Iron Horse Regional Trail, where the latest flyers were found.
Iron Horse Regional Trail, where the latest flyers were found.

New Holocaust-denying flyers dropped in East Bay

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“Outrageous.” “Cowardly.” “Scary.”

Reactions poured in from Danville residents online this week after they were alerted to antisemitic flyers left on a walking trail in the East Bay town. It was the second incident in the Bay Area in under two weeks.

The first was on Jan. 23 when flyers claiming the Covid-19 pandemic is a Jewish hoax were dropped in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights.  A Jewish father and daughter, out picking up litter in their neighborhood, were some of the first to encounter the conspiratorial leaflets and called them “disturbing” and unsettling.

The Danville flyers, discovered Wednesday night and posted to the social media site Nextdoor, relate wildly fabricated propaganda about the Holocaust alongside a photograph of the train tracks leading to Auschwitz.

Among the egregious falsehoods in the leaflets are the notion that it is “statistically impossible” for 6 million Jews to have been murdered; the claim that 6 million Jews “did not even live in German occupied territory” during the war; the notion that Zyklon B — the deadly poison used in Nazi gas chambers — was in fact a “delousing agent” used to combat typhus; and a wild mischaracterization of Nazi concentration camps as not grim prisons but hospitable locales with “amenities such as movie theatres, soccer fields and ice cream parlors.”

J. has chosen not to reprint images of the flyers to limit their reproduction and circulation.

Danville residents shared disgust, fear, anger, even confusion in response to the flyers, which were discovered by Nextdoor poster Kendra Fardella.

“Sadly I found this in our neighborhood,” Fardella wrote in the original post, alongside a photo. “These have been placed along the trail… We don’t need to erase the past with lies. We learn from history as to not repeat it. Do better Danville!”

More than 150 commenters responded to the post.

“Do sane people really believe these lies?” wrote Dianne, a Danville resident. “I visited Dachau in 1953 when my father was stationed in Munich after the war. It was tragic. It was real.”

“This makes me want to cry,” wrote Denise. “My beautiful great aunt on my late husband’s side had the tattoo, and couldn’t talk about her time, and losing her family.”

Fardella told J. she and her husband encountered the flyers around 10 p.m. Wednesday while they were going out for an evening walk, along Iron Horse Trail near the intersection of Camino Ramon and Fostoria Way.

She had been in the area just a few hours earlier, and hadn’t seen anything unusual — she believed the flyers had been placed in the intervening hours.

“They were doing it in the dark of night,” she said. “We were just taking them down and throwing them out.”

Danville, a town of about 45,000, last year was declared the safest city in California on the website SafeWise.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement to J. Friday:

“It was reported to ADL that a white supremacist group distributed shocking flyers in Danville that attempt to deny the Holocaust,” read the statement from regional director Seth Brysk. “One of the most extensively documented historical events ever, the Holocaust resulted in the mass murder of approximately six million Jews, including 1.5 million children and millions of other innocents. Fringe groups regularly engage in outrageous behavior that has no grounding in reality to fuel the flame of hatred and gain publicity.  We encourage the public to report such incidents to ADL, local law enforcement and social media platforms where they may occur.”

In a phone call Friday, Danville Police Department spokesperson Nicola Shihab told J. that police were made aware of the flyers on Thursday and had sent a maintenance crew to the area, but could not locate any of the leaflets.

“We’re assuming members of the public removed them before we were able to find them,” Shihab said.

She noted that the location of the flyers, on Iron Horse Regional Trail, was under the jurisdiction of the East Bay Regional Parks District.

Lt. Giorgio Chevez of the parks district, who said he had not heard about the flyers before J. contacted him, said the district would be looking into the matter and that he had contacted Fardella, the Nextdoor poster, for more information.

Though the flyers in Danville and Pacific Heights related two very different antisemitic conspiracy theories, they both advertised Goyim TV, a video-sharing site associated with the internet-based antisemitic group the Goyim Defense League.

The GDL, whose name is a parody of the Anti-Defamation League, is a web-based network with followers in California, Florida and states throughout the country.

T-shirts sold on the video-sharing site Goyim TV.
T-shirt sold on the video-sharing site Goyim TV

The public face of the GDL is a Petaluma man named Jon Minadeo Jr., an active antisemite and Holocaust denier who sells T-shirts saying “Holocaust: Denied” and “huluhoax.”

Minadeo has been under pressure recently from family and friends to stop spreading antisemitic propaganda, but his absence from the video-sharing website — he has not appeared in over 40 days — has not slowed Goyim TV-linked flyers from proliferating across the country. Antisemitic Covid flyers advertising Goyim TV have been dropped in at least six states recently, and have garnered a wave of media coverage, including by CNN and other national outlets.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.