Joseph Tommasi

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Joseph Tommasi
Joe Tommasi.jpg
Leader of the National Socialist Liberation Front
In office
March 2, 1974 – August 15, 1975
Preceded byposition established
Succeeded byDavid Rust
Personal details
Born(1951-04-15)April 15, 1951
DiedAugust 15, 1975(1975-08-15) (aged 24)
El Monte, California
Political partyAmerican Nazi Party

Joseph Charles Tommasi (1951 – August 15, 1975) was an American Neo-Nazi, who founded the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF) in 1974. Breaking with the conservative image of American Nazism and its "mass strategy", he advocated an armed guerrilla struggle against the "System". Tommasi advocated a radical form of leadership, and after founding the NSLF on March 2, 1974, began publication of a periodical titled Siege. Tommasi was derisively nicknamed "Tomato Joe" behind his back by rival neo-Nazis because of his Italian heritage and somewhat swarthy features.

Politics and lifestyle[edit]

Tommasi first rose to prominence as a young leader within the National Socialist White People's Party (NSWPP) in Arlington, Virginia.[citation needed] The NSWPP began to splinter following George Lincoln Rockwell's murder in 1967, and Tommasi frequently found himself at odds with Rockwell's successor, Commander Matt Koehl.[citation needed] Koehl, a strait-laced Hitlerist, objected to Tommasi's radical viewpoints, as well as his personal habits, which included smoking marijuana, wearing long hair, listening to rock 'n' roll and inviting a girlfriend for sexual activity at NSWPP headquarters whenever he was the overnight duty officer.[citation needed] Tommasi remained with the NSWPP until he moved to California and founded the NSLF.[1] The new group attracted many of the younger and more radical members of the NSWPP, and, as a result, the NSLF's membership grew rapidly while the NSWPP's influence went into steep decline. This only served to deepen the dislike Koehl and his more loyal followers felt toward Tommasi.[citation needed] Tommasi also sought membership among white college students who felt alienated by both the radical leftist movement as well as the mainstream conservative right.[citation needed] NSLF recruiting posters frequently depicted images of guns, and warned that America was facing an impending race war.[citation needed] Today, many neo-Nazi groups continue to espouse this belief.[citation needed]

Death and conspiracy theory[edit]

On August 15, 1975 Tommasi was killed while driving past NSWPP headquarters in El Monte, California.[citation needed] As was his custom whenever passing by, Tommasi gave the NSWPP guard stationed on the front lawn "the bird". On this occasion, the guard responded to the insult by pulling a pistol and firing, hitting Tommasi in the head.[citation needed] Tommasi was buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California beneath a bronze plaque depicting a mountain landscape and a Christian cross.[citation needed] The NSWPP guard was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to five years probation plus 120 days time already served, a light sentence that sparked a conspiracy theory stating that Tommasi's death was an assassination planned by the FBI, which was using the NSWPP as a front organization to infiltrate and disrupt the white nationalist movement as a whole.[citation needed] In truth, the building Joe was driving by had been purchased by him, while still in the NSWPP; Koehl convinced him (as he did many others) to put the building in the name of the NSWPP.[citation needed] He then kicked Joe out.[citation needed] This was standard operating procedure for Koehl's "real-estate building portfolio."[citation needed] Joe was not driving past when he was shot; he attacked the guard in a rage, since his headquarters had been stolen from him.[citation needed] The guard shot and killed him.[citation needed] The next issue of the NSWPP newspaper, "White Power," reported the incident as "valiant guard stops deranged madman" without ever mentioning the identity of the man killed, or the reason why.[citation needed]


Tommasi's life inspired fellow neo-Nazi James Mason to revive the NSLF in the early 1980s as a leaderless "philosophical concept or a state of mind" called Universal Order and to print a newsletter based on Tommasi's "Siege" periodical.[citation needed] A woman claiming to be Tommasi's sister made several posts on the Stormfront website forum in 2005 expressing her desire that Tommasi not be forgotten by white nationalists and stating her belief that Tommasi's death was a premeditated conspiracy and not just a spur-of-the-moment murder.[citation needed] Beyond the efforts of Mason and the sister, Joe Tommasi has remained largely forgotten by the neo-Nazi movement and very few photographs of him can be found in general circulation.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Goodrick-Clark, Nicholas (2002). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity. New York and London: New York University Press.

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