Essays

Matt Koehl and Ezra Pound: The Untold Story

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (1885-1972) is considered the foremost English-language poet of the 20th century. Additionally, he was a political and economic thinker who was broadly sympathetic to National Socialism and Fascism, and opposed to any and all forms of Jewish hegemony. Pound spent the Second World War in Italy, where he made pro-NS, pro-Fascist radio broadcasts in English, addressed specifically to Americans. After the War, it was claimed that he suffered an emotional breakdown, and he was involuntarily interned in St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Washington, D.C.

In the 1950s, a small movement arose demanding that Pound be set free. Among those active in this cause was a young Matt Koehl, who was just starting out on his lifelong career as a National Socialist.

In 1990, I interviewed Commander Koehl about his involvement in the “Free Pound” movement. I submitted written questions to him, and he responded through the mail. This interview has never been published before. It is the only time that Comrade Koehl ever wrote about this episode in his life.

– Martin Kerr

* * *

Q: Commander, I understand that you were secretary-treasurer for the Committee to Free Ezra Pound. How and when did this come about?

A: In 1957 I was asked by several individuals active on Ezra’s Pound’s behalf to join their efforts for his release. The financial means at our disposal were somewhat modest, and so my designation as “secretary-treasurer” can more accurately be described as honorary rather than real. In any event, that is actually beside the point. My participation was intended for another purpose.

Q: Could you describe that purpose?

A: Ever since Pound’s confinement in a psychiatric gulag by the U.S. government after World War II, a number of prominent literary and artistic figures had called for the poet’s release without notable success. It was the intention of the Committee to Free Ezra Pound to force the issue by deliberately adding an “extremist” factor to the equation. As one of a number of federally certified “extremists,” I was happy to play whatever useful role I could. The whole idea was that the specter of “Nazis” and “fascists” co-opting the cause of such an internationally recognized figure might finally prod those responsible for his continuing confinement to grant a release. I would like to think that in some small measure we did, in fact, contribute to that result.

Q: Did you ever meet Pound personally?

A: Yes, indeed. I had an opportunity to meet him on two separate occasions.

Q: Could you describe your meetings?

A: The first occasion was on a pleasant spring day in 1953 on the grounds of St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Washington D.C. I was greeted in hearty fashion by the poet, who expressed his special pleasure that I shared his own basic outlook in the controversial matters which had brought him to that dismal institution in the first place. Our discussion touched on a variety of subjects, ranging from economic and social theory and recondite aspects of the Cantos to the strange and stupid behavior of the American government.

Q: And the other time?

A: Our second meeting took place two years later, in 1955. The weather being inclement, our venue was the interior of St. Elizabeth’s, a thoroughly bleak and gloomy setting complete with wandering loonies and the ministrations of Jewish and Black attendants — all of which merely served to enhance the hideous gulag effect. Cheered by my visit, the old gent honored me with a carefully reasoned exposition of Social Credit theory and the principal of usury. During the remainder of our conversation, we speculated on the prospects for his release and discussed some of the individuals working on his behalf.

Q: What was your personal impression of Ezra Pound? Did he give any evidence of suffering from mental illness?

A: Ezra Pound presented the very image of a sage — in appearance, with his philosophic calm, indeed, in every aspect of his demeanor. He radiated good-will and sincerity, and displayed the poise and inner freedom of the truly honest man. And in our meetings, I always sensed a special warmth and rapport that is denied those who do not share a common Weltanschauung. Contrary to reports of mental illness, he was the very picture of rational lucidity and lively good humor. What amazed me was the fact that subjected to the most degrading and dehumanizing of experiences, not only did he manage to retain his sanity, but he did so with the most wonderful grace and dignity. Throughout the entire ordeal, Pound was quite philosophical about it all. “There are a lot more crazy people out there than in here,” he was wont to say.

Q: Was he contrite about his actions during the Second World War?

A: Hardly. The Ezra Pound I knew was cheerfully unrepentant, firm in his beliefs, and staunchly true to those principles he had upheld throughout his life. Never once did he give so much as the slightest hint that he had any regret about anything he had ever done or spoken during the ’30s and ’40s — not excluding his celebrated views on the Jewish Question. In fact, his pointed references to any number of nefarious Jewish practices left no doubt as to where he stood on that particular issue.

Q: Jewish poet Allen Ginsberg met Pound in 1968 and subsequently claimed that Pound repudiated anti-Semitism. Does this ring true to you?

Matt Koehl’s personal library included several rare volumes of Pound’s poems, some of which were signed and inscribed by the author. Shown here: Pound’s inscription in Commander Koehl’s copy of Personae. It reads: “Matthias Koehl / HEIL / Ezra Pound / 1953.”

A: Allen Ginsberg is an imposter. I first came into contact with Mr. Ginsberg when he sent me a postcard from India in 1961 threatening to put a hex on me if I did not cease my “anti-Semitic activity.” (At the time I was local leader of the National Socialist party in Chicago.) All I can say about his unsubstantiated, posthumous assertions are that they bear all the landmarks of the usual kosher chutzpah. Unable to deny the manifest greatness of a literary giant but concerned lest Pound’s “other ideas” gain acceptance, this Jew employs one of the oldest tricks in the book: he tries to have the master himself recant. But the master — “il miglior fabbro” — has spoken otherwise!

Q: What do you know about Pound’s connections with postwar National Socialist and fascist groups?

A: Pound’s associations were with individuals, rather than with groups as such. He was always interested in meeting and discoursing with individuals who had something to say. There were, of course, those who did not; and old Ezra was besieged by “i dilletanti” — the inescapable literary groupies who constituted a mild plague for the poet during his enforced confinement. He had a special fondness, to be sure, for Gesinnungskameraden. Notable among these were John Kasper — the anti-desegregation firebrand of Clinton, Tenn. — and anti-Jewish, populist and pro-fascist writer Eustace Mullins. And, of course, there was George Lincoln Rockwell, who trekked to St. Elizabeth’s before his career as founder of the American National Socialist movement.

Q: What is your appraisal of Ezra Pound’s place in history?

A: Ezra Pound’s role as father and progenitor of the modern poetry movement is beyond dispute. Before the message and meaning of his work is properly understood as an integral whole, however, the prejudices of the present age will have to give way to a new attitude of honesty and truthfulness. Only then will Ezra Pound be seen as he really was. Only then will the poet receive his due honor.

Q: I understand that Pound gave you inscribed copies of two of his books of poetry. Could you describe these?

A: Better still, I am presenting you with photostatic copies of those inscriptions — one written in my Pisan Cantos and the other in Personae — which are a small memento of our association.

—Matt Koehl

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Source: New Order

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  1. Ulysses Freire da Paz Junior
    21 June, 2019 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    The Fascism seen by Ezra Pound
    By Pierre Hofstetter

    ‘Fascism was in favor of the preservation of certain freedoms and in favor of maintaining a certain degree of culture, of certain levels of life, was not a refusal to fall into the standard of living of the rich or of poverty, but a refusal to abandon certain immaterial prerogatives, a refusal to abandon a large section of the cultural heritage. ”

    Who wrote this?

    Ezra Pound, arguably the greatest living Western poet, in “Jefferson and / or Mussolini,” appeared in 1935.
    An American publishing house, Liverigth, of New York, reissued it last year, on the occasion of the celebrated author of the Cantos.

    This book, which, like all of Ezra Pound’s work, is not easy to read, nevertheless has a great importance because, as the editor underlines, “it is really, revealing the man behind Poetry.”

    Let us begin by explaining the title: “Jefferson and / or Mussolini”. For Ezra Pound, the Jeffersonian political tradition was still alive, but not in Massachussets, Virginia, or Delaware, but in Mussolini’s Italy.

    Jefferson? The first inaugural president of the new federal capital, Washington. A great lawyer. A great politician. “The founder of the democratic party,” says Larousse. Of course, the word democratic then had a completely different meaning from that of today, and in the American Constitution that Jefferson wrote, one can not find the word democracy at all.

    Indeed, Ezra Pound stresses: “There is not the slightest shadow of a doubt that TJ never imagined that men remained the same (after birth), or were biologically equal, or had the right to equality other than on the level of opportunity or By the law”. “Like all rulers and builders in human history, he tried to raise a certain number of men to a certain level by eliminating certain imperfections.”

    Jefferson, Ezra Pound explains, did not believe in hereditary privilege, that is, he considered that men ought to govern because of their inherent qualities, not because they were the sons of the father. “I thought that a nation does not have the right to incur debts that could not be reasonably paid during the life of the contracting parties.” And that, on the other hand, everything that can be done by the individual and unofficial effort must be done by him, and the State should not govern except where and when it is necessary.

    “The best government is the one that rules less,” Jefferson noted. Remember that Barry Goldwater, in 1964, proclaimed the same thing. Now, for his opponents, the liberals, he was a fascist …

    Governing as little as possible is not ruling evil. On the contrary. Ezra Pound writes on page 91: “A good government is one who acts according to what is known and thought best.” “And the best government is the one that translates what is best thought into action the quickest.”

    Ezra Pound wrote “Jefferson and / or Mussolini” in 1933. His book is also that of a witness: “The first act of Fascism was to save Italy from the people who were too stupid to rule, that is to say, the Communists-less-Lenin. The second act was to free her from her parliamentarians, who were probably even worse off, though they were not necessarily more dishonest than the other parliamentary gangs, but, in any case, free her from groups too politically immoral to rule. ”

    Triumphant anti-Fascism was, of course, the return to power of these immoral gangs.

    Jefferson and Mussolini? Two geniuses, says Ezra Pound. “If you seek sympathy between TJ (Thomas Jefferson) and the Duce, note him, first notice, that both detests machinery, or in any case the idea of ​​bringing men together and making them all units, units of production, drowning the individual man, reducing it to mere amalgamation. ”

    It was, of course, a very different conception of what the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds and their armies of technocrats want us to impose today.

    Jefferson and Mussolini were men of the earth, men attached to the natal soil. True peasants, paysans, that is, men of the country, of the country.

    Why does Mussolini lose the match, finally? And because of whom?

    Ezra Pound explained it in his Italian pamphlets published in the French edition in 1968 (L’Age d’Homme, Lausanne). “From the time when Mussolini divined the relations between the New York usiers and the Moscow instruments, he was sentenced to death by the international usurocracy”

    In 1944, when American troops took Pisa, Ezra Pound was launched like a beast in an iron cage and taken to the United States where he closed it, fourteen years in a madhouse of madmen.

    This usury denouncer had dared to write: “In fact, after the assassination of President Lincoln, nothing serious, he was tempted against the usurcracy until the founding of the Rome-Berlin Axis. The Italian ambition to achieve economic freedom, which is nothing more than to avoid indebtedness, unleashed upon it the sanctions of sinister memory. ”

    He really had to be craze to talk with such judgment! ”

    Source http://www.causanacional.net/index.php?itemid=387

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