Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canadian-jewish-congress/marches-to-modems/mtm-003-02 Last-Modified: 1997/03/30 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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