The formation of the Volksfront gang began in 1994 at the Oregon State Penitentiary among four inmates. Of the four, Randal Lee Krager assumed the role as leader. With his deeply rooted background in white supremacist and subculture skinhead beliefs and activity, Krager quickly began organizing and making connections outside of the prison system with other skinheads.
Past: Peaceful or Violent?
The group claimed they were non-violent, however their actions proved otherwise. Misguided in their tactical strategy and highly volatile mindset, the group was responsible for much mayhem and hate crimes from intimidation, assault and even murder. In March 1994, Chris Lord and George Dennis Smith were both convicted of first-degree intimidation as they shot up the Temple of Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon with 10 rounds from assault rifles. In April 1998, now a former member, Brian Zauber, was charged with intimidation, aggravated assault and more on three women in Philadelphia park. In 2003, five skinheads on their way to a Volksfront concert, attacked a 17-year old African American kid in the parking log of his home. In March 2003, Kurtis Monschke, later convicted for murder in 2004, participated in the murder of Randall Mark Townsend in Tachoma, Washington. Throughout all this violent activity, the group claims that their actions were politically driven at this time. Conundrum!
Present: Leadership Change with Peace Policy?
During the period from 1999 through 2001, the group went underground in the public eye. So they claim. As it is written from the news perspective, they were anything but underground.
In December 2004, the group made a major policy and leadership change. They realized that their violent ways were not accomplishing their goal to promote White autonomy. Volksfronts strives to create a large community that is strictly for whites only. Randal Krager reasserted the policy of non-violence, stepped down as their leader and appointed Vice President, Richard Arden as the new leader. However, a puppet show is still the order of the day as Krager’s power and influence is still evident in the group’s activities. He continues organizing hate concerts and festivals on a regular basis, often presenting themselves as a rock band gathering for a reunion concert. An added member to the organization has been Abbie Chelf , now Krager’s wife and a Christian Identity advocate, who has asserted herself to a leadership role among the women of Volksfront. Chelf is a blogger promoting the groups ideology, which she stresses for her group to keep on the “down low” lest the authorities get wind of the group’s plans and activities before they transpire.
With these new changes, did the violence cease? The past came back to haunt several members. In 2005, Jacob Laskey, the Volksfront’s Prisoner Affairs Coordinator, Gabriel Doyle Laskey, Jesse Lee Baker and Gerald Anthony Poundstone were all arrested for throwing rocks at a synagogue during their religious services in 2002. Now in February 2010 in Florida, Christopher Nachtman and John Kopko, rival gang members from Volksfront and Confederate Hammersteins fought each other. Kopo attacked Nachtnman with a knife outside the speech area of a well known writer.
Yet again, the organization’s message seems to be fine tuning and tweaking towards non-violence and positive changes based on their website. So what does the future hold for this group?
Future: Do They See Where They’re Going with It?
According to their website, Volksfront champions itself as “The Independent Voice of the White Working Class”. Although there is not many of them, they have gone international with their organization. Per their information page, their goals are based on a positive, realistic belief system. They are purchasing land, businesses, publishing educational materials, hosting fundraisers, and educating themselves to be great people for the good of all white mankind.
As long has hate exists, the pillow of fluffy words for the benefit of pretense will continue to crumble as the true root of the organization surfaces again and again. History tends to repeat itself. Hate and contempt breed violence. Why wear the ever-changing, unmarked masks if your goals, purposes, beliefs and intentions are honorable and true?