"I have been reading your amazing blog and listening to some of your podcasts with Carolyn. Not sure how I haven't run across your work before. Amazing stuff." (reader's comment, 10 May 2016)
Come chat with us! Download and install an IRC-client -- Hexchat is recommended -- and go to the channel #National-Socialism on the Undernet server.

14 October 2014

Matt Koehl, 1935-2014

Matt Koehl
The web-site of Matt Koehl's organization, New Order, reports that he passed away during the night of 9-10 October 2014.

Matthias Koehl, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, the son of ethnic German parents (his father an immigrant from Hungary). Although his family seems to have been devoutly Christian (his mother being a Sunday-school teacher and his siblings both having Biblical names) he stopped attending church at age 16. As a young man he was involved with the National Renaissance Party, then the National States' Rights Party, before joining George Lincoln Rockwell's organization in 1960. He became the leader of the Chicago unit, then was transferred to headquarters in Arlington, where he was Rockwell's research-director. It was Koehl who uncovered the fact that some ostensible images of gassed Jews really showed German victims of Allied bombing, as Rockwell indicated in his interview for Playboy in 1966. Koehl was then appointed Deputy-Commander, and upon Rockwell's death in 1967 Koehl assumed the position of Commander of the National-Socialist White People's Party, but was openly diffident about being able to fill Rockwell's shoes: "I don't know of anyone who can fill his shoes. We cannot talk in terms of a successor to Commander Rockwell. But we'll all do everything we can to carry on." 

Matt Koehl, on the verge of being arrested while giving a speech in Boston, October 1974
I became aware of Matt Koehl about 1984 when he appeared on a syndicated interview-show called Face to Face with Martin Caidin. 

At the time, I claimed libertarianism as my ideology, because libertarianism seemed to me at the time the best option for opposing racial problems that had been created by the government. Part of libertarianism, however, is the idea of the free marketplace of ideas. Let all ideas be heard and the good ideas will defeat the bad ones.

I was eager to hear Matt Koehl explain how he could be a "Nazi," which is how Martin Caidin had labeled him. I wanted to know how Koehl came to such a position, which seemed incomprehensible according to everything that I knew at the time.

The problem was, Martin Caidin would not let Matt Koehl speak. The whole show consisted of Caidin berating Koehl. This bothered me so much that I wrote a letter to the production company and complained about it. I said that Caidin had made me feel sorry for the "Nazi."

The show made a permanent impression on me that changed the course of my life. According to libertarian thinking, if an idea like Koehl's has to be suppressed -- if the people can't be allowed to hear it -- then there must be something good about it. And those who are so determined to suppress that idea must have something to hide.

Gradually I noticed that the suppression of Matt Koehl's idea on that show was not unique. I noticed that the available information about national-socialist ideas and history always included hostile moralizing, similar to Martin Caidin's berating of Matt Koehl, with the obvious purpose of making sure that nobody would consider that there might be something good about it. I also noticed that criticism of Jews from whatever source was aggressively suppressed, which made me wonder if Jews really did exercise greater power in the USA than most people were willing to say. I already had an explanation for why they would be unwilling to say it -- because they would get the same kind of nasty treatment as Martin Caidin gave to Matt Koehl, or worse. The treatment of Matt Koehl in that so-called interview made me aware that there must be a whole other side of the story that I wasn't supposed to get.

I understand that there are legitimate criticisms of Koehl as George Lincoln Rockwell's successor. Koehl did not continue to advance the NSWPP on the course that Rockwell had projected. Instead, as Dr. William Pierce complained, the NSWPP under Matt Koehl lapsed back into phase I of Rockwell's four-phase plan, which consisted of uniformed public appearances for the purpose of attracting the attention of mass-media, in keeping with Koehl's martial background as a Marine and trainer of the National Renaissance Party's security force before he met Rockwell. Then in the early 1980s, Koehl changed the name of the National-Socialist White People's Party to the New Order, and changed its orientation to Hitlerism as a religion, reflecting an impulse that Koehl had inherited as the scion of a strongly religious family. It is evident that Koehl did not have the right kind of personality to continue what Rockwell had started, on the course that Rockwell had intended.

Nonetheless, Matt Koehl is a significant figure for me, because of that one TV appearance circa 1984. Matt Koehl's exposure of the fact that national-socialism was the one ideology that was not allowed free expression started me on the course that led to my being a national-socialist today (without the uniformed theatrics).

Hadding Scott

For refutation of some nasty rumors about Koehl, see my article, "Rick Cooper's 'Brief History' and the Defamation of Matt Koehl."


Anonymous said...


Hadding said...

I listened to that interview of the two NSWPP oldtimers with Deanna Spingola. I think what they said about Patler-Patsalos was not entirely correct. He did not get leniency from the judge nor from the penal system: it was the jury that recommended only a 20-year sentence, and once the jury had made that recommendation, the judge's hands were tied. UPI reported that Patler-Patsalos was paroled after serving 8 years. Parole after serving one-third of the sentence is typical for a well-behaved inmate in Virginia. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19750823&id=oK8zAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IjIHAAAAIBAJ&pg=5377,4984747

I have also read that Patler-Patsalos violated parole and had to go back to prison, but as I understand this was later.

Titus said...

The controversy after Rockwell’s death wasn’t limited to the disposition of his remains. It soon spilled over into the trial of his alleged murderer. Following psychiatric evaluation, John Patler was judged competent to stand trial. Unsurprisingly, he pleaded not guilty at his preliminary hearing, but on September 29, 1967, Patler was bound over by a grand jury on the charge of first degree homicide. His trial began on November 27 amid tight security at the Arlington County Courthouse. On December 15, Patler was found guilty and released on bond to await sentencing. On February 23, 1968, Patler was sentenced to 20 years in prison – at that time the least punishment possible for a first degree murder conviction. The Virginia Circuit Court postponed imprisonment pending his appeal.

It was apparent to those observing the trial that the case against Patler was a weak and purely circumstantial one; even the presiding judge later expressed surprise at the jury’s guilty verdict. The prosecution failed to conclusively link Patler to any of the physical evidence, was unable to place him at the crime scene and did not present a clear motive for the crime. His lawyers filed a 66-page petition asking the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to overturn the guilty verdict based on 30 separate arguments. Perhaps the most telling point was that “only people in the Nazi headquarters knew that Rockwell was going to the shopping center where he was shot and that Rockwell had been gone only for an 8-10 minute period before the shooting occurred.” By the summer of 1968, the NSWPP had disintegrated and many former members suspected either the current leadership under Matthias Koehl or other elements within the party of having murdered Rockwell, either with or without the complicity of Patler. Flyers appeared throughout Arlington offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Koehl for Rockwell’s murder. To further complicate matters, on September 10, 1969, an Arlington Circuit Court jury awarded Patler $15,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from NSWPP member Robert A. Lloyd for lying under oath. At the murder trial, Lloyd had testified that Patler had stolen from him the gun used to kill Rockwell. Additionally, an attempt was made on the life of a defense witness who placed the murder weapon not in Patler’s possession, but at NSWPP headquarters.

Titus said...

Patler spent 1968, 1969 and most of 1970 free on bond and waiting for the results of his appeal. He garnered additional headlines when he began publishing a Spanish-language newspaper that championed the cause of Central American immigrants to the United States. On November 30, 1970, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld Patler’s conviction and 20-year sentence for murdering Rockwell and ordered him to begin serving his sentence. On May 16, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected Patler’s appeal based on claims of witness contamination. In late August 1975, Patler was paroled for the first time from the Pulaski correctional unit after serving 6 years of his 20-year sentence. The following summer, however, he violated the terms of his parole (possession of marijuana and participation in an orgy) and was returned to prison for an additional six years. On December 30, 1977 Patler petitioned the Henry County Circuit Court to change his surname back to its original form, Patsalos. He claimed to have seen the error of his ways and wished to return to his pre-American Nazi Party identity. On October 6, 1978, Patler was paroled after serving approximately 8½ years of his 20-year sentence. He completed his parole in Virginia and then returned home to the New York City area where he has lived a quiet life under his original surname of Patsalos. The family name earned additional ill-repute in 1996 when his younger brother Christ George Patsalos (aka C. George Sparta) was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend Ava Marie DeHart in 1982 and hiding her body in an Orange County (Virginia) well. The younger Patsalos was sentenced to life without parole and died in prison on January 24, 2006.

Hadding said...

Well, Titus, I wonder where you get all this stuff. I have written about the murder of George Lincoln Rockwell and the case against Patsalos seems quite strong, more than circumstantial since he was seen on the roof of the laundromat at the time of the killing, and had borrowed the murder-weapon from another member of the ANP, and had fired bullets from the weapon into a tree on his father-in-law's property.

I have never seen in newspaper-archives the claim that the judge was surprised at the guilty-verdict. The fact that Patsalos got only a 20-year sentence is because that was what the jury that convicted him had recommended, and the judge was not allowed to exceed that.

There are a few people who claim that there were co-conspirators -- which seems crazy enough in itself, since Patsalos didn't even have a getaway car but was arrested waiting for a bus -- but almost nobody claims that Patsalos did not shoot Rockwell.