They're used to the death threats. They're unwavering in their beliefs, and they're emboldened by challenges to their rights to assemble and speak freely.
But ask leaders of the National Socialist Movement - who call themselves "America's Nazi Party" - for details about their organization and its membership, and you'll get nothing.
Inquire about their plans to march in North Toledo tomorrow, you'll get little. Try to talk to NSM members not authorized to speak, you'll get the cold shoulder.
The reasons are simple: It's nobody's business and it breaks the organization's rules, said Ohio NSM leader Mark Martin. The secrecy, he said, protects members of the group, whose Web site is illustrated with swastikas and pictures of Adolph Hitler.
"We've had death threats, mostly from blacks," he said, speaking about the group's planned North Toledo rally.
Mark Potok isn't surprised at the absence of answers.
Mr. Potok is the director of the Intelligence Report at the Southern Poverty Law Center. He said such groups as the NSM thrive on secrecy to exaggerate both their importance and size. The center for years has tracked extremist groups around the United States, identifying some 700 of them.
"These groups like to claim they're vastly bigger than they are," Mr. Potok said.
In reality, he said, the National Socialist Movement, which espouses the idea of a genetic superiority of white people, probably has fewer than 300 members.
Still, the group has grown in popularity recently, Mr. Potok said, fueled by the disintegration of three other hate groups whose leaders have died, been imprisoned, or gone bankrupt.
"Within the world they operate in, they feel they're a really big deal," he said of the NSM, "but in a country of 280 million, they're infinitessimal."
Prompted by a neighbor dispute in North Toledo, the NSM announced last week that it would rally in support of Tom Szych and other white North Toledo residents. Mr. Szych said he was threatened by the Dexter [Street] Boyz, one of two black gangs the NSM alleges has been terrorizing residents.
Bill White, a national NSM spokesman and head of its Roanoke, Va., unit, accused Toledo of bowing to "Jewish-influenced politicians" in not addressing the gang issue.
The group says it will release the details of its march plans tonight. Toledo police confirmed yesterday that it has talked with the group so that it can assign enough law enforcement personnel to prevent any possible violence.
The Nazis' plans have set in motion at least two other organized activities.
Organizers of an Erase the Hate program hope free pizza and pop will woo local residents to ignore the neo-Nazis.
Lagrange Development Corp. has teamed with the city Board of Community Relations and others to offer free food, music, face-painting, and other "unity" activities beginning about 11 a.m. at the Zablocki Senior Center at Lagrange Street and Central Avenue.
"The purpose of the event is not to give a bunch of speeches, but to have fun," said Terry Glazer, executive director of Lagrange Development.
Meanwhile, a New Jersey-based, anti-fascist group has been stapling flyers to trees and utility poles and tucking them under windshield wipers the past couple of days to promote its counter-rally outside Manhattan Plaza at Manhattan Boulevard and Stickney Avenue in North Toledo.
The flyers for "One People's Project" do not list organizers' names or contact numbers, but a spokesman for the group told The Blade that members of the group are responsible.
"[The NSM] have freedom to express themselves, and we have the same freedoms," said spokesman Daryle Lamont Jenkins. He said his group is a "relatively small group of intelligence gatherers" that tracks NSM and other white-power groups in order to expose their racism and bigotry.
"They stand for trying to diminish the rights of people who are not white, Christian males, and they are not something this society wants," he said of the NSM.
Toledo Pastor Mansour Bey, who is helping organize the Erase the Hate program, was once active in the Black Panthers and has for many years since fought for equality of all races. He's not surprised that ideologies from both ends of the political spectrum, often laced with hate, still clash.
"This democratic experiment called American democracy is still unfolding," he said.
He and others yesterday said the city must respond to the Nazis' appearance without giving them a platform on which to speak.
"We've got this dilemma that we don't want to give them any more attention, but it's also a struggle of what silence can mean, too," said the Rev. Larry Clark, another Erase the Hate organizer.
The neo-Nazis, who claim ties to "like-minded white nationalist groups such as the KKK [Ku Klux Klan], Aryan Skinheads, the Racial Nationalist Party of America," have their complaints about media attention.
Mr. Martin, the Ohio NSM leader who also is a chef, said the media is mostly Jewish-owned and has a double standard in the way it treats minority groups and whites. For example, he cited how the media, including The Blade, helps promote Black History Month for African-Americans.
"When whites want to stand up and preserve their European heritage, it's racist," he said.
According to Mr. White, a landlord in Roanoke, Jews encourage the mixing of races, or diversity, so that it will blend all humans, leaving only the Jews as different. That, in turn, will allow them to dominate the world and firmly establish the State of Israel, he said.
Both he and Mr. Martin said the NSM does not seek out violence, though their appearances in other communities have prompted extra police security measures and, sometimes, clashes between members and critics of their group.
"We don't believe in using violence ... but unfortunately, it seems that violence is the only language that minorities understand," Mr. Martin said. "We do not want to kill them; we just want them to be removed from our country."
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