After a Boulder, Colorado high school student took his own life, police found a neo-Nazi chat group that involved him and more than a dozen other students.
“You can hang Jews on trees, shoot them right in the knees. Gas as many as you please,” wrote one commenter on the Facebook conversation, titled “4th Reich Official Group Chat,” a reference to Nazi Germany’s Third Reich. According to Boulder’s Daily Camera news site, the students also celebrated “white power” and called for the murder of African-Americans.
Police learned of the group after the September suicide of its ringleader, who according to police reports attended Boulder Preparatory High School and took his own life “to show his allegiance to the Nazi party and the killing of Jewish people.” It remains unclear if he was himself Jewish, and none of the students involved have been identified because they were minors.
According to law enforcement, up to 15 students, attending different high schools in the area, participated in the group chat. As of the Daily Camera’s Tuesday report, at least five of them had been expelled from school, though the police have announced that no charges will be filed. The police learned of the group from a concerned parent.
This presidential election has seen the growing popularity of the “alt-right,” the contemporary white supremacist movement that is backing Donald Trump and has incorporated anti-Semitic appeals into its rhetoric. Much of the movement’s energy comes from online, where hate sites like the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer draw millions of unique visitors each month.
Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Scott Levin told the Daily Camera he thought the schools and police had adopted the right course of action. Nonetheless, he said, “it’s very disheartening when you hear this type of thing is taking place.”
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.