James Stern risks his life, becomes the leader of neo-Nazi group

James Hart Stern (54), that is the name of the black American man who managed to infiltrate the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Movement (NSM). More even: he became the leader of the party. Once Stern was in control, he confessed to a judge that the party was responsible for the extreme right-wing violence in Charlottesville in 2017 where three people were killed.

The confession in the name of NSM would be James Hart Stern’s first act as leader of the party. In this way, he hopes that the competent authorities will quickly stop the (legal) existence of the party. Stern then reformed the website of National Socialist Movement: extremist and anti-Semitic messages were replaced by a long history lesson about the Holocaust. How did that all happen? It all started in prison where Stern was in for fraud. His cellmate was – Ironically – Edgar Ray ‘Preacher’ Killen, a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the man who in 1964 planned the murder of various activists who fought for civil rights for blacks.

Although Killen often insulted his black cellmate, he later assumed confidence in Stern. Killen even left him a part of his legacy. That meant, however, that Killen suddenly had a voice within the Ku Klux Klan. And so, for the first time, Stern was able to disband an extreme right-wing grouping in 2016.

James Stern risks his life, becomes the leader of neo-Nazi group
©AP – Images of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)

Moreover, his relationship with Killen was an introduction to similar groups, including the National Socialist Movement where Jeff Schoep had been in charge for 24 years. Of course, he did not know that Stern was the reason why the KKK was shut down.

Malcolm X

Not much later, the old leader of the neo-Nazi group, without warning his followers, handed over the leadership (and accompanying documents) to James Hart Stern, the first black man to trust Schoep since Malcolm X.

Cracks in armor

According to Stern, persuasiveness and manipulation have been the basis of this change of power. Moreover, Schoep thought for a while that it was time for “fresh blood.” He felt less valued at NSM and wanted to start a new group. “I saw a crack in his armor,” Stern said. So that Schoep encouraged him to leave the leadership of the National Socialist Mouvement to him.

Whether everything runs as Stern intended, is still the question. After it became clear that Stern was an infiltrator who had only one goal in mind – the ending of NSM – Schoep decided to challenge the power change.

James Stern risks his life, becomes the leader of neo-Nazi group

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