The conviction and lynching of Leo Frank a century ago galvanized the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. Today, the centenary of Frank’s murder trial is galvanizing neo-Nazis.
A slew of anti-Semitic websites, some professionally designed and purporting to be balanced online archives with URLs like leofrank.info and leofrank.org, are seeking to attract curious researchers and to revise history.
“This is an attempt to reach the minds of young people and poison them,” said Mark Potok, editor-in-chief of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report.
Leo Frank was convicted of the murder of 13-yearold Mary Phagan in Atlanta in 1913. Two years later, after his death sentence was reduced to life in prison, a group of men kidnapped Frank from prison and lynched him.
Frank has been a Jewish cause célèbre ever since, with many journalists and scholars questioning his guilt. “To discredit Leo Frank’s story is in some ways to really take on the Jews,” Potok said.
Neo-Nazis are discussing Frank’s case vociferously online. A Frank Facebook](https://www.facebook.com/leofrankcase) page links to neo-Nazi sites. The American Mercury, H.L. Mencken’s historic magazine, resurrected online by neo-Nazis several years ago, has published several revisionist articles to coincide with this year’s anniversary.
It is impossible to say who is behind most of the neo-Nazi websites because they are registered anonymously. Their Web hosts, citing privacy rules, refuse to divulge the identities of their owners.
But one site did not hide its origins. Leofrank.info is registered to Kevin Strom of Charlottesville, Va. Strom is a well-known neo-Nazi who had significant clout and influence on the American white supremacist scene until a few years ago, when he was convicted of possessing child pornography.
Today, Strom publishes the racist National Vanguard online magazine. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Strom is “arguably the only true intellectual remaining in the American neo-Nazi movement following the 2002 death of National Alliance founder William Pierce.”
In response to the Forward’s inquiry about Strom, the Anti-Defamation League said it believes he is behind at least four anti-Semitic Leo Frank sites.