Originally created 02/18/99

Wofford student runs neo-Nazi group via Internet from dorm room

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- In a Wofford College dorm room adorned with a swastika flag, Adolph Hitler videos and a knife collection, Davis Wolfgang Hawke uses his computer to run the Knights of Freedom, a neo-Nazi group of about 200 members, say those who monitor such groups.

Wofford officials say while Hawke's views contradict the school's religious tradition that all people are equal, the First Amendment and school policy protect Hawke as long as he does not threaten others or incite violence.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Birmingham, Ala., has followed Hawke, who has his own room at Wofford's Shipp Hall, since he attended high school and lived in Westwood, Mass.

"His followers call him the chosen one," said Mark Potok, who works for the center. "Most of his recruiting efforts are on high school and college campuses."

Hawke's deputy director, who uses the pseudonym "Dallas Knight," is a Furman University student who also attended high school in Westwood, Potok said.

Participants of Hawke's web site, which portrays Hitler as a hero, sign on to the chat room with "Heil Hitler" and exit with "White Power." Hawke is pictured on the site wearing a Nazi uniform. His professors say the history and German major is extremely bright -- he has a 3.8 grade-point average -- but keeps to himself.

Group members pay $5 a month, which Hawke uses to print and mail pamphlets.

Hawke, who changed his name three years ago from Andrew Britt Greenbaum because he was tired of "putting up" with a Jewish name, says he formed the group because he hates minorities and wants to advance his political platform.

Although he says his stepfather is one-fourth Jewish, rumors that Hawke is Jewish are swirling around white supremacist organizations.

"If he is a Jew, he will have no stature left," said Tom Metzger, head of the California-based White Aryan Resistance. "People he is involved with will have nothing to do with him."

Although no Knights of Freedom members have been arrested and there is no evidence of violence, Jay Kaiman, the Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Atlanta, says he is concerned about the exposure Hawke and other supremacists get on the web.

"We're more concerned about people who sit in the back of the room at rallies or sit in their bedrooms with the doors closed, and quietly read this trash and feel empowered," Kaiman said.

Wofford officials say school policy and the First Amendment allow Hawke to operate the web site and mail information as long he does not threaten anyone or incite violence.

"The views attributed to this young man are contrary to the values of this college as a liberal arts institution, and as a partner with the United Methodist Church," Wofford Vice President Dan Maultsby said. "Our religious tradition teaches that all people are equal in the eyes of God."


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