In 1977, Skokie, Illinois was home to around 40,500 Jews, thousands of whom were Holocaust survivors. Then, the National Socialist Party of America, a group of self-styled Nazis planned a march. In March of that year, the group requested a permit to march through the village, and were sued by Skokie to prevent it. The American Civil Liberties Union decided, controversially, to represent the Nazis on the basis of free speech, and the case eventually went to the United States Supreme Court, who ruled they should be allowed to march due to free speech concerns.
Join Arnie Bernstein, author of Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund, and Dr. Philippa Strum, former ACLU National Board member and Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in conversation about the case and its implications for our current time.
Arnie Bernstein is author of Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn & The Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund. He’s written for Tablet, AISH, and The New York Journal of Books, and been interviewed about the German-American Bund by The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic Channel, BBC & NPR radio, and German Public Television. Arnie knows about the Skokie Nazi rally from personal experience.
Philippa Strum is Professor Emerita at the City University of New York as well as the former director of U.S. Studies at the Wilson Center in Washington. Her prize-winning books include When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for the Speech We Hate; and Louis D. Brandeis: Justice for the People. She was also the founder of an organization that litigated and educated for civil liberties in Israel. Her most recent book is “On Account of Sex”: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Making of Gender Equality Law.