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Joseph Tommasi

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
Joseph Charles Tommasi

(1951-04-15)April 15, 1951
DiedAugust 15, 1975(1975-08-15) (aged 24)
El Monte, California
Political partyAmerican Nazi Party

Joseph Charles Tommasi (April 15, 1951 – August 15, 1975) was an American Neo-Nazi who founded the National Socialist Liberation Front. He advocated extremism and armed guerrilla warfare against the U.S. government[1] and what he called its "Jewish power structure." Tommasi wanted anarchy and lawlessness so that the "system" could be attacked without protection.[2]

Tommasi was derisively nicknamed "Tomato Joe" by rival neo-Nazis because of his Italian heritage and "less than Nordic complexion."[3]


Influenced by William Luther Pierce, Tommasi first rose to prominence as a young leader within the National Socialist White People's Party (NSWPP), later called the American Nazi Party, in Arlington County, Virginia.[4]

In 1969, Tommasi launched the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF) as a youth wing of the American Nazi Party. In 1970, David Duke joined the organization.[1]

In February 1972, Irv Rubin, a Jewish militant of the Jewish Defense League, was arrested after firing at Tommasi.[5]

The NSWPP had splintered following the 1967 murder of George Lincoln Rockwell, and Tommasi frequently found himself at odds with Rockwell's successor, Matthias Koehl. Koehl, a strait-laced follower of Adolf Hitler, objected to Tommasi's radical viewpoints, as well as his personal habits, which included smoking marijuana, wearing long hair, listening to rock and roll and inviting a girlfriend for sex at NSWPP headquarters.[2] These led to Tommasi being ejected from the NSWPP in 1973.[4]

In March 1974, Tommasi launched the NSLF as a separate organization.[4] The group attracted many of the younger and more radical members of the NSWPP. It used propaganda, such as pictures showing the twisted wreckage of a Bank of America branch.[2]

Tommasi sought membership among white college students who felt alienated by both the radical leftist movement as well as the mainstream conservative right.[4]

However, Tommasi had not given up trying to regain control of the NSWPP.[6]


On August 15, 1975, Tommasi was killed by a single bullet to the head in front of the headquarters of the NSWPP, his rival group, in El Monte, California. Numerous weapons were found at the headquarters, including a gun that had been recently fired.[7] David Rust, who was with Tommasi at the time, stated that someone had directed an obscene gesture towards them.[8] Witnesses said that Tommasi walked into the front yard carrying a club and got into an argument.[9] One member allegedly told him that if he came any closer, he would be shot.[8]

Jerry Keith Jones, 18 years old, was suspected in the murder.[10]

Tommasi was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park.[11]


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 resurrect Tommasi's "Siege" periodical.[2][1][12][13]



  1. ^ a b c Kaplan, Jeffrey S. (2000). Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-0340-2.
  2. ^ a b c d Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (July 31, 2003). Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press. ISBN 978-0814731550.
  3. ^ Kaplan, Jeffrey S. (Jul 31, 2002). The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization. Rowman & Littlefield.
  4. ^ a b c d "Atomwaffen and the SIEGE parallax: how one neo-Nazi's life's work is fueling a younger generation". Southern Poverty Law Center. February 22, 2018.
  5. ^ "Jewish Militant Charged On Coast in Attack on Nazi". The New York Times. United Press International. February 13, 1972.
  6. ^ "Charges Dropped". Star-News. June 9, 1976.
  7. ^ "Preliminary Hearing Slated in Slaying of Former Nazi Leader".
  8. ^ a b "Career of Slain Nazi Leader Started and Ended-by a Bullet-in El Monte". Los Angeles Times. August 21, 1975.
  9. ^ "American Nazi Slain". The Desert Sun. United Press International. August 16, 1975.
  10. ^ "Preliminary Hearing Slated in Slaying of Former Nazi Leader". Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1975.
  11. ^ "Find A Grave: Joseph C Tommasi".
  12. ^ "Southern Poverty Law Center: JAMES MASON". Southern Poverty Law Center.
  13. ^ Mason, James (2003). Siege: The Collected Writings of James Mason. Black Sun Publications. ISBN 0-9724408-0-1.

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