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April 26, 2023 12:15 pm

Canadian Neo-Nazi Who Flashed Antisemitic Message Onto Anne Frank House With Laser Arrested in Poland

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Canadian neo-Nazi Robert Wilson (l) with “Goyim Defense League” founder Jon Minadeo at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Photo: Screenshot

Police in Poland have arrested a Canadian neo-Nazi who projected an antisemitic message onto the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam at the behest of the Dutch authorities.

Officers from the Amsterdam criminal investigation department were present on Tuesday morning when their Polish colleagues arrested Robert Wilson, a 41-year-old Canadian citizen and a former resident of California, where he was an activist with the so-called “Goyim Defense League” (GDL) — a neo-Nazi group that has earned notoriety for distributing virulently antisemitic flyers blaming Jews for the COVID-19 pandemic and other ills in residential neighborhoods across the US. The Dutch have formally requested Wilson’s extradition to the Netherlands, a spokesperson for the Amsterdam police told the AFP news agency.

“We are grateful to the police that the suspect has been tracked down and arrested,”  Ronald Leopold — director of the Anne Frank House — told the Dutch news outlet Het Parool. “The matter is now in the hands of the judiciary.”

The offending message was flashed by Wilson in early February onto the front of the Anne Frank House using a laser. It referred to Anne Frank as the “inventor of the ballpoint pen” — an internet meme actively spread by Holocaust deniers who falsely claim that the diary recording her family’s experience in hiding during the Nazi occupation was written using a pen that had not yet been invented during World War II. The message was visible for about three minutes, projected from a parked van on the other side of the canal facing the Anne Frank House. The incident was strongly condemned by leading Dutch politicians, among them Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz  and Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema. Similar messages were also projected onto the Hemweg power station in Amsterdam and the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, leading to the separate arrests of two other extremists associated with the Dutch branch of the so-called “White Lives Matter” (WLM) movement.

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“Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most important testimonies of the persecution of the Jews during World War II,” Leopold observed. “With the projection, the perpetrators are attacking the authenticity of Anne Frank’s diary and sowing hatred.”

Wilson was first unmasked as the offender by Capitol Terrorists Exposers (CTE), a social media collective seeking to identify those involved in the Jan. 6, 2020 insurrection on Capitol Hill by supporters of former US President Donald Trump. A video recorded by Wilson of the message projected onto the Anne Frank House contained enough data for investigators to identify him, including his online moniker “Aryan Bacon,” the Dutch news outlet De Volksrant reported.

Wilson fled to Poland in late 2021 to escape a trial in San Diego, where he had been living, for allegedly assaulting his next-door neighbor while screaming homophobic slurs. In August 2022, Wilson and GDL founder Jon Minadeo were photographed at the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland brandishing signs attacking the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Wilson held a sign reading “Shoah the ADL” — a reference to the Hebrew word for “Holocaust” — while Minadeo’s sign declared that “Greenblatt” — a reference to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt — “sucks 6 million d—s.”

Wilson’s arrest comes at a time of growing concern regarding antisemitism in the Netherlands.

A study in January revealed that almost one quarter of Dutch millennials believe the Holocaust is a myth, while 60 percent of respondents did not name the Netherlands as a country impacted by the Holocaust. More than 100,000 Dutch Jews — three-quarters of the population — were murdered during the Holocaust, the highest killing rate recorded in western Europe.

A separate report the following month disclosed that nearly half of Dutch high school teachers had witnessed an antisemitic incident during the last year.

The same report noted that 20 percent of offenders were of Moroccan origin — double the number recorded by a similar survey ten years ago — with Dutch citizens from a Turkish background also overrepresented. Offenders are mainly young males, the report stated.

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