May 1, 1977 rally is scheduled

“For me to turn away was to turn them over again to the Nazis. This time we must do something to fight back.”

-- Rabbi Karl Weiner, as told to Reverend Phyllis Koehnline 

Mayor of Skokie, Albert J. Smith, meets with local Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant clergy asking them to inform their congregations about the possibility of the neo-Nazi (NSPA) rally and to assure them that the Village had plans in place to keep the event "quiet and under control."

Village officials intend to allow the rally on May 1, but to "quarantine" the group, ignoring them and going about business as usual, as suggested by the Anti-Defamation League. Soon it becomes clear that many Jewish Skokians want to take action and will not allow the NSPA rally to happen without opposition.

Listen to the recording of the Skokie Village Board meeting (4-25-1977): Ted Frosch reads Illinois Senate resolution  Full record

Skokie's lawyer (Corporation Counsel) Harvey Schwartz responds to the reading of the resolution and explains that the Village Board of Trustees will take appropriate action to try to prevent the NSPA rally.

Listen to the recording of the Skokie Village Board meeting (4-25-1977): Harvey Schwartz  Full record

Mayor Smith gives an impassioned speech during the board meeting and assures the community that he and the village government are “doing everything within our power to protect your best interests.”

Listen to the recording of the Skokie Village Board meeting (4-25-1977): President Smith  Full record

Excerpt from the published statement:

"Symbols have a power over the mind, and heart, and soul which comes not from their physical properties but from the heavy load which they carry of associations with events remembered and with values and aspirations that arouse the beholder... To the survivors of the concentration camps that very thought of brown shirts and swastikas on the streets of their community stirs up the memories of loved ones being driven to torture and destruction before their eyes... These men and women have rebuilt their lives and... [t]hese symbols loosen and elemental force in them which can sweep away the years of healing and renewal of hope."