Bookshelf of old copies of J. Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
Previous names of this publication have included Emanu-El and The Jewish Bulletin. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Chicago Neo-Nazi death plot (1977); US Jews pitch fit over Israeli conversion bill (1997)

June 10, 1977

Neo-Nazi death plot in Chicago

Bernard Carey, the Illinois state attorney, said he was checking whether there was a neo-Nazi conspiracy in the bizarre death, apparently of cyanide poisoning, of Sydney Cohen, 63, and the suicide of his apparent killer, a 37-year-old drill press operator with a record of arrests for participating in Nazi demonstrations.

According to police reports, the body of Cohen was found in his home in suburban Flossmore, by his son. Lying beside the body the son found Raymond Shultz of Calumet City, the drill press operator, unconscious. Police put Schultz in the back of their squad car but found when they arrived at the precinct station that Schultz had somehow taken cyanide and killed himself.

In a routine search of Schultz’s home, after an autopsy indicated that both men died from cyanide poisoning, police found what was initially headlined as a list of Chicago Jews marked for death. Subsequently, the police said, the “list” was found to be a scrap of paper, with two names, one of Cohen and one which was either “Lavine” or “Levine.”

Police said Schultz, described by neighbors as a “loner,” was not a member of the tiny neo-Nazi party in suburban Skokie in 1962, according to police records. Schultz was arrested in a neo-Nazi demonstration. He was wearing a swastika armband.

The police said they found a note in Schultz’s home which read: “With the help of God and A.H., I can get it all done by July 1.” The police theorized that the initials refer to Adolf Hitler, and the “it” might have referred to a schedule of planned killings, presumably area Jews, which Carey said he planned to investigate.

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An ad from Sept. 9, 1977

The police said they also found in a hidden room in Schultz’s home several gallons of cyanide, bomb components and an electric cattle prod. The police said that apart from Shultz’s arrest over his Nazi activities, he has no criminal record.

June 13, 1997

Secret cable from Israel’s S.F. envoy sees peril in convert bill

Israel’s top envoy in San Francisco has warned that contributions to the major pro-Israel lobby in Washington will dry up if a controversial conversion bill becomes law.

Consul General Nimrod Barkan in a private cable to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem wrote that “a real and immediate danger, it seems to me, is threatening” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee if the Knesset approves a bill allowing only Orthodox conversions in Israel.

Barkan’s cable reportedly was leaked by opponents of the conversion bill to Israel’s leading daily, Ha’aretz, which ran a front-page report Tuesday that quoted extensively from the cable.

Barkan would neither comment on the report nor discuss the telegram, which apparently stemmed from a private meeting in San Francsico last week between AIPAC’s executive director, Howard Kohr, and 50 leading Bay Area AIPAC members.

“From the moment the issue of the conversion law arose, the atmosphere changed and it became clear from what everybody said that they are wondering what to do with their donations if the law passes,” Barkan was quoted by Ha’aretz as saying.

“Recently there has been serious aggravation of reactions to the possibility of the law passing and, in my opinion, we are approaching a red line from which, if crossed, there is no going back,” Barkan’s secret cable continued.