
Bernie Farber, the National Director of Community Relations
for Canadian Jewish Congress, came to Queen's.

I basically lived the "Aryan Life," in which every action
was seen as a contribution to the betterment of the race.
This Aryan Life affected not only my political actions, but
also my taste in music, clothing, TV and movies, to name a
few. When I was ready to leave the group, my boyfriend, 90%
of my friends, all my thoughts, my hopes and dreams for the
future, were wrapped up in the Heritage Front.

The first time I had doubts was during the filming of Hearts
of Hate in the summer of 1994. Hearts of Hate: A Battle for
Young Minds was a documentary being filmed by independent
film-maker Peter Raymont. The Heritage Front saw it as an
ideal opportunity to get its message across --- or so it
thought. It was the first time I considered what others might
make of my views, and so I answered the producer's questions
carefully. At that time, I was also introduced to Eric
Geringas, the associate producer of the film. He was, as far
as I knew, a white guy in his late twenties. After my
defection I found out that he was Jewish. As I watched this
man work, I realized that he was actually a success. And I
also realized that maybe, just maybe, the future for us young
folk was not as bleak as the Front leadership led me to
believe. I started thinking that perhaps, if I worked hard,
there could be another future for me besides racist
extremism.

In September of '94, when I returned to school I had a
personal crisis in which I hurt people who were supposed to
be close to me. I also experienced backlash from the film,
since the Hearts of Hate crew filmed at Queen's University.
I decided to lay low for a while, and fade out of my
political life until I had the rest of my life under
control. However, I found that to be impossible. I had
telephone hateline commitments, and personal commitments to
my boyfriend and other racist friends.

By Thanksgiving of '94, everything started to unravel. Not
only did I have personal dissatisfaction with my life, I
also found out that I had been lied to by the Heritage Front
leadership. I was finally told that the flyers that got
Elisse Hategan charged for promoting hatred were actually
Heritage Front material. Elisse defected from the Heritage
Front about the time I became active. In order to get me in
they told me that they had nothing to do with flyers she
distributed that compared blacks to gorillas. The Front told
me that they had even tried to dissuade her from
distributing them! I realized that if they lied to me about
that, there must be other things they were keeping from me.
I began to see, with my own eyes how much violence played a
role in the group. And I also realized that they were not
willing to treat women equally, and that I was an anomaly to
them. Every other woman, except for Elisse Hategan, followed
their boyfriends in and wanted to do nothing more than
please them, and have many Aryan children.

With this new insight, I knew that I needed to do more than
just try to fade out. I needed to defect completely in order
to be free. I was afraid, and didn't know to whom to turn.
Fortunately in November '94 Bernie Farber was invited back
to Queen's to give a second talk about neo-Nazism in Canada.
Through Eric Geringas, I got in touch with Mr. Farber. After
his speech, which this time I didn't attend, we went out to
a cafe, and had a long, very agonizing conversation. He told
me I needed to stop doing the hateline, and break ties with
all my Nazi friends, including my boyfriend. At the time, I
didn't know if I could do it. He was asking me to give up
life as I knew it. And honestly, I didn't know if I could
trust him. I felt he had to have his own motives. After all,
he was the enemy who was trying to put my friends behind
bars.

After much soul searching, I decided to try and trust him. In
December '94, when I was in Toronto for Christmas vacation,
Mr. Farber invited me to his office for a chat. I had no idea
what this so called chat would entail. When I arrived he
asked me what my views were about the Holocaust. I was
shocked! Every Nazi in Ontario would give an arm and a leg to
be in the position to debate the Holocaust with the likes of
Bernie Farber. But I couldn't do it. Somehow, sitting in his
office in the CJC, my views, which I had promoted so
fiercely, seemed unreasonable and unbelievable. So, I didn't
respond to his question, I just gaped at him instead.

After what seemed like hours of him challenging my views, he
invited me to the Holocaust Memorial Center in his building.
The first thing he did was show me a wall of pictures of
people who had perished in the Holocaust. He pointed out a
picture of a woman with her smiling baby. It could have been
taken anywhere, just like pictures anyone would have in
their home. He said angrily, "That baby died in the gas
chambers of Auschwitz, now you tell me what he had to do
with any Jewish conspiracy." I couldn't respond, I couldn't
even look at him. Next we sat and watched an audio-visual
history of the Holocaust. As the images flashed across the
screen, I realized that it was not the Jews, nor the non-
whites ,who were sub-human - it was me. And as I sat there
beside Mr. Farber, I felt (I still can't find the right word
for it) I felt "non-human". I felt like complete trash, and
that I didn't deserve to live. After our meeting I said to
him, you know, the Jews fought to keep their humanity when
they had absolutely nothing, yet I had everything, and I
freely gave mine away. Mr. Farber nodded his head and said,
"Yes, but the beauty of humanity is that you can always get
it back." As I left the building, I was actually able to
smile to myself, because I knew that what he said was true,
and that I would get mine back. What I didn't realize was
just how hard that would be.

Five weeks after my meeting with Mr. Farber I had completely
severed my ties with the Heritage Front. I was free in body
but not in mind and still had a long way to go to recover
myself. Suddenly, I was confronted with the fact that I had
no identity. I had no idea who I was, where I was going, or
what I wanted out of life. I also had to contend with the
hatred that was still in me. This led to depression and even
suicidal feelings. Many times I felt that everything was
hopeless, that I could never fully recover, and that I would
never again feel as strong and self-assured as I did when I
was a Nazi. I also had to face returning to Toronto for the
summer with the realization that even though I had lived in
that city for 19 of my 22 years, I did not have one friend
left there. A year later that is still the case, and it is
perhaps that feeling of being a stranger in my childhood
home that upsets me the most about my situation.

Despite all of the negatives, not everything since I
defected has been bad. After the stress of final exams, and
going public had subsided, I suddenly realized that I could
do whatever I wanted. I could listen to whatever music, wear
any clothes, watch any shows or movies I wanted, and
decorate my place any way I pleased. I quickly took
advantage of this new freedom. For the first time, I sat
down and watched Seinfeld and enjoyed it immensely! I also
took courses at Queen's such as 'The Holocaust of European
Jewry 1933-45,' and I made a point of doing projects on
Native Canadians, and black women civil rights activists in
my other courses.

The most humbling experience since my trip through the
Holocaust memorial, happened the following summer when I
attended an international family reunion on my mother' s
side. My mother is of Mennonite descent, and many people at
the reunion were Old Order, and wore traditional religious
clothing. We all sat around and listened to stories about
our ancestors who settled in Ontario, and one woman got up
and explained that they came over from Switzerland, Germany,
and Russia from the 16th century to the 19th century to
escape religious persecution which included torture and
murder, state sanctioned or otherwise. It was then I
realized that hatred does not just affect the other guy, it
can affect us, any of us, at any time for almost any reason.
And it became clear to me that we are all equally human, and
that if one person is a victim of hate, we all suffer for
it.


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