Join Date: Nov 2005
Harold Covington Calls Ben Klassen a Jew
Harold Covington Calls Ben Klassen a Jew
Ben Klassen was a former Florida legislator who founded the Church of the Creator in 1973 and is the author of The White Man's Bible, Nature's Eternal Religion, and other books.
The section about Klassen in A Brief History of the White Nationalist Movement is called "The Strange Case of Benny Klassen." It is essentially a very heavily re-worked version of an article from the SPLC's Intelligence Report, Summer 1999, titled "A History." "The Strange Case of Benny Klassen" retains that article's format and much of its text but incorporates smears that had been published in Harold Covington's Resistance newsletter in the early1990s.
While the SPLC's "A History" concerns itself little with Klassen's life before the COTC, Covington's Brief History contains material, all of it defamatory, for the years 1948, 1966, and 1968. This material from the prehistory of the COTC was added to portray Klassen as a man with hidden Jewish origins. (This seems to be an adaptation of the true story of Harold Covington's own former associate, Frank Collin.)
The most noteworthy fact about Klassen prior to founding the Church of the Creator, that in 1955 he had invented an improved form of electric can-opener, marketed as Canolectric, is not even mentioned in this so-called history. It is not an obscure fact! There are several references to Klassen's can opener in online news archives. The Hartford Courant of 8 December 1957 mentions that Canolectric was developed by Klassen Enterprises, Inc. The Miami News of 28 July 1958 contains the following note about the product:
A new entry in the field of electric can openers is the Canolectric, made by Robbins & Myers, Inc., Memphis, Tenn., which claims that it is the only fully automatic can opener. It requires no manual piercing of the can lid or manual release of the cutting blade. You just push the button, says the firm, and that's all.
Instead of presenting verifiable information like this about Klassen's life before the COTC, the author of the Brief History confines himself to innuendos that Klassen was a Jew and had been prosecuted for fraud, none of which is documentable. The five claims and their refutations are as follows:
1. that Ben Klassen's country of birth is a great mystery, and that he has stated different dates and locations of his own birth on different occasions. No examples are given to support that claim. I found a newspaper item that somewhat addresses this alleged confusion about Klassen's country of origin:
Klassen, former Republican state representative from Pompano Beach, protested vigorously when the board denied his application to register for sale Palms and Pines Ranchos, a Collier County development.
This is consistent with what Klassen later wrote in his autobiography, Against the Evil Tide, as is evident even from the table of contents. A reporter for the Los Angeles Times had no difficulty putting the pieces together:
"I don't want to appear contentious," said Klassen. "But I have lived in four countries and I am a refugee from communism and the only nation I chose to live in was the United States. Jabbing his finger at his Constitution he continued, "I contend that when I can't sell my land due to some bureaucratic edict, my constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment have been abridge." ("Board Eyes All Isolated Land Sales," from the St. Petersburg Times, 2 November 1968.)
Ben Klassen was born in Ukraine to German-speaking Mennonite parents. His family, described in his books as "early victims of Jewish Communism," lived briefly in Mexico and then moved to Canada, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor of arts. In 1945, Klassen settled in the United States and became a citizen three years later. (Sarah Henry, "Marketing Hate", Los Angeles Times, 12 December 1993.)
2. that Klassen was indicted in 1948 along with several others (with Jewish names) for "mail fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and theft from interstate commerce by a Federal grand jury in New Orleans." The author admits however that he really knows of no such indictment when he says, "Details are sketchy." Grand jury indictments are a matter of public record, and it would have been reported in newspapers. A news archive search for 1947-1949 turns up nothing relevant.
3. that there was a "bankruptcy fraud probe" circa 1966 involving Klassen and two partners with Jewish names in an alleged Palm Beach real estate firm. If you do a Google News Archive search on the terms Klassen and Shapiro and Weinleben you will find absolutely nothing. Likewise for "SKW Realty" in the 1950s and 60s.
4. that Klassen's "religious affiliation is listed in the 1968 Florida State Government Who’s Who as Jewish." There is no book called the Florida State Government Who's Who. There is Who's Who in Government, and there is Florida Lives: The Sunshine State Who's Who. The title that Covington gives is one that nobody will be able to find on the reference shelf of any library.
5. that in 1968 Klassen was a member of “Jews for Wallace.”
Here is an article about a dispute between two factions of Wallace supporters, about who was really in charge of the Florida campaign. On one side, Miami realtor Thomas H. Hart, on the other side Dr. William Campbell Douglass and Ben Klassen. Douglass and Klassen were both members of the John Birch Society, which Hart apparently regarded as political poison. Since this article discusses the character and connections of the men on both sides of this dispute, you might expect "Jews for Wallace" to be mentioned, but it is not.
Vice-chairman of Dr. Douglass' Wallace organization is Ben Klassen, a Palm Beach Republican, the only member of the Florida Legislature to identify himself as a member of the John Birch Society. ("Wallace Men Feud in Florida," by Charles F. Hesser, from The Miami News, 7 December 1967.)
There is plenty of mention in old newspapers of Ben Klassen's involvement in the 1968 Wallace for President campaign, but no mention of "Jews for Wallace" anywhere.
The only curve in the state's new election law is that no more than 2458 signatures can come from any one county. And there must be petitions from at least 34 different counties in the state with a minimum of 61 signatures on them. But Broward County's Wallace chairman, Ben Klassen, has said this requirement can be easily met and will actually be an aide to Wallace workers in stimulating voter action. ( Wallace Builds Election Machine in Kirk County," from the St. Petersburg Times, 18 January 1968.)
So far as I can tell, not only is there no mention in the online newspaper archives of any connection between Ben Klassen and Jews for Wallace: the organization may have never existed. It certainly doesn't turn up in a newspaper archive search for the 1960s. In a Google Web search, it only appears in the context of this smear of Ben Klassen. Anybody can prove that to himself by doing a search on this term:
NO. 2 man on the Wallace-For-President Committee is former Rep. Ben Klassen, a Palm Beach Republican who lost out in an attempt to move from the House to the Senate. ("Wallace Supporters In State Gear For January," St. Petersburg Times, 6 December 1967.)
"Jews for Wallace" -Klassen
From all the books, all the newspapers, all the articles online, you will get zero results, which implies that "Jews for Wallace" probably never existed except as a fictional element in this attack on Ben Klassen.
Strong evidence that Covington himself invented "Jews for Wallace" can be derived through examination of how the Brief History differs from the SPLC's article. The first entry in the SPLC's chronology of the Church of the Creator, from which "The Strange Case of Benny Klassen" was rewritten, is dated 1973 and reads as follows:
1973 Be[r]nhardt "Ben" Klassen, a former Florida state legislator and state chairman of George Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign, announces the formation of the Church of the Creator (COTC) in Lighthouse Point, Fla.
(That happens to be slightly incorrect; Klassen was the vice-chairman for Florida and the chairman for Broward County.) In his COTC chronology, Harold Anonymous Covington has changed SPLC's sentence to this:
1973 - Benny Klassen, a former Florida state legislator and state chairman of "Jews for Wallace" during Wallace's 1968 presidential campaign, announces the formation of the Church of the Creator (COTC) in Lighthouse Point, Fla.
Covington, rewriting the SPLC's article, simply replaced "George" with "Jews for Wallace during" and replaced the respectful form of Klassen's name with the insulting diminutive, "Benny."* Since "Jews for Wallace" was not in Covington's source material, it is obvious that he invented it.
Origin of the Conflict
Klassen had a few words to say about Covington too while he was alive, although nothing so bizarre as what Covington has been promulgating about him. "Anatomy of a Hypocrite" from the March 1989 issue of Racial Loyalty can easily be found online.
From that essay one gets a hint of the basis of this conflict: Covington had tried to discourage Klassen from relocating to North Carolina because that was his own home state and he didn't want competition. This interpretation is confirmed in a letter written by Covington on 5 November 1992 wherein he complained that Will Williams was "trying to deliver the entire racialist movement in North Carolina to Old Benny Buttf-ck on a silver platter."
Following publication of "Anatomy of a Hypocrite," Covington retaliated by publishing highly imaginative libels against Ben Klassen and his right-hand man of the time, Will Williams, and subsequently against anybody (e.g., William Pierce, Tom Metzger) that seemed to be other than hostile toward them.
Calling somebody that stands up for the White race a Jew is a traditional method of trying to undermine that person's support. They did it to Adolf Hitler. It wasn't true in Hitler's case (as DNA testing now confirms) and Harold Covington pretty clearly didn't have any evidence that it was true in Klassen's. It was just an unscrupulous way of attacking him.
*Covington also does this to his younger brother Benjamin Covington for whom he seems to have considerable disdain, referring to him as Benjie.