National Socialists meeting at Nazi memorial postponed
Group will come if, when property is rezoneds
(Published August 3, 2006, 10:42 a.m.)
By Mike Heine/The Week
The National Socialist Movement says it will not come to a Millard
man's shrine to Adolf Hitler on Aug 25.
And for now, it looks as if the group will not march through town as
had been threatened on a white supremacist Web site.
Following meetings with the National Socialists, Walworth County agreed
to drop its motion to find memorial creator Theodor Junker in contempt
Junker, an 87-year-old former Nazi Waffen SS soldier, had signed a
restraining order to keep his property closed to the public and host
only invited guests. The county says his land is not zoned to hold public
gatherings, and he has no conditional use permit.
The National Socialist Movement announced in mid-July that it would
hold a rally at the state capitol building Saturday, Aug. 26, but wanted
to hold a private memorial service on Junker's property off County A
the day before.
On July 26, Walworth County Assistant Corporation Counsel Michael Cotter
drafted a motion asking a judge to find Junker in violation of the restraining
order. The motion claimed Junker did not personally invite the National
Socialist Movement to his property and he did not know who was coming.
The National Socialist Movement apparently saw the county's court motion
as a First Amendment violation.
On a white supremacist Web site, www.stormfront.org, a posting attributed
to National Socialist Movement Commander Jeff Schoep reads, "We notified
the police that if our right to meet at (Junker's) hall was violated,
that we will engage in a walking picket through their town."
The National Socialist Movement also began fund-raising to pay for
Junker's legal bills and planned to possibly sue the county for violation
of Junker's civil rights, Schoep's posting reads. Other walking pickets
were possible in surrounding Walworth County towns, the posting reads.
Kris Johnson, National Socialist Movement Wisconsin leader, said he
and Junker met with Cotter several times over the last few days.
"He (Junker) really needs to get this zoning situation squared a way,"
Johnson said. "We're in a position to help him with some of the filing
The National Socialist Movement agreed to postpone the meeting at Junker's
memorial until Junker has proper zoning and conditional use permits.
Also, a date for a "private" memorial ceremony honoring Hitler and felled
German-allied World War II soldiers would not be publicly announced,
But getting the proper permits from the town and county might not be
so easy, Cotter said.
"It's a very uphill battle," he said. "You have to have public hearings,
which will have people who don't want it in their backyard. That's the
process this has to go through."
Cotter said neither the town of Sugar Creek nor the county could deny
a request based on the subject of meetings at Junker's memorial.
"We can't deny them because they want to talk about Hitler," Cotter
"If a committee says, 'We're denying it because they like Hitler,'
they (NSM and Junker) would go to court and would win. A judge would
say, 'You regulated it based on content and you lose.'"
Cotter said Junker's restraining order and the filing of the motion
never about the memorial's subject or what groups might visit the shrine.
"The use is what I have a problem with. I don't care what hangs on
the walls," Cotter said. "They could have a picture of Michael Cotter
on the walls with a big X through it and that'd be fine. But when they're
having people there for meetings, seminars and conferences, then that's
where I have an issue with it. That's where the zoning code has an issue