Holocaust Museum Killer Had Links to German Neo-Nazis

James von Brunn, the American white supremacist charged with shooting a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, had ties with a prominent German neo-Nazi. In an e-mail to notorious lawyer Horst Mahler, he called hate "natural, normal and necessary."

James von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist who killed a security guard at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum had links with German right-wing extremists.

Among his contacts was Horst Mahler, an infamous far-right extremist who for a time served as a lawyer for the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD). Von Brunn once wrote to Mahler: "If you don't hate that which seeks to destroy you…you yourself will be destroyed." He added that "compassionate nations" would "die."

Mahler, who has been in and out of jail for his extremist views, most famously for greeting a Jewish journalist with "Heil Hitler," responded to von Brunn's e-mail, arguing: "Hate… blinds you to possibilities to destroy the enemy."

Aside from his links with Mahler, von Brunn had also voiced support for the notorious Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, who is currently serving time in a German prison for incitement to racial hatred. "Free Ernst Zündel, a great man," he wrote.

In a recent blog posting, von Brunn railed against America, calling the country "a Third-World racial garbage-dump -- stupid, ignorant, dead-broke, and terminal."

Von Brunn's hate was tragically put into practice last week when he shot dead 39-year-old security guard Stephen T. Johns at Washington's Holocaust Museum. The elderly man shot the security guard with a vintage rifle last Wednesday after Johns opened the door for him. Von Brunn was then shot in the face when other museum guards returned fire. He is expected to survive his injuries. On Saturday government lawyers told court officials that von Brunn was "in critical, but stable condition."

The museum, a memorial to the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust, is located near many of Washington's monuments.

Von Brunn's son Erik on Sunday spoke out about the tragedy: "I cannot express enough how deeply sorry I am it was Mr. Johns and not my father who lost his life," Erik von Brunn told The Washington Post. He said that his father's extremist views were always part of his life but that he had never insisted that his son share those views.

jas/spiegel