by Robert Frenz, 17 November 2000
It was a Sunday morning in the early part of the year 1967. I had a nice apartment, an expensive piano on which I practiced daily and a new Cougar parked next to my 1959 Corvette and 1939 Chevrolet coupe "street rod". Racing trophies adorned the bookcases and my desk at the company held several uncashed pay checks. I was dating Ruth who "loved" me because of my generous salary and Ronnie who loved me because I read more than one book. There was also Diana who wanted to use me as a stepping stone in an anticipated divorce and Bertha, the 62 year old sex goddess who loved my "arms." I confined these encounters to picnics and movies for any further involvement would have invited disaster. Once asked why I avoided any sampling of her "goodies" I replied, "What if I liked it? I would then probably seek more and I have no intent upon getting hooked on someone I wouldn't marry."
Be that as it may, the phone rang long enough to wake me up. "Mr. Frenz," queried the voice, "this is George Lincoln Rockwell and I would like to talk with you. I laughed at the cartoons you drew which I received from a comrade." The talk was brief and we set a date for my visit to "hate headquarters" in Arlington Virginia.
On Monday, I requested, and received, from my employer a short leave of absence and so the Cougar was stuffed with my best pair of socks and a fistful of toiletries.
I purchased the Cougar in October 1966 as a result of an emotional urge. I had intended to buy a Camaro but Ruth, always with her eye on a Lincoln, coaxed me in to going to such an agency. I was amazed at the price the dealer presented on a Cougar and it appeared that he was eager to be the first to unload this new model from Mercury. I came back the next day with the cash and drove away in that aqua Cougar with a black interior. I was disappointed in its performance and although it was 9 cu.in. larger than the fabulous Chevrolet 283 V8, dynamometer readings showed it deficient by about 40 horsepower. I was nearing the end of my street rodding days and settled upon having the most comfortable seats I had ever experienced. I finally junked this faithful favorite after 232,100 miles of "no worries" continental travel.
It was about 2 A.M. when I drove up the steep winding dirt road which led to Rockwell's house situated on a hill top. About halfway up, I stopped due to a large chain stretched across the way sporting a sign which read "Trespassers will be shot." No sooner than my car came to a standstill, I heard the sharp slap of a rifle's bolt being readied. The cold of a gun barrel was immediately noticed as it pressed on my ear. "Who are you and what do you want?," spouted the voice coming from the dark. I complied by identifying myself and explaining that it was I who was summoned. I was escorted to a parking place under a tree and beckoned to follow on foot.
We entered the front door of the old decaying mansion where I was introduced to Commander Rockwell and then escorted to a bedroom where I was to spend the night. I popped into the cot and fell asleep quickly only to be awakened by a clap of thunder. It was to be one of those southern downpours I had experienced decades before while stationed at Camp Pickett, Virginia (17th Airborne). True to my never-ending and peculiar "luck", the only place the roof leaked was directly over my bed. I was quickly drenched before I was alert enough to move the cot.
Morning came and the large table was set for breakfast – bacon, coffee, toast and eggs. Rockwell zipped off to do something or the other and I spent an hour or so talking to the various "soldiers" who decorated the premises. While sniffing some elder flowers which grew in the back, a fellow yelled that Rockwell would talk with me now and I should go directly to his office, upstairs, which served as his bedroom after dark. I entered the house and before I could complete the first two steps of the stairway, I was stopped by the order, "Halt."
"Where do you think you are going?," hollered Matt Koehl.
"To see Rockwell as he directed," I explained.
"We are National Socialists here and we are compelled to follow the chain of command. You'll have to be interviewed by me before I make a decision on whether you can see Commander Rockwell."
I, still dead in my tracks, had little chance to comply since Rockwell was then leaning over the bannister and issued, "Let him pass." I briskly gobbled up the steps by taking two at a time. Just before I entered the room, I stooped to pick up a book which had no print on the pages. After being introduced to Barbara, Rockwell's sleep-in secretary, my first question was about the odd book I had picked up. Rockwell explained that it was only a proof to check if the binding machinery was operating correctly. "Shucks," I said, "I thought it was a history of negro achievements."
Rockwell fell off the bed in riotous laughter and Barbara giggled to such an extent that her breasts appeared to be imitating the cadence of Rockwell's guffaws with their enticing and elastic movements. "It's a great idea," he said and later on he published a neat little booklet with that title.
He said that I had a gift for spotting the humorous and with a good ability in drawing cartoons, he would like me to join him as a part of the "hate" staff. (My ability was dwarfed by that of John Patler – Patolous, I believe.) I was complimented but replied that it would take some long thinking on my part. Life was good, very good back in New York.
Later in the day, after watching the men use Barbra Streisand's picture as the focus of rifle practice, Rockwell approached me saying he had some errands to do and would I mind driving him about. This gave us a chance to become acquainted and we stopped at a dozen stores or so to pick up various bits of hardware for some project he had in mind. At one stoplight, he leaned out the window and looked intently upon three Negroes who were standing next to a hydrant. "God, but they're ugly," he stated. "Those poor souls just don't fit in a White society and when we come to power, one of the first tasks will be to ship them back to Africa where they can live happily among their own kind. Once we strip the Jews of their power, we'll offer them a choice: stay in the U.S. under White rule or go to that island of wailing, Israel."
I listened and relaxed my foot pressure on the brake and while we moved through the intersection he continued, "After that, we must turn our efforts in the direction of our race. It needs to be pruned, and pruned very severely, because it is being choked to death by White trash."
The afternoon passed, supper was simple and I spent the closing hours of the day conversing and exploring. It seemed that Matt Koehl spent all of his time reading Mein Kampf and nothing else. It reminded me of the ministers I have encountered who read nothing but the Bible and remained ignorant of everything else in the world. Mr. Koehl even punctuated his focus by growing a Hitler-like moustache but his burnt-cork eyes would never match the deep blue of Hitler's. I never saw him again during my brief stay since he appeared to prefer the isolation of his office/bedroom.
The next morning Rockwell gave me directions to the home of William Pierce the then editor of the National Socialist World – the 'cherries jubilee' of his publications. At the moment I cannot recall where I went but I must have found it since I did visit the former physics professor.
Dr. Pierce welcomed me and introduced me to his wife and two young sons. The house was neat and orderly and his sons were extremely well behaved. We talked a bit in the backyard and I remain convinced that he wasn't too pleased with my lay back approach to the world's problems. Serious people can laugh too, can't they?
I felt I received an "F" during that interview, and Dr. Pierce remained very cordial, and his wife prepared an excellent supper meal. I slept soundly in the comfortable room which was placed at my disposal and after a generous breakfast, I bid my hosts farewell and "put the pedal to the metal" and pointed my comfortable Cougar in the direction of Lake Ontario.
I spent a considerable amount of time pondering Rockwell's offer and although realizing that the White race was in serious difficulty, I questioned his timing.
The weeks added and I only entered one car race that season and saw Ruth only once since I was an avid swimmer and she shunned the outdoors – bugs and all of that, you know.
Earlier in 1966, I and an old Civil War buff and friend, Clyde, often talked about racial matters and specifically the American Nazi Party. We planned a trip to Chicago where Rockwell and his crew were to stage a demonstration at, and subsequent march from, Marquette Park. In those days, it was faddish for Black folks to march through White neighborhoods and so Rockwell decided to have a White march through a Black neighborhood.
I had recently picked up a 1958 Chevrolet for a few dollars and thought that it would be a better transportation choice than my new Chevy Impala convertible, considering that a riot might break out. I knew the neighborhood well since my University of Chicago days. Sleeping in the spacious '58 Chevy afforded no discomfort and so we were prepared for the march. We went to the appointed address and there I met Rockwell for the first time where he promptly put us to work silk-screening White Power T-shirts.
We arrived at Marquette Park only to find Mr. Rockwell being loaded into a police paddy wagon. Someone decided that with or without him, the march would take place – all the way to Gage Park. Off we went, hundreds upon hundreds of us, although the "news" reported "only a handful." We walked though basically Polish type neighborhoods and often the residents came out to whisper "Give them hell." What seemed like an army of police guarded our flanks and soon we noticed that the clean, flower decorated and freshly painted homes suddenly disappeared after walking through an underpass. The houses now began to look like something after a bombing raid – no grass, no flowers, no clean paint, just standing rubble. The denizens also took on a very much darker hue. There it was in spades! It's not the homes, for they were all on the same street and approximately the same age, but who lived in those homes who were responsible for the appearance and condition. Estonian meant clean and neat. Negro meant filth and cluttered.
Words were hurled at us along with potatoes stuffed with razor blades. A can of urine sailed overhead luckily missing us with its spray. I heard the sound of a policeman's billy soundly meeting the skull of one Black man intent upon assault. It reminded me of the noise dad's hammer made when he cracked open a coconut.
The march ended will little serious incident and before we could join the Rockwell crew, a policeman stepped over to me and said, "We're with you." We gathered our vehicles and proceeded to the "loop" and the nearby auditorium where Rockwell was to give his speech. On the way, Clyde and myself, together with four uniformed "storm troopers," entered a delicatessen for supper – the speech was scheduled for 7:00 P.M. I was surprised at how long it took those "anti-Semites" to discover that the eatery they had chosen was run by a member of the kosher klan. One fellow refused to eat and the others only nibbled while glaring at the negress who serviced our table. Clyde and I ate well.
The police released Rockwell after the riot potential had diminished and while we waited outside the auditorium, we sold dozens of White Power posters and T-shirts. Again, I was surprised when I noted that the majority of our customers were Black. I have nothing personal against Black people. I do get quite irritated with their behavior and their interests are definitely not served by insisting that they be integrated into a White society.
Rockwell gave one of his greatest moving speeches and that is something no "leader" since has been able to duplicate. After the applause, we slipped south, slept in the car briefly and returned to Horseheads.
I was standing in Art's garage, August 25, 1967, when the radio announced Rockwell's assassination. My mouth, apparently uncontrolled for a moment, shouted "Patler did it." I had observed this swarthy little Greek on several occasions with generous bits of green jealousy in his dark eyes. Rockwell always commanded the attention of massive numbers of good looking women and I mentioned to several others that I felt Patler envied him for it. Anyway, I left the next day to attend the funeral which was to be at the Arlington National Cemetery. I hold weddings, funerals and such with respect and I was appalled at the way Rockwell's "trusted" used this opportunity, in a disgusting fashion, to create a confrontation. This was supposed to be a funeral for a beloved man, not a political sideshow. The hearse drove up to the gate decorated with a swastika made of roses. Mark this: here is a cemetery for American war dead and those clowns were prepared to crash through with a hearse bearing the standard of a former enemy! There promised to be a small riot and the vultures of the press were there by the flock. I mounted the top of a fence and shouted some emotional bits of nonsense whereupon a Major ordered me to leave the military property. I followed his orders since he had right on his side. I was pulled aside by a cackling female reporter for the Chicago whatever and was made the object of a taped interview. I am sure I did no credit to myself nor the White race.
The stand off continued until the Nazis withdrew. A ceremony was held at the Rockwell home of which I attended with about twenty others.
The following day, reporters were all over the place gathering up whatever bits of gossip they would be able to decorate and rework. I was standing at the bottom of the hill when Dan Rather walked up and asked if I knew if anyone "significant" was in the house. I said yes and he motioned to his flunky, who was carrying what appeared to be a hundred pounds of video gear, to follow him up the hill to the house. Later on, I learned that Matt was not there and that the "troopers" had told Rather that he went to the small plaza where Rockwell was gunned down. Rather passed by me again and asked if I had seem Koehl, I said I thought I just saw him go back to the house. Rather about-faced and went back up the hill only to be "bounced" back again. He then apparently caught on that he was being made a fool of and so disappeared from my sight, panting and perspiring heavily. About the same time, a pretty young woman approached me asking if that was the house Rockwell lived in. I answered in the affirmative and she responded, "He must have been a great man. I understand he had several children." So much for a woman's evaluation of political matters.
Another episode had passed.
I received a flier in the mail announcing a "Nazi picnic" which was to take place in the Washington DC area. I asked Clyde if he would like to go and he replied by shaking his head from side to side. He then pointed to his wife Carol and said, "Go ahead and take this bitch. She's a good Nazi." I looked at Carol, who had tears in her eyes, and wondered. She smiled and said she'd love to go. "Take her," again remarked Clyde.
Carol was a very pretty blue-eyed blonde, "stacked" as they say, and very pro-White. During the drive south, I was a bit taken back by her intelligence and manner. Why would such a woman marry Clyde?, I asked myself, for the two seemed about as miscible as oil and water. The hours passed quickly and I found her to be an exceptionally bright companion. I had noticed her in the past being ridiculed by the man who at some point must have believed he was in love with but somewhere along the line decided she would make a better whipping boy.
The day was hot and the time passed quickly but arrival at the park we did manage. I had sent in the $40 for the weenies, salad and drinks which were to comprise the picnic fare. We finally located the tables where the Nazi outing was to occur.
The grills were being set up and the new Führer, Matt Koehl, was giving directions. "We are National Socialists and we must exercise before we eat." He then outlined a vigorous hike trough the hills and dales of the park.
On the last leg of the hike, which was a rock studded area, we had to leap from rock to rock in order to transverse the distance. Carol slipped and twisted her ankle. After a short rest and a slight massage, we resumed with Carol hanging on to my arm. It was slow but we did find our way back noticing that all of these National Socialist "brothers" tarried not one second on our behalf.
When we arrived at the picnic spot, hardly one crumb of food was left. I enquired because the image of that $40 check was still in my mind. Matt replied, "We are National Socialists and accordingly we support the survival of the fittest. You were unfit since you didn't return on time and therefore you don't eat."
I was overwhelmed by his understanding, consideration and generosity. Carol's ankle was much worse by then and I had to carry her to the car. We departed only stopping off briefly for some sandwiches somewhere north of Scranton. In those days, I could drive cross country, without sleep, and make it in about 46 hours from Portland Oregon, so zipping back to Syracuse from Arlington was not much of a problem.
We arrived at Carol's house and I didn't want to leave her alone with an ankle which might prove to be more troublesome. She refused an offer to see old Doc Manchester and my quandary was solved when a neighbor knocked and informed us that Clyde was in the hospital. Apparently he was drinking, smoking and loading black powder cartridges all at the same time. Circumstance dictated that a spark from the cigarette should drop into the can of powder and get friendly. The neighbor remarked that she thought something was amiss when she heard an explosion. Clyde managed to blow himself through the side wall of his house thus explaining why, when I visited him in the hospital, he looked like a plaster of Paris cocoon.
Carol, I was told, left Clyde and ran off with another who I was told made Clyde look like St. Francis. It's another enigma. Every time someone casts of one spouse, they usually pick up with someone worse. My last contact was via a short note, with no return address, which read," Why do I always fall for bastards? Carol."
That ended my brief experience with American "Nazis", who act out in typical Hollywood fashion. It wasn't until years later that I met real, honest-to-goodness German ex-Nazis which completely reversed the sour taste Matt Koehl had left in my mouth. Rockwell was of another cut and he recognized that fact. One of his last remarks to me was, "Look at those around me. Not one understands what this is really about. I really do not have much to work with. There are thousands of good men out there. How do I reach them?"
A leader does not reach out for supporters. When the winds of change lay the ground work, people in need will seek out their leader. There will be no revolution before its time.