Newly unsealed court papers have shown how members of a far-right paramilitary group in the United States carried out acts of vandalism against synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin last year.
It follows an FBI investigation after neo-Nazi slogans and insignia were found daubed on synagogues last September. Several young men who were arrested later told agents that their efforts were dubbed ‘Operation Kristallnacht’.
The far-right group named in the court papers is called The Base, which recruits online, develops propaganda and organises paramilitary training in anticipation of what it believes is a forthcoming “race war”.
Authorities have named group member Richard Tobin from New Jersey as having coordinated the vandalism against a synagogue in Hancock in Michigan, which was painted with swastikas and SS symbols on 21 September 2018.
The following day, a synagogue in Racine in Wisconsin was daubed with an antisemitic slogan and the runic insignia of The Base, which reproduces symbolism “adopted by the Nazis after 1923 to memorialise members who died in Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch”.
Tobin is alleged to have told investigators that The Base had researched ways of making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and was training “to resist our people’s extinction, or the extinction of the white race”.
Just weeks after the two synagogues were defaced, 46-year old white supremacist Robert Bowers killed 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh having earlier posted a comment online about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in relation to the thousands of Central American migrants travelling to the US-Mexico border.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people,” Bowers is alleged to have written on social media platform Gab shortly before the attack. “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”