June 20, 1977 Village Board of Trustees Meeting
During the June 20, 1977 Skokie Village Board of Trustees meeting, many Skokie residents speak out against the neo-Nazis and the possibility of a National Socialist Party of America (NSPA) rally on July 4.
Listen to excerpts from recordings of the Village of Skokie board meetings:
Ruth Schaffner, a 21-year resident of Skokie, congratulates the Village government for their actions related to the attempted NSPA march and speaks out against prejudice. Allowing the neo-Nazis to come to Skokie on July 4th, she says, "is not a matter of free speech, it is a matter of permitting a party to march in Nazi uniforms with swastikas and distributing hate literature and undermining our very existence."
Former Village Trustee, Ed Fleischman and member of the Jewish War Veterans says that, "In the event that our legal processes do not keep [the neo-Nazis] out... we must recognize that the objective of these people in coming here is to get publicity." He subscribes to the policy of giving the neo-Nazis the "silent treatment," which will demonstrate their impotence.
Trustee Morris Topol responds to Ed Fleischman's remarks and expresses confidence that the three ordinances will prevent the march from occurring. He expresses thanks and admiration to Skokie's lawyer, Harvey Schwartz, and his assistants.
Skokie resident Luda Beck says, "[T]o many of us [the Holocaust] isn't just statistics. 'Cause many of us have lost our loved ones and when we look through our albums and we see some of the young people that were cut down by the Nazis, we don't want them here; we don't want it repeated."
She insists that the Village government do what they can to prevent the NSPA from coming to Skokie.
An unidentified speaker asks if Skokie officials know that Meier Kahane, of the Jewish Defense League, is planning to come to Skokie to demonstrate against the NSPA rally and states that there is little that the Village officials can do to stop people from coming to Skokie to counter-demonstrate.
Mayor Albert J. Smith responds to the previous speaker regarding asking members of the press to limit their coverage of the rally by saying that reporters feel that they are obliged to report the news and thus cannot be prevented from covering the event.
An unidentified Trustee mentions Jack Mabley's column ("Skokie's best tack: Ignore the Nazis," Chicago Tribune, June 17, 1977, p. 4), which also states that the media shouldn't publicize the march. The initial speaker replies, reinforcing his previous position. Smith says that Village officials will continue to seek cooperation from members of the press.
Twelve-year-old Skokie resident, Jack Israel, tells officials to prevent the neo-Nazi rally in Skokie under any circumstances says that, "the [First] Amendment says 'freedom of speech,' not 'freedom to spread hatred against minorities.'"
Nathan Schaffner refers to a national neo-Nazi convention that is planned in Chicago on July 4. He says the NSPA persist in their efforts to come to Skokie to "show their might." He also refers to Jack Israel's previous speech. He asserts that Skokie has over 7,000 refugees from the Holocaust and that Collin's July 4 demonstration must be prevented.