Dan Burros

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Dan Burros
Born (1937-03-05)March 5, 1937
Queens, New York City, United States
Died October 31, 1965(1965-10-31) (aged 28)
Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Nationality American

Daniel 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.[1]

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.[2]

Early life[edit]

Daniel Burros was born to Jewish parents George and Esther Sunshine Burros in the Bronx. The family moved to Queens a few years later and Burros attended Hebrew school at Talmud Torah in Richmond Hill, where his bar mitzvah was held in 1950. [3] In high school, he 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.[citation needed]

Military service[edit]

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 failed 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".[4]

Political activity[edit]

Burros eventually joined 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.[4]


Burros' Jewish background was made public in a New York Times article written by reporter John McCandlish Phillips.[5] Phillips 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 the residence of his friend and fellow Klansman Roy Frankhouser in Reading, Pennsylvania.[6]

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".[7] 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[edit]

Burros is sometimes cited as an example of a self-hating Jew. He was also influenced by Francis Parker Yockey's Imperium.[8] The story of Dan Burros was the origin of Henry Bean's movie, The Believer. It also inspired an episode of the TV series Lou Grant.[9] and the season 5 episode of Cold Case called "Spiders’’.


  1. ^ Ted Robert Gurr. Violence in America: The History of Crime. Sage, 2004. pages 142–143
  2. ^ The Believer DVD, "An Interview with Director Henry Bean", 2001
  3. ^ Old Smoke: The Death of Daniel Burros: A Jewish Klansman who did more than just hate himself
  4. ^ a b From Jew to Jew-hater: the curious life (and death) of Daniel Burros. Archived February 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ State Klan Leader Hides Secret of Jewish Origin.
  6. ^ Bryk, William (25 February 2003). "Old Smoke: The Death of Daniel Burros: A Jewish Klansman who did more than just hate himself". 
  7. ^ William H. Schmaltz, Hate: George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party, 1999., Pg. 263
  8. ^ Phillips, McCandlish (1965-10-31). "State Klan Leader Hides Secret of Jewish Origin". New York Times. p. 1. 
  9. ^ The fifth episode of the first season, titled "Nazi", aired on 18 October 1977, http://www.hulu.com/watch/685/lou-grant-nazi

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