Daniel "Dan" Burros (March 5, 1937 — October 31, 1965) was a Jewish American who was a former member of the American Nazi Party. Later, after a falling-out with founder George Lincoln Rockwell, Burros became a Kleagle, or recruiter, for the New York State branch of the United Klans of America, one of the most violent Klan groups of the time.
Burros committed suicide on October 31, 1965, hours after his Jewish heritage was made public. He shot himself in the chest and then the head. At the time, he was reportedly listening to music composed by Richard Wagner.
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Daniel Burros was born to George and Esther Sunshine Burros in Queens, New York City. In high school, young Dan proved himself to be intelligent (his IQ was measured at 154), and did well in most classes. Burros was not athletic and had poor eyesight. He was intense to the point of paranoia in athletic competition, particularly if he was losing or feared he was losing. He also possessed a fiery temper. This and his intensity frequently led to fights.
Burros expressed a desire to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point (which never came to fruition). However, he enlisted in the National Guard while still in high school and wore his uniform to class on drill days. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1955, but he was later discharged after a series of pseudo-suicide attempts involving the ingestion of large amounts of aspirin and non-fatal cuts on his wrists. He praised Adolf Hitler in a suicide note. His discharge was ascribed to "... reasons of unsuitability, character, and behavior disorder".
Burros eventually joined the American Nazi Party, which had been founded by George Lincoln Rockwell, an ex-United States Navy pilot who had seen action in both World War II and the Korean War. In the late 1950s, Rockwell adopted a National Socialist philosophy because he felt it was another name for white nationalism. He also stated that he felt guilty that he had killed Germans during the Second World War and came to believe that they had a shared enemy: Jews, a group he accused, among other things, of creating and propagating communism. As a Naval pilot, Rockwell had attained the rank of commander. He retained the title upon founding the American Nazi Party.
Burros' Jewish heritage had been suspected by a number of fellow American Nazi Party members. Many of Rockwell's stormtroopers distrusted Burros not only for being Jewish, but also a self-hating Jew, and for his bizarre behavior. Burros would sometimes bring a knish to the American Nazi Party headquarters and make such statements as "Let's eat this good Jew food!" Burros also frequently spent time with Jewish women. In one incident, described in William H. Schmaltz' 1999 book, Hate: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party, Burros once publicly described a lurid fantasy in which the keys of a piano were modified to deliver electric shocks via wires attached to the Jewish victim of their choice. He believed that the combination of music from the piano and the electric shocks would cause them to convulse in rhythm to the piano and provide entertainment. Another example is the fact that he owned a bar of soap wrapped in paper with the words "made from the finest Jewish fat" imprinted on it.
Burros' Jewish background was made public in a New York Times article written by reporter John McCandlish Phillips. Phillips was an evangelical Christian who initially tried to reach out to Burros by bringing up statements which indicated that he felt trapped in the racist movement. However, his attempts were unsuccessful. Not long after the Times issue with the startling revelations of his Jewish heritage went on sale, Burros committed suicide.
In a press conference, a morose George Lincoln Rockwell praised Burros' dedication. He took the opportunity to rail against Jews, whom he referred to as "... a unique people with a distinct mass of mental disorders" and ascribed Burros' instability and suicide to "this unfortunate Jewish psychosis". Despite the fact that Burros was a Jew and distrusted by his stormtroopers, Rockwell had wished to maintain at least a working relationship with him.
Analysis of being a Jewish Nazi
Dan Burros was not the only Jewish member of the American Nazi Party. Leonard Holstein was the commander of the ANP's Los Angeles unit when it was active and later served the ANP in other capacities.
- Ted Robert Gurr. Violence in America: The History of Crime. Sage, 2004. pages 142-143
- The Believer DVD, "An Interview with Director Henry Bean", 2001
- State Klan Leader Hides Secret of Jewish Origin.
- From Jew to Jew-hater: the curious life (and death) of Daniel Burros.
- William H. Schmaltz, Hate: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party, 1999., Pg. 263
- Phillips, McCandlish (1965-10-31). "State Klan Leader Hides Secret of Jewish Origin". New York Times. p. 1.
- The fifth episode of the first season, titled "Nazi", aired on 18 October 1977. http://www.hulu.com/watch/685/lou-grant-nazi
- Spiders Cold Case
- One More Victim: The Life and Death of an American-Jewish Nazi by A. M. Rosenthal and Arthur Gelb (New American Library, 1967)
- Henry Bean, The Believer: Confronting Jewish Self-Hatred. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002. ISBN 1-56025-372-X.
- Photograph of Dan Burros from the Detroit Free Press
- "Old Smoke: The Death of Daniel Burros: A Jewish Klansman who did more than just hate himself." by William Bryk in New York Press
- DAN BURROS: Reasons to Believe, by Joel Lewis, NY Press
- "Hate and Hypocrisy" Intelligence Report from the Southern Poverty Law Center