The Bizarre Story of Anti-Jewish Jew Harold von Braunhut
by John I. Johnson
HAROLD von Braunhut, 77, wealthy Aryan Nations backer and mail order merchandiser of gimmicky novelties such as X-Ray eyeglasses that supposedly allow wearers to see through clothing, died November 28, 2003 in Indian Head, Maryland. Braunhut held 195 patents on novelty items sold through ads in comic books and comparable publications. However, his business pièce de résistance was Sea Monkeys, “tiny shrimp that pop to life when water is added.”
“Mr. von Braunhut,” the New York Times reports, “gravitated toward life’s crazier edge, racing motorcycles as the Green Hornet and managing the career of a man who dived from 40 feet into a kiddie pool filled with 12 inches of water. He sold invisible goldfish by guaranteeing that owners would never see them.”
Born Harold Nathan Braunhut in Memphis, Tennessee on March 21, 1926, he was raised in New York City, and lived there until moving to Maryland in the 1980s. At some point, in an act of self-ennoblement, he changed his name to “von” Braunhut, although he also called himself “Hendrik von Braun,” “Jensen,” and possibly other names as well.
The extent of Braunhut’s financial assistance to Aryan Nations is unknown. At group congresses in the early 1990s, in which he was a featured speaker, he wore a priest’s collar. At a 1995 congress he stated that Jews are “the bacillus of the decomposition of our society.”
According to the New York Times,
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2000 that two distributors had canceled their licenses for Sea Monkeys because of discomfort about Mr. von Braunhut’s views. The license is currently owned by Educational Insights of Rancho Dominguez, Calif.
George C. Artamian, president of the Sea Monkeys division of Educational Insights, said the earlier companies dropped the Sea Monkey license for business reasons, not the least being that Mr. von Braunhut was “not easy to work with.” He said that when his company bought the license in 1995, Mr. von Braunhut promised to stop his public political activities, and that he believes Mr. von Braunhut did so.
It is likely that the business difficulties referred to, and the withdrawal from public activism, were the consequence of behind the scenes pressure from organized Jewry, which possesses absolute power to harm the business interests and financial well-being of anyone it wishes.
In 1988, the Washington Post published an article about Braunhut noting that his relatives said he was Jewish. (All the Times says is, “He himself repeatedly refused to discuss his beliefs on race or his own religious background with journalists, and in an interview on Thursday his wife declined to comment on the subject.”)
In 1996, the “Anti-” Defamation League (ADL) issued a report attacking him, indicating that he was a member of both Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan. (The 1996 report coincides with the peak of Braunhut’s personal public activism — throughout the early 1990s until 1995 he spoke regularly at Aryan Nations congresses — and with the business problems with Sea Monkeys licensees.) Apparently the ADL report did not mention Braunhut’s Jewishness.
On October 1, 2000, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, in “The Sea Monkeys and the White Supremacist,” again reported that Braunhut was Jewish.
White Aryan Resistance (WAR) leader Tom Metzger wrote in 2000:
Harold von Braunhut, a self-made multimillionaire from Maryland, has been an AN [Aryan Nations] contributor for years. I met the man at a meeting at Robert Miles’s in Michigan. He was wearing a priest’s collar when I first met him. He was a small man with decidedly Semitic features. I commented to several people at the time that this individual was a long way from an Aryan. Then a Washington Post story broke a few years later, saying that von Braunhut was a bar mitzvahed Jew. It also was said that he was the state leader for Aryan Nations. This, of course puzzled me greatly, especially the way [Christian] Identity people rail against the Jews. I made my findings known to AN, but received no answer. I then repeated the findings on this update a few years ago. Still no change. It seems that von Braunhut was some kind of self-hating Jew, but a steady contributor to AN. Oh well, I had belled the cat, but I heard nothing about it from the Identity camp. Today I received an article that was printed in the Los Angeles Times, a thorough and complete history of the activities of Mr. von Braunhut. The thing that appalled me through and through was one comment by the writer that von Braunhut officiated at the funeral of Mrs. Betty Butler, the devoted wife of Richard Butler. That is very hard to swallow, but it seems to be true.
Apparently Braunhut’s racial beliefs were sincere. Daniel Burros, a Jewish follower of American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell, committed suicide in 1965 after the New York Times revealed his Jewish background, and in the 1980s Jacob Gollub was Mississippi state leader of the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Also, a few anti-Jewish half-Jews (Daniel Burros and Gollub, like Braunhut, were full Jews) — including Robert Burros (American Renaissance Party), William Potter Gale (founder of Posse Comitatus), Frank Collin (National Socialist Party of America), and Andrew Britt Greenbaum (Knights of Freedom) — have participated in White nationalist politics. (Greenbaum legally changed his name to “Davis Wolfgang Hawke” before founding his group.)
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