the Institute for Historical Review
Institute for Historical Review
In the early morning hours of July 4, 1984, the offices of the Institute for Historical Review in Torrance, southern California, were destroyed in a devastating arson attack. The assault was meant to end forever the work of a small but fiercely independent research and publishing center.
In the five and a half years since its founding in late 1978, the IHR had generated considerable notoriety as well as hateful hostility. In particular, the Institute’s revisionist publications on the Holocaust issue had enraged Jewish groups. Perhaps the most vehemently hostile of these was the Jewish Defense League, a militant Zionist group with a long record of violence that the US government’s FBI had identified as a terrorist organization.
Between February 1981 and October 1982, the Institute’s office in Torrance as well as individual IHR employees were targets of a systematic campaign of violence and harassment that included a drive-by shooting, three arson attacks, vandalization of IHR employee-owned automobiles, slashings of 22 tires of employee automobiles, JDL-organized demonstrations outside the IHR office, and numerous telephone threats during office hours and at night to IHR employees at home.
During the course of a JDL demonstration in front of the IHR office on March 19, 1981, JDL activists attacked the car of the landlord's agent, who had arrived to ensure security. Seventeen days later, on April 5, 1981, JDL hoodlums staged another violent demonstration outside the IHR office, during which an IHR employee was thrown to the ground and beaten.
In the early morning hours of June 25, 1981, came the first firebombing attack against the IHR office. Fortunately, the arson device -- similar to a “Molotov cocktail” -- caused only minor damage. A man claiming to represent the “Jewish Defenders” announced responsibility for the attack in phone calls to news agencies. The second arson attack against the Institute office came on April 25, 1982, in which a copy machine, a few pieces of furniture and some records were damaged. In a telephone message to a local news agency, the “Jewish Defenders” again claimed responsibility.
In an attack on Sept. 5, 1982, the IHR office was riddled with gunfire, demolishing two windows and damaging the front door. Additionally, a small arson device caused some slight damage to the front of the office. Later that day, as throughout the week, came a barrage of murder-threatening telephone calls.
In none of these cases was anyone ever arrested. Then, after nearly two years of relative calm, came the devastating 1984 Independence Day arson attack. A report in a special edition of the IHR Newsletter (August 1984) detailed the destruction:
“As a physical entity, the Institute for Historical Review has virtually ceased to exist. Ninety percent of our book and tape inventory -- the largest collection of revisionist historical literature to be found anywhere -- has been wiped out. Every last piece of office equipment and machinery -- including desks, chairs, files and shelves -- lay in charred heaps of useless, twisted scrap. Manuscripts, documents, artwork, galleys and film negatives -- products of more than six long years of a tough, dedicated effort to bring suppressed historical data to people the world over -- no longer exist. Tens of thousands of books ... estimated at over $300,000 in value, are gone ... More than 2,500 square feet of space that was once the world's most controversial publisher lies blackened in chaos and total ruin.”
For a long time the perpetrators’ identity remained a mystery. It was only 18 years later that responsibility for the attack was publicly and authoritatively established.
Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel
in court in 2001 (Credit: AP)
In late 2001 Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin and JDL activist Earl Krugel were arrested and charged with conspiracy to bomb a southern California office of U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa, as well as a Mosque in Culver City, California. In November 2002, during the course of the legal proceedings in the case, it was revealed that Krugel had boasted of his group’s responsibility for the 1984 arson attack against the IHR during a secretly recorded conversation on Nov. 14, 2001, with a confidential police or FBI informant.
Later it was learned that the Torrance Police Department had determined after an investigation of the attack against the IHR that the Jewish Defense League was responsible for the crime. That was the conclusion of a ten-page 1984 report on the Department’s investigation. (A redacted copy of the report was obtained by the Institute in January 2003.)
During an interrogation on Dec. 4, 1984, the report shows, police informant Chris Hignite related to police investigator G. Hilton that Michael Canale and Danny Nichols, both of whom she said she knew well, were involved in the July 4 attack, and that gasoline had been used in the arson. After Canale had been arrested for another, unrelated crime – the report also relates -- he was questioned on Nov. 28, 2004, by detective Hilton. During that interrogation, Canale admitted that JDL leader Rubin had told him a day or two beforehand of his plan to destroy the IHR offices, and that Krugel would “do the dirty work.”
Based on its investigation of the crime, the report notes, in December 1984 the Torrance Police Department submitted the case to the District Attorney’s office for criminal complaints against Irv Rubin, Earl Krugel, Michael Canale and Danny Nichols on arson and conspiracy charges.
But no arrest was ever made. During a telephone conversation on Dec. 5, 2002, Torrance Fire Department official Michael Freige told IHR director Mark Weber that in 1984 Torrance authorities had concluded that JDL activitists were reponsible for the arson attack against the IHR, but that charges were never filed because it was decided that there was not enough evidence for a successful prosecution of the case.
In November 2002 Rubin committed suicide while he was being held in detention in Los Angeles awaiting trial. Reportedly he had been despondent because he faced the prospect of a humiliating trial and a lengthy prison sentence. Krugel was eventually sentenced to 20 years federal imprisonment. In November 2005 he was killed in prison by a fellow inmate.
Sources and References
“Government’s Opposition To Defendant’s Motion for Revocation or Modificaton of Detention Order: Memorandum of Points and Authorities,” Nov. 20, 2002. United States of America, Plaintiff v. Earl Leslie Krugel, Defendant. US District Court for the Central District of California. Case No. CR 02- 39 (A) – RSWL. Submitted by Debra W. Yang, J. Chooljian, G. W. Jessner and D. D. Rubinstein.
Matt Krasnowski (Copley News Service), “Torrance fire tied to JDL member,” The Daily Breeze (Torrance, Calif.), Nov. 26 or 27, 2002
( http://www.rense.com/general32/review.htm )
“Supplementary Report” and “Continuation- Supplementary Report.” Torrance Police Dept., 1984. Ten pages. Case No. 84- 11489. Prepared by investigating officer and detective G. Hilton, and others.
Mark Weber, The Zionist Terror Network (IHR, 1993)
( http://ihr.org/books/ztn.html )