A band of 20 American Nazis in stormtrooper uniforms drew a partly supportive, partly hostile, but mostly just curious crowd of about 3,000 yesterday to a rally that Nazi leader Frank Collin called "a peaceful celebration of our white victory in the courts."
Under the protection of nearly 500 uniformed police, Collin and Michael Allen, leader of a National Socialist Party Chapter in St. Louis, spoke for about 45 minutes in a Martquette Park, the heart of a white, working-class neighborhood on the southwest side that the Nazis consider home turf.
About 1,500 counterdemonstrators were held behind police lines eight blocks east of the park, but others wandered into the park one by one and chanted, "Nazis are scum, let's put 'em on the run," and "Hitler rose, Hitler fell, racist Nazis go to hell."
"Go home, Jews," some members of the crowd chanted back.
Plainclothes police mingled with the crowd and made about 20 arrests on minor charges. Most of the arrests were of Jewish counterdemonstrators. Only a few minor fights broke out, and no injuries were reported.
Standing atop a white van, Allen spoke first, calling Chicago "the worst nigger city in the world."
The crowd cheered and booed when Collin, whose father is a Jewish survivor of Dachau, took the microphone. "You're ugly," Collin said, addressing Jewish counterdemonstrators, many of whom wore yarmulkes, the traditional Orthodox Jewish skullcap. "In the 1960s Jewish commuists and their nigger brothers thought they had this country on its knees, but the '70s is the decade of the white people."
Collin said of the 1940s German Jews."I don't beleive there was a Holocaust, but if there was they deserved it."
A man wearing a yarmulke blew a ram's horn - the traditional Jewish call of alarm - while Allen and Collin spoke. A group of young toughs, some with tattooed arms, some shirtless and some wearing swastika T-shirts, surrounded the man and shouted insults, but no one tried to harm him physically.
There were no blacks in sight, except reporters.
A burly blond man wearing a swastika T-shirt shouted at a group of counterdemonstrators, "These are the people of the neighborhood and we don't you Jews here."