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A Radical Electronic Resource
. Will Bush Purge Nazi Collaborators in the G.O.P.?
. by Russell C. Bellant
. Source: The New York Times, Op-Ed page, November 19, 1988
The campaign may be over, but George Bush still needs to say what he plans
to do with the 20-year-old Republican Heritage Groups Council, the ethnic
outreach arm of the Republican National Committee. There is substantial
evidence to suggest that the council was founded and continues to be led by
people and organizations that collaborated with the Nazi occupation of
Eastern Europe during the Second World War.
The Bush campaign scored a major success in Sptember when it quickly
discharged seven members of its ethnic coalition after a series of of news
reports linked them to fascist, anti-Semitic or pro-Nazi organizations. But
four of the seven discharged Bush ethnic leaders continue to hold leadership
positions within the Heritage Groups Council.
Florian Galdau, for instance, still heads the Romanian-American Republic
Clubs, one of the components of the Heritage Council. A retired priest, he
was an ally of the late Archbishop Valerian Trifa, who was convicted by the
United States for concealing his crimes against humanity committed in a
Bucharest pogrom in 1941.
A leader of the pro-Nazi Iron Guard, Archbishop Trifa recruited Mr. Galdau in
1955 to run a Manhattan church. Former Iron Guard members, Federal Bureau
of Investigation reports and Romanian Orthodox priests have identified Mr.
Galdau as a recruiter for the Iron Guard. Mr. Galdau has denied these charges.
But F.B.I. reports and Iron Guard publications from the 1980's link him to
Iron Guard activities.
Another Republican ethnic activist ousted from the Bush campaign is Radi
Slavoff, head of the Bulgarian section and also executive director of the
Heritage Council. Mr. Slavoff is also the Washington representative of the
Bulgarian National Front, an American-based group formed in a postwar
merger of several wartime pro-Nazi and Fascist orgnaizations. Mr. Slavoff
continues as executive director of the Heritage Council despite these
Phil Guarino is a leader of the Italian section of the Heritage Council as
well as a former vice-chairman of the council. Mr. Guarino, a Republican
National Committee staffer, was removed from the Bush campaign after
reports surfaced of his involvement in the P-2 Lodge of Italy.
P-2 was a group of influential people--high-ranking military and
intelligence officers, industrialists and some political party leaders, among
others--tied in Italian press reports to the 1980 bombing of the Bologna
train station, which killed 85 people. The goal of the group--which is now
believed to be defunct--was to destabilize the Italian Government and,
ultimately, to install a dictatorship.
The fourth ethnic leader expelled from the Bush campaign was Laszlo
Pasztor, who founded the Heritage Groups Council in 1969 with the
encouragement of Richard Nixon. It was Mr. Pasztor's job to select the
groups and leaders that formed the G.O.P.'s first permanent outreach to
Mr. Pasztor worked as an embassy aide in Berlin for the militantly pro-Nazi
Arrow Cross government, which was installed in Hungary in 1944. (He has
since said that he regrets his involvement.)
When he began selecting people for the Heritage Council, Mr. Pasztor
frequently selected those with backgrounds like his. And when he helped
form Mr. Nixon's ethinc campaign group for the 1972 election, he opened the
doors to numerous people with a Nazi collaborationist past, including some
accused of war crimes. One of them, Boleslavs Maikovskis, recently sought
asylum in West Germany to avoid deportation to the Soviet Union. A United
States court ordered him deported in 1984 for concealing his involvement in
war crimes in Nazi-occupied Latvia.
Another of those recruited by Mr. Pasztor in 1969--and stillhoding a
leadership slot in the council--is Nicolas Nazarenko, a squadron commander
of a Cossack unit under German command in World War II. Mr. Nazarenko told
me during a seven-hour interview that Jews were his "ideological enemy"
and that he was active today with Nazi groups here.
The Slovak section of the council is run by sympathizers and at least one
former official of the Slovak Nazi state created by Hitler in 1938. Although
the Slovak state declared war on America one day after Hitler did, and
deported many Slovak Jews to gas chambers, the leaders of the Heritage
Council Slovak section still hold annula memorials of the 1938 founding of
the puppet regime of Slovakia.
Mr. Bush defends Mr. Galdau, Mr. Pasztor, Mr. Guarino and Mr. Slavoff as
innocent of all accusations of collaboration and insists they are all
honorable men. But the historical record belies his assertions.
The G.O.P. for decades has misread ethnic America's concerns about crime,
employment, anti-ethnic discrimination and the future of its youth. It has
offered instead the fascism and ethnic prejudices of the Heritage Council,
which focuses primarily on funding Radio Free Europe and stopping Justice
Department prosecutions of war criminals who illegally entered the country.
As the chairman of the Republican National Committee in the early years of
the council, and now as head of the Republican Party and President-elect,
Mr. Bush owes Americans a complete explanation.
(Russell C. Bellant is author of a recent study of the role of right-wing
emigres in the Republican Party and the Reagan Administration.)