|1st President of the National Socialist Party of America|
|Succeeded by||Harold Covington|
|Born||November 3, 1944|
|Political party||National Socialist Party of America|
|Profession||Political activist, New Age author|
|Part of the Politics and elections and Politics series on|
Francis Joseph Collin (born November 3, 1944) is an American former political activist and Midwest coordinator with the National Socialist White People's Party, later known as the American Nazi Party. After being ousted for being partly Jewish (which he denied), in 1970, Collin founded the National Socialist Party of America. In the late 1970s, its plan to march in the predominantly Jewish suburb of Skokie, Illinois was challenged; however, the American Civil Liberties Union defended its freedom of speech and assembly in a case that reached the United States Supreme Court. The court in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie (1979), a major decision, ruled that the party had a right to march and to display a swastika, despite local opposition, due to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. After Collin was convicted and sentenced in 1979 for child molestation, he lost his position in the party.
After being released early on parole from prison, Collin created a new career as a writer, publishing numerous books under the pen name Frank Joseph. He wrote New Age and "hyperdiffusionist" works supporting the pseudoarchaeological idea that Old World peoples had migrated to North America in ancient times and created its complex societies of indigenous peoples. This thesis is rejected by mainstream scholars.
Collin was born and grew up in Chicago, Illinois, where he went to local schools. His father, Max Frank Collin, born Max Simon Cohn in Munich on August 23, 1913, the son of Jewish parents who later perished in The Holocaust, was a survivor of Dachau concentration camp. His mother, Virginia Gertrude née Hardyman (b. at Chicago on August 18, 1920), was Catholic.
As a young man, Collin in the 1960s joined George Lincoln Rockwell's National Socialist White People's Party. He became the Midwest coordinator. He broke with the NSWPP due to a disagreement with Rockwell's successor, Matt Koehl, who was elected as the party leader by popular vote after Rockwell was assassinated on August 25, 1967. The falling out stemmed in part from published accounts by Max Collin, Frank's father, who said that he was a Jewish Holocaust survivor and had changed his name from Cohen (or Cohn) to Collin. Frank Collin denied having Jewish roots and maintained that his father was not telling the truth.
In 1970, Collin set up another organization, the National Socialist Party of America, later known as the American Nazi Party. It attracted other disaffected members of the NSWPP, as well as Michael Allen, Gary Lauck and Harold Covington. Covington helped buy a building for the group which they called Rockwell Hall, where Collin and some other members lived in a barracks in upper floor. Collin ran for alderman of Chicago in 1975 and pulled 16% of the vote.
The NSPA began holding anti-black demonstrations in Chicago's Marquette Park. The Chicago authorities became concerned about violence and passed an ordinance which required demonstrations to post large insurance bonds. Collin went to the ACLU and they filed a suit. While the case was proceeding without public notice, Collin attempted to contact other cities about holding demonstrations. Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, responded with a notice that the group would need to post a bond, similar to the recently enacted ordinance in Chicago. Collin's plan for his neo-Nazi group to march in uniforms through Skokie, which was heavily Jewish with numerous residents who were Holocaust survivors, generated public outrage and the media attention which Collin sought.
The National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie case made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled on June 14, 1977 that the NSPA could march wearing uniforms with swastikas under the constitutional protections of freedom of speech and assembly. Instead of marching through Skokie, Collin and a handful of NSPA members decided instead to march through Chicago.
Also in 1977, Koehl's NSWPP began a campaign in their paper White Power about Collin's father being Jewish, including publications of what they stated were Max Simon Cohn's naturalization papers. Collin and the NSPA leadership continued to deny the claim and said the images were fakes.
During this time, according to Jeffrey Kaplan, Covington found pictures in Frank Collin's desk that linked Collin to the sexual abuse of young boys. In what Kaplan described as a play for power in the organization, Covington and the other NSPA members turned the evidence on Collin over to the police. After Collin was arrested, Covington took over leadership of the NSPA and moved the headquarters from Chicago to North Carolina. A 1980 article in The New York Times reported that "Frank Collin was expelled from the American Nazi Party for illicit intercourse with minors and the use of Nazi headquarters in Chicago for purposes of sodomy with children. The report indicates that the Nazis "tipped" the police who arrested Collin. Collin was convicted of child molestation and sentenced in 1979 to seven years in prison at the Pontiac Correctional Center. He served three years.
Upon his release from prison, Collin "reinvented himself under the pseudonym of Frank Joseph, a New Age writer and pagan worshiper." His time in Pontiac Correctional Facility in Illinois had coincided with the period when Russell E. Burrows worked there as a prison guard. He subsequently wrote many books and articles in support of Burrows Cave, an alleged cache of ancient treasure in an unrevealed location, supposedly discovered by Russell Burrows in southern Illinois." In 1987 he had his first New Age book published, The Destruction of Atlantis: Compelling Evidence of the Sudden Fall of the Legendary Civilization.
He wrote articles for Fate magazine, and was the editor of The Ancient American magazine. The Ancient American focuses on what it says is evidence of ancient, pre-Columbian transoceanic contact between the Old World and North America, with the implication that any complex aspect of indigenous culture must have originated from other continents. The magazine's claims are similar to discredited nineteenth century theories, and are considered dubious or exploitative by scholars and native American writers.
In 1979 Collin’s ambition to lead a new Nazi America was thwarted when he was arrested, convicted, and sent to prison on child molestation charges.
Covington, his rival for NSPA "power", made the fortuitous discovery (while rifling through Collin's desk) that the half-Jewish fuehrer also had a weakness for pedophilia and did not hesitate to photograph his dalliances with a number of young boys. As a result, Collin was sent to prison.