No known local ties to neo-Nazi group that marched through Madison

Gun Rights

A group of about 20 neo-Nazis who marched in Madison more than a week ago appear to have been led by an out-of-state former U.S. Marine, according to organizations that monitor hate groups.

The group carried swastika flags and chanted antisemitic slogans in a route that included State Street, the Capitol and Gates of Heaven, a historic building near James Madison Park that was previously a synagogue but is now a city-owned park shelter, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It’s not known if any of the people participating in the march were from the area, since most of them wore masks. But based on images captured by those who were there, the march’s leader was an unmasked man named Christopher Pohlhaus, also known as “Hammer.” He is a former U.S. Marine and leader of the neo-Nazi “Blood Tribe,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

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Attempts to find contact information for Pohlhaus were not successful.

The ADL says that in 2020, while living in San Antonio, Texas, “Pohlhaus grew an online following by selling white supremacist propaganda materials and gear, and through video-podcasts,” in which he “lectured followers about fitness and encouraged them to participate in ‘a last stand, a righteous war’ against those who ‘call for the destruction of their birthright and posterity.'”

Pohlhaus began to refer to his followers as the “Blood Tribe,” according to the ADL. By 2022, he’d moved to Maine and purchased land there for what the Southern Poverty Law Center described as a “white supremacist community that would provide a place for the Blood Tribe to network, strategize and train.” In 2023, the group began participating in anti-LGBTQ+ protests, including a protest at a July “Pride in the Park” event in Watertown, according to the ADL and the Watertown Daily Times.

At least two posts on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, reported the group traveled in a U-Haul truck and one other rental vehicle with a Kentucky license plate.

Officials with the city of Madison, the state, UW-Madison and other groups have condemned the march.

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