Willis Carto, one of the United States’ most prominent Nazi sympathizers, anti-Semitic hatemongers, Holocaust denier and white supremacist thought leader was laid him to rest in the United States most famous military cemetery, Arlington National on Wednesday.
Purple Heart recipients are among those veterans and family members of veterans who may be interred at Arlington’s military burial site — as long as they were subsequently honorably discharged, and not convicted of a state or federal crime.
The Huffington Post reported on a request to bury Carto in Arlington in November. Jennifer Lynch, a spokeswoman for the cemetery, said at the time that a person’s political views did not have any bearing on their eligibility for burial.
After World War II, Carto even renounced the cause for which he’d fought, “Hitler’s defeat was the defeat of Europe. And of America,” Carto wrote in a letter published in 1966.
Through a number of initiatives — including the Liberty Lobby, a white supremacist organization Carto founded, and the Institute for Historical Review, a group he started to promote Holocaust denial — Carto enjoyed influence among a marginal but significant population of American bigots especially motivated by anti-Jewish hysteria.
At the height of the Liberty Lobby’s popularity in the 1980s, there were 400,000 subscribers to its newsletter, according an obituary for Carto in The New York Times.
Todd Blodgett, who managed advertising for the Liberty Lobby and spied on Carto for the FBI from 2000 to 2002, said the deceased anti-Semitic leader wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery because of the “irony,” given his pro-Nazi views.
“He was laughing about it: ‘I’m probably America’s biggest Hitler fan, but I’ll be buried alongside all these World War II vets,’” Blodgett told HuffPost in November.
Ironically, while people gathered to remember Carto on one floor of the cemetery’s administrative building, right above them, a much larger crowd was memorializing Dorothy Goldstein, the recently deceased wife of a retired career Army officer. Goldstein was Jewish.
One mourner, a retired career Army officer who was a classmate of Goldstein’s husband at West Point, said it “disappointed” him to learn that a famous Nazi sympathizer was being memorialized in the same building as his friend.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called Carto’s burial in Arlington National Cemetery a “national disgrace.”
“For a person who supported a man responsible for the greatest mass murder in the history of mankind to be buried in the sacred ground where service members who fought to do everything to defeat this man, it profanes the cemetery,” Hier said.
“If Hitler had won the war, defeating first Britain and then the United States, Willis Carto would have been a perfect candidate to be a cabinet member in Hitler’s government,” he added.
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