Now It Can Be Told: Why I Pretended to Be a Neo-Nazi


Dr. Pluss earned his Ph.D. in medieval History at the University of Chicago in June, 1983, under the tutelage of Professors Julius Kirshner and the late Eric Cochrane. He also earned a Certificate of Study in Civil Law from Queens’ College, Cambridge (1980-1981). He held a postdoctoral Instructorship in the College of the University of Chicago from 1982 to1984, and then rose to the rank of Associate Professor with Tenure at the William Paterson University of New Jersey (1984-2000). He served in Command Observations during the Vietnam War and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He is a Certified Show Jumping Instructor and a Certified Psychoanalyst (University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 1978). From January 2002 to March, 2005, he served as an Adjunct Instructor in History and Political Science at Fairleigh- Dickinson University, Metropolitan Campus, where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in History and International Relations.

Editor's Note 3-12-07 Contrary to the statements he makes in this article Jacques Pluss now confirms he is a nazi, as HNN reported here on March 12, 2007.

Editor's Note 1/16/06:A year ago, in a controversial decision, Fairleigh Dickinson University fired historian Jacques Pluss after it was revealed that he was a member of the National Socialist Movement. (The school insisted he was fired for missing classes.) The decision drew national headlines. A Neo-Nazi on the faculty of a bona fide university? News accounts indicated that Pluss, an adjunct for several years at the school, was a popular teacher. Students said he didn't bring his politics into the classroom. It didn't seem to add up. It didn't for a reason, says Mr. Pluss.

Throughout the course of my academic career, I came to hold in deep respect the scholarship of the French Deconstructionists, particularly Jacques Derrida and Michele Foucault (especially Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge and his History of Madness). At the same time, my work – in teaching and in academic writing – has been heavily influenced by the notion of Geistesgeschichte, as articulated by one of the premier medievalists, Ernst Kantorowicz. All of those scholars stress, each in their own way, the need for the historian to “become” her or his subject in order to develop a relationship with it.

I have also been a life-long non-academic author, primarily of poetry. In that capacity, I developed a feel – yes, “feel” is about the only way I can put it – for the poets of the Romantic Era, particularly the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron, and the prose of Mary Shelley. Through reading them, in my own dolce styl nuovo, it slowly yet surely dawned upon me that any attempt to understand a group, a movement, or an individual psyche, would have to include becoming, as much as an individual can, the subject under study. These notions are fully articulated in my first novel, Jumping Fences. An Artfully Crafted Madness ( Ridgewood, NJ and Aarau, Switzerland: Aargau Books LLC, 2005). Jumping Fences is a disguised episodical autobiography focusing on my emotional, romantic and intellectual struggles from my teen years to 2003.

To move to the central point of this piece, why and how did I become a neo-Nazi (in fact, a rather prominent one) in February, 2005? In truth, I have never been a person of passionate political persuasion. Yet tyranny from either the right or the left has forever seemed anathema to me. And, after producing a novel centered upon highly personal, passionate and emotion material, I decided to shift gears and enter the political realm, for the purpose of gathering research to write a book on a political subject in which I could personally partake and which was “fringe” in the most essential aspect of the word. Those literary ruminations brought me to the National Socialist Movement, the most flashy neo-Nazi group I could find. Flashy, to be sure. Completely skewed in political and social outlook, no doubt. So, I downloaded an application form on February 14, 2005, and, after sending a $25.00 check and waiting about a week, my application was heartily accepted.

Accept me? Well, of all things, why not? I was hardly surprised. After all, not many academics holding doctorates applied. In fact, not many individuals with an education over the high school level applied. With me, the NSM performed a true set of kudos. They put me on their broadband radio station immediately. My weekly show, “White Viewpoint,” spewed venom against Jews, Blacks and Hispanics. All I needed to do was to keep harping on the same pedantic nonsense about Jewish world conspiracy, the “Browning” of America,” and the failure of our present leaders in Washington to stem the tide of illegal immigration from south of our national borders. If I could give the party line in an articulate manner, back up my reasoning with reference to actual current events, and quote from historical, examples, all the better!

What of my dismissal from the Metropolitan Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University? In fact, the whole “dismissal” was very easily engineered. No, a member of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith did not stumble across my radio broadcasts. No, I surely did not spout Nazi propaganda in the classroom. No, I did not show up on campus in a brown-shirted Storm Trooper uniform. All I had to do was write a letter.

I think my audience will find the exact circumstances of my “outing” myself quite amusing. And, frankly, the whole departure from Fairleigh-Dickinson was an inevitability. You see, in late January, 2005, my school secretary informed me, on the sly, that no history adjuncts would be reappointed in September, 2005. Her reasoning was “financial cut backs.” Since, on top of my impending departure, I’d already held a tenured post (Associate Professor of History, William Paterson University of New Jersey, 1984-2000 [tenured 1988]) which I’d left in order to write and work with horses, I considered that the time was right to use myself as a human literary experiment. The letter itself, noting that I was a dangerous member of an international neo-Nazi group and also probably a member of the Irish Republican Army (nonsense, of course), was posted by me and mailed simply to “Editor, University Newspaper, Fairleigh-Dickinson University, 1000 River Road, Teaneck, NJ, USA.” What gave the whole affair a true “punch” was that the letter was posted from the Republic of Ireland (it was composed in Galway and posted in the village of Spital) while I was in that beautiful land on a Spring Break vacation with my grown daughter!

Apparently, the Monday morning following Spring Break (March 21, 2005), a completely panicked Faculty Cabinet met in secret session, my letter was read aloud by the President of the Cabinet, and it was decided that I be “removed from the classroom with pay” for the remainder of the term. I was notified of that action via a cell phone call from my School Director, Professor Faremarz Fatemi, at 5:30 pm that Monday, at my home. I was not told of any Faculty Cabinet Meeting. When asked why I was being “removed,” the Director’s only response was that “the decision had been made for the convenience of the University.” No reference was made to any political activities or organizations. I requested, and was not permitted, a hearing with the School Dean. Just ten days later, on March 31, 2005, a lengthy article appeared in the Equinox, citing excessive absences which never occurred. My political orientation as a neo-Nazi was surely described, but it was not cited as a reason for my removal. A number of statements made on my radio program, all anti-minority, were quoted, also. I discovered the true chronology of events through a student of mine who reported for the Equinox, had seen the letter, and had concurrently been informed of the actual situation through his therapist at the University Mental Health Clinic.

From there, a sensational Nazi-busting story was leaked (probably by student reporters) to the local press, the Internet, and so forth, and I was on my way to living the experiences I needed in order to gather live research for my forthcoming volume on the “wacky White Power Movement” in the United States, tentatively entitled “False Blizzard.” I resigned from the National Socialist Movement in early October, 2005.

The reaction of my (former) “colleagues” in the National Socialist Movement came in two phases. They corresponded to the two phases I employed in resigning from the group. First, at the end of the first week of October, 2005, I resigned from the National Socialist Movement via an email (which I didn’t have the stomach to keep) to the “Commander” of the NSM, Jeffrey Schoep of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I noted that if the NSM existed during the actual Third Reich Adolf Hitler would probably have purged most members. That comment raised the hair on their backs, I’m sure. But, publicity about my departure was kept under wraps. Clearly, the NSM did not want to make public the loss of one of their National Officers, who had been made a Lifetime Member in August 2005.

The second phase came about a week later, when I disclosed to a number of White Power message boards that I had, in fact, joined the group to research a new book. I told them I had “outed myself” without going into any detail. At that point, all Hell broke loose. I was vilified on the Internet via scurrilous attacks against my sanity, my military record – and its lack of availability to public scrutiny as per two Executive Orders (Executive Order 1975 and Executive Order 2000 in re: National Security) – and my academic credentials. I was threatened physically via early morning phone calls to my residence. Likewise, my fiancee was vilified and threatened. Frankly, I have little fear of any physical reprisals. Members of most White Power groups have neither the courage, the organizational skill, nor the desire to endanger themselves, to do anybody in my position any physical harm. Still. . . .

Finally, what were the reactions of my colleagues and my students? Well, the reactions of my colleagues were, essentially, monochromatic. It became clear to me very quickly after my “removal” from the classroom that I was completely unwelcome on campus. On three trips there after my outing myself, I received the complete silent treatment. I was simply treated as if I were not present. On one memorable occasion, a full-time colleague of mine from the History faculty actually moved to the other side of the hallway as I walked to the exit for the parking lot. I was completely persona non grata, and that was that.

In terms of my students, I saw none on my last trips to the campus. I do not believe this was in any way intentional, however. Two students phoned me at my home (yes, I was one of those types to give out my home number at exam time) with truly kind messages of support. One insisted she could not believe what was being said about the “dangerous neo-Nazi” professor. The other told me that “no matter what my politics were, it didn’t matter to him. I was still one of his best teachers.” Frankly, he made me tear. Then, there were the others – maybe between half a dozen and a dozen – who made negative statements about me for the student newspaper or an Internet source. They said things like “he seemed like an unbiased teacher, but as I look back at things. . . .” Those comments hurt. Yet, for the sake of the success of my book research, they had to be accepted with as much humor as I could muster.

Did I reveal the truth to any of my students? Did I attempt to take my shying colleagues into my confidence? No. Absolutely not. Revealing my research to others would have meant intellectualizing it to myself. I would have lifted my psyche from its necessary emotional context. As much as was possible, I had to assume the role. I had to become, as much as my very being allowed me, the subject of my study. In the final analysis, you see, no volume could make live Ernst Kantorowicz’s idea of Geistesgeschichte without fully partaking the “spirit of the era,” even if that meant forcing myself to wear a neo-Nazi facade until I came to understand, in the core of my poetic sense, the neo-Nazis as the fraudulent thugs my mere intellect told me they were.

In conclusion, if there is any lesson I hope to impart to the historical community, it is that we historians will never grasp history as a felt and sensed discipline without an attempt to live a historical era as the British Romantic Poets lived the joy, and the torment, motivating and rising from their verse.

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Jacques Anthony Pluss - 4/4/2009

Some brief notes on what's occurred these past couple of years, considered as I toured, once again, the KZ at Dachau outside of Munich one grey, snowy day this March 1)The research portion of my forthcoming volume on the Battle of Berlin is almost done (and that's what I was in Munich for--to use various archives) 2) One of the most annoying "thorns in my side" some time back, Bill White, is now in Federal custody in Chicago 3) All of the "bluster" about my having "invented" a military record came to absolutely nothing (since there was no lie involved) 4) The National Socialist Movement moved to Detroit so that, as I'm told, Commander Jeff Schoep could follow a new 'love interest'. No matter how many nonsensical "press releases" he may have issued (with White's happy help) about my departure from his NSM, I'll never forget his late-night call to me in September, 2005, begging me not to resign 5) Clifford Herrington, NSM Chairman, left that group in disgrace over his connections to Satanism 6) Mike Blevins (aka VonBluvens) of "White Supremacy" radio fame has been forbidden to partake in National Socialist broadcasting activities by his domineering wife (!) 7) The same old untrustworthy "White Power" figures, including Hal Turner, Don Black and David Duke, rise once more to the fore and 8) Having confused, disinformed, and misguided just about everyone, inside and outside the "White Power Movement" (as were part of my orginal orders from "Stille Hilfe"--chronicled elsewhere), I'm still here, a good National Socialist to the core, researching, writing, heading up my own small Party, and happily (yet, of course, legally and legitimately) visiting Europe to have working vacations. I've even, apparently, truly managed to annoy some ex-Hitler Youth retired academic who posts by the name of "Dwight Moody!" And, what's best, I haven't a financial care in the world while I watch our relatively new U.S. President and his cast of pool-room characters drive us deeper and deeper into what will, in sum, be eventual financial ruin. So, if anybody's "keeping score" out there, who seems to be winning, eh? And to any of my former students or colleagues whom I seem to have shocked or let down, well, I tell you, I couldn't give a damn--and I never did. You were always a mere means to an end--that is, giving me some academic work to occupy my mind while I worked, Nazi-wise, covertly. In sum, I'll just keep on keep'in on, as they say!
Dr. Jacques Reinhard Heydrich Pluss, Leader, The New American National Socialist Party, ANNP, and Independent Scholar.

Jacques Anthony Pluss - 4/4/2009

Ah, Bill, all I can say -- albeit a bit "after the fact" -- is that you misread my statements on Executive Orders! Typical. I intended to point out the years they were issued, not their actual number. And neither relates, directly, to Vietnam service, but rather to more general National Security issues. But, you're in prison right now, correct?
Dr. Jacques Reinhard Heydrich Pluss, Leader, The New American National Socialist Party, ANNP and Independent Scholar.

Der Scribe - 10/19/2008

This story was written by Kurt Vonnegut and released as a book called 'Mother Night' in 1961. Nick Nolte did a great depiction of the main character in the movie adaption in 1996.
Kurt Vonnegut also wrote a fictional book titled 'Now It Can Be Told' (as Kilgore Trout) in his book Breakfast of Champions.

Der Scribe - 10/19/2008

This is a great story, it was written by Kurt Vonnegut and released as a book called 'Mother Night' in 1961. Nick Nolte did a great depiction of the main character in the movie adaption in 1996.
Kurt Vonnegut also wrote a fictional book titled 'Now It Can Be Told' (as Kilgore Trout) in his book Breakfast of Champions.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

This article and comment page evidences plainly the depraved levels to which HNN will not refrain from sinking.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Rather than weaving theories or asking for the proving of a negative, how about just asking

1. What is the working title of Mr. Pluss's new book ?

2. When is it scheduled to appear in print ?

3. Who commissioned it ?

4. Who will publish it ?

5. How did Mr. Pluss decide to write it ?

6. What are the reasons why this historian is writing a book about the present day ?

7. What are the (preliminary) conclusions of the book, or, at least, which questions is it expected to address ?

8. What kind of reporters or "historians" running this website, cannot be bothered to ask such basic questions before putting something like this out ?

Dwight Moody - 3/6/2007

In the remote event that someone out there is still interested, Pluss's appointment as American director of Stille Hilfe, a shadowy German neo-Nazi group that raises money for war criminals, is identified on his blogspot as Brigadennfuhrer Walter Schellenberg. Schellenberg,who was second in command of the Gestapo, died in 1952, shortly after his release from prison. This gives some insight into Pluss's mental state, if more is needed.

Dwight Moody - 3/4/2007

Good Lord! Are you off your medication again Jacques?

Jacques Anthony Pluss - 2/7/2007

Well, after all of the threats (note comments by Slovjanski, Jefferson, and the mysterious FHE) and lies (note Bill White and Clifford Herrington) thrown at me, I'm still here. What of my detractors? Slovjanski and Jefferson have disappeared into thin air (I dare not conjecture where they may be, but somehow, one or another form of detention comes to mind.) Nobody sought me out for committing fraud, since there was no fraud. Herrington (formerly Chairman of the National Socialist Movement)left the NSM in disgrace in the Summer, 2006, after it was discovered that he and his wife were running a Satan cult -- and, as rumor would have it, were using NSM funds to worship the Devil. White, the penultimate megalomaniac, broke from the NSM and started his own national socialist group, the American National Socialist Workers' Party. In doing so, he precipitated one of the most juicy and entertaining scandals in American national socialism, as he and the leadership of the NSM traded barbs, insults, and lies which are still flying about. His narcissistic actions gave opposition groups, such as the "Citizens against Hate" and the more powerful Jewish Anti-Defamation League, more harmful information than they'd been able to gather up on their own in years. As for me, I'm studying and writing away, although I find I've picked a more daunting task (NSM Infiltration) than I had at first realized. Oh, and by the way, "infiltrating" a national socialist group does not necessarily mean that I'm not a National Socialist. I was merely advised not to indicate my own actual political leanings until the dust of my departure from the NSM had settled. In fact, I'm probably one of the few true National Socialists in this country, in spite of my not belonging to any American national socialist organization. For more, see the article on me in Wikipedia (actually, a pretty good job on their part), my http://pluss-true-national-socialist.blogspot.com and my http://pluss-stille-hilfe-blogspot.com. Finally, it has been a pleasure checking in after a rather long silence on my part. SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Dr. Jacques PLUSS (honoris causa).

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Mr. Young,

Correction. Piss Christ is a photograph not a painting. Let's not give Andres Serrano any credit that he doesn't deserve. He is not a painter.

Piss Christ is a photo of a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine not a "painting of a toilet."

Carry on...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Mr. White,

Take a powder...


just not your AmeriKKKa...

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

If ever I saw an "in like a lion, out like a lamb" answer, that's got to qualify.

I do exhibit a certain zeal, which I believe is preferable to the langour and complacency that overtakes so many academics.

As for dogmatism, well, if asking questions is an expression of dogmatism, I suppose so. But that isn't what the word "dogmatism" means. And I'm not the guy who goes around making hiring decisions, justifying them by the vacuous phrase "good of the university," and then saying in effect that being a department chair never means having to offer a justification for your decisions. That would be closer to the familiar sense of "dogmatism."

Is candor really so difficult? If an adjunct is hitting on students, or can't teach, cause for termination is pretty obvious. It's a sad state of affairs when one can't simply say that in the academy, supposedly a place devoted to inquiry, knowledge, truth and all the rest. I suppose candor is something one leaves to the "zealous" and the "dogmatic"? Everybody else is entitled to speak in mendacious euphemisms, and then to attack those who don't speak that way as "zealots" and "dogmatists". A fine day's work.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

To Jim Williams:

Believe me, I do understand what it's like to be a department chair. This is going to sound terrible, but: some of my best friends have been department chairs! And conversely, some of my department chairs have been good friends of mine...

But the difficulty-of-being-a-department chair issue is a red herring introduced by Professor Jefferson (and which I happened to have followed for a couple of posts). It isn't what my original post was about. My post raised a much simpler question, one to which Jefferson admits he has no answer. The question is: was Pluss dismissed because his attendance was genuinely bad, or did FDU make that story up because it lacked the candor to dismiss him on other grounds?

If the latter is the case, that strikes me as remarkable. It suggests that we academics take for granted that an institution can simply lie about hiring/firing decisions if the person in question is unpopular and/or an adjunct.

This is why I titled my post the "real issues here." Jacques Pluss is obviously an intellectual non-entity. There is no real reason to discuss his absurd plight--and actually, no intelligible way of doing so if we can't even figure out basic facts. The real issue is: faced with a guy they take to be a neo-Nazi, does FDU dismiss him as a neo-Nazi? No: they dismiss him as incompetent on factual grounds that no one seems to be discussing and that the Professor Jeffersons of the world would rather that no one ever discussed, lest the prerogatives of department chairmanship be threatened (the prerogative of doing whatever you want but not giving reasons because it's such a "hassle").

Academics have a very high opinion of themselves and their profession. I have seen people here at HNN insist that there is no nepotism and perfect transparency in academia, at a higher level than that in other professions. I'm wondering out loud how such claims can be reconciled with the outstanding questions of the FDU case. That is what I take to be the "real" issue. Jefferson's department chairman idees fixes are a side issue. A pathetic side issue, but a side issue nonetheless.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Yeah, it justifies dismissal. But does it justify dismissal on grounds of absenteeism? If wearing Nazi regalia on campus justifies dismissal, what is the problem in dismissing him on precisely those grounds? Why manufacture a story about absenteeism (if it is manufactured, which is still unclear).

I honestly cannot believe that we're to accept the idea that universities can legitimately fire people on a "bogus" or "dodge" basis, when the real basis for dismissal is something that people talk up on a website. That seems to be the presumption governing this entire thread.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Well, thanks for the lecture. I can tell you run a tight ship at your department. Like so many department chairmen, however, you seem to think that your position of power entitles you to a free pass to say or do anything you want regardless of whether you have a reason for it.

Actually I have a full-time position right now. I got the position after adjuncting for eleven years at seven institutions in two states--seven of the years and six of the institutions in New Jersey. So I think I do understand the nature of the "conventions" that govern adjunct life.

I also know the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie. Do you? If FDU wanted to terminate Pluss without reason as it was legally entitled to do, why did it cite a reason? If the reason was false, why cite it at all? How is bigotry to be handled by lying?

Incidentally, you say that FDU chose to cite Pluss's "poor attendance." Well, I was precisely asking whether his attendance record was poor. He says it's not. You say it was. I know you're at this point out of the habit of providing evidence for your views, but evidence is what I was seeking.

You say Pluss was "most likely" threatening a lawsuit. Apart from the fact that your speculation is not evidence that he was, may I ask: How can an adjunct hired on an at-will basis threaten a lawsuit for termination of employment? If an adjunct can legally be terminated without cause, why would FDU be worried about the possibility of a suit that would be dismissed before it got off the ground? And if such a suit was in the offing, why would lying about his attendance help them?

While I'm in interrogatory mode, I wonder if you could explain: why exactly is it "impossible" for adjuncts to be screened properly? I can see it if the department chair is delinquent in his responsibilities (or has procrastinated a hiring decision until two weeks before classes start), but otherwise, there's nothing "impossible" about it.

Universities, you say, are too cowardly to take a moral stand. True enough. Maybe department chairs who feel that no one "profits" from giving reasons for the decisions they make are part of the same problem.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

You might be interested in the exchange just above your post.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Sorry to be parochial, but frankly, I found myself unable to take this story seriously except on one issue: Pluss claims that he was never absent from his classes, but he claims that he was fired by Fairleigh Dickinson for being absent. This is an easily-resolved dispute and it has significance that goes beyond Pluss.

If he is wrong, he is wrong and there's an end to it.

But if he is right, FDU fired him by fabricating facts about his attendance record. That strikes me as having a lot more significance than the rest of this nonsense. If they can fabricate facts in his case and get away with it, they can do it in anyone's case.

I'd also like to know whether there was a hiring freeze at FDU during the relevant time, as Pluss says. I ask because I happened to have been making inquiries into adjuncting at FDU around that time and never heard a word about it.

Anyone know the answers?

Jasa Petrovic Slovjanski - 2/18/2006

When that legislation passes, the copies of his book will make a solid case for the prosecution. I hope you invest in a high-quality shredder Doctor Pluss.

F H E - 2/17/2006

You could post this individual's DD-214 with his Social Security Number and Place of Birth Blackened out and this would put all of your critics to rest peacefully. Otherwise I am afraid as the song goes...this beat goes on and on and on and on!


F H E - 2/17/2006

Mr. Jasa Petrovic has made accurate and challenging statements here Mr. Pluss. I hope you will find the courage and connviction to answer them with honesty and straightforwardness rather than tap dance around the issue.


F H E - 2/17/2006

Mr. Pluss there are no such animals as sealed DD-214's. And there are no longer and Top Secret, Secret or Confidential Operations or Happenings sealed away about the Vietnam war or any of it's participants. The CIA itself announced this just late last year (2005). And the National Personnel Records Center located in St. Louis, MO has opened all of it's files on the war as well. You Sir are a fraud trying to make a buck off of pure fantasy and unfortunately for you my friend there are many organizations out to watchdog cad losers such as yourself. I invite you to visit just a fe of them to see what you are up against prior to continuing your facade!



And I have some new pending Legislation for you to read as well so you can know what laws you are up against for your suspected crimes.


We suspect you are in violation of numerous paragraphs of Title 18 USC as it is already and we WILL determine if you are or are not and then will arrange to have you prosecuted if you in fact are.

Maybe you could share a cell with another convicted felon- Scott Peterson of Durham North Carolina. Murderer and Purple Heart Fraud extrodinaire???

Jasa Petrovic Slovjanski - 2/17/2006

Ok I did a little checking and confirmed what I previously thought. MACV grew out of MAAG, and was not a unit. Pluss should be able to explain what unit he was in within the Army at least before he was attached to MACV as he explained. Here's the problem though. He claims to have done secret missions with MACV, which implies MACV-SOG. Well that involved Marine Recon, Navy SEALs, and Special Forces- sooooooo...if he was in the US Army but WASN'T Special Forces...what the hell was he? Whatever he was, this would appear in his military record(as he was still part of the army) and as said before, these are not sealed.

Time to come clean Jacques, or do you want the SF fakebusters to make you do it?

Jasa Petrovic Slovjanski - 2/17/2006

First of all, if Jacques Pluss "infiltrated" NSM in order to write this book, why is it clearly about his fake experiences in Vietnam, and nothing on the publisher's description or Amazon page even MENTIONS NSM, Neo-Nazism, White Nationalism, or anything remotely related?

Now on the most important matter- Dr. Pluss is clearly a fake vet and here's why. US military service records are not "sealed", period. His DD214 WILL list what unit he was in, how long he served over there, and what part of MACV(I believe it's actually MAACV) he was attached to. DD214's do NOT contain anything related to missions save for information related to citations, which he claims to have.

I will submit Dr. Pluss' information to Veriseal.org, which has informed me that they have contacts with SF veterans organizations that bust fakes. It will not take very long at all once that happens. At the same time I have also related his claims to the local military historian of my state's VA, and she as well confirmed that he must be a fake.

Dr. Pluss options to avoid this embarassment. First of all, I am not going to buy his idiotic book under any circumstances- he MUST provide which units he served in. I want REAL units. Believe me if the Vietnam veteran's associations have to they WILL buy his book just to bust him. They are far more interested in busting fakes that make money from their lies, and this is a clear case of that.

Jasa Petrovic Slovjanski - 2/17/2006

First of all, if Jacques Pluss "infiltrated" NSM in order to write this book, why is it clearly about his fake experiences in Vietnam, and nothing on the publisher's description or Amazon page even MENTIONS NSM, Neo-Nazism, White Nationalism, or anything remotely related?

Now on the most important matter- Dr. Pluss is clearly a fake vet and here's why. US military service records are not "sealed", period. His DD214 WILL list what unit he was in, how long he served over there, and what part of MACV(I believe it's actually MAACV) he was attached to. DD214's do NOT contain anything related to missions save for information related to citations, which he claims to have.

I will submit Dr. Pluss' information to Veriseal.org, which has informed me that they have contacts with SF veterans organizations that bust fakes. It will not take very long at all once that happens. At the same time I have also related his claims to the local military historian of my state's VA, and she as well confirmed that he must be a fake.

Dr. Pluss options to avoid this embarassment. First of all, I am not going to buy his idiotic book under any circumstances- he MUST provide which units he served in. I want REAL units. Believe me if the Vietnam veteran's associations have to they WILL buy his book just to bust him. They are far more interested in busting fakes that make money from their lies, and this is a clear case of that.

Ralph Jefferson - 2/14/2006

Well, it is rather peculiar form of attestation when you maintain that a retired Marine Corps Brigadier General named John Reeves can attest to the validity of your Viet Nam experiences, and the standard reference books indicate that there is not and never was a Marine Corps general named John Reeves. What is the value of a false name on a dust jacket endorsement?

HNN - 2/12/2006

Mr. Jefferson, there is very good reason why General John Reeves will not appear on any site or list. General Reeves placed himself in a certain amount of peril to attest to my book on the back cover, and both he and I had to secure a number of permissions allowing me even to request his opinion of my work or write this short reply. He is in "Jumping Fences," but under a pseudonym -- as are virtually all the individuals from Armed Forces personnel described in my book. This was required for a number of reasons I can not list here or anywhere. I will say no more on the topic . If you or any other readers of my piece in HNN doubt what I've said, there's not a thing I can do about it.-- Jacques Pluss

Ralph Jefferson - 2/8/2006

Except that the Directory of General Officers of the United States and the Directory of Flag Officers fail to list such a person as John Reeves.

HNN - 2/2/2006

I have tried to avoid making ad hominem comments on this site. After all, it's discussion of History and historiography that make HNN such a good venue for debate. However, the comments made about me by Clifford Herrington, Chairman of the (infiltrated) National Socialist Movement move me to one or two statements. First, like many of my critics, Herrington fails to read carefully. I served in Command Observations in the Vietnam Conflict, not Special Forces. Second, if Mr. Herrington truly wished to learn about my m.o.s. and my particular operations in the Nam, he could easily do so by reading the pertinent chapters in my first book, Jumping Fences. An Artfully Crafted Madness. Should he doubt what he reads, I remind him that one of the attestations on the book's back cover was composed by a retired United States Marine Corps Brigadier General, John Reeves. Finally, for more information on Mr. Herrington, readers can go to http://www.johnnyleeclary.com/nsm.htm, which chronicles much of his work in the White Power Movement.

Jacques Pluss

Ralph Jefferson - 1/28/2006

Jacques Pluss is no doubt a person of fragile mental health, but this could be said of any Nazi, especially a person for whom 40 million dead in World War II is apparently not enough and who is still a Nazi in 2006.

The National Socialist Movement (NSM) is legal in the United States because of our totalistic approach to the First Amendment. I leave the wisdom of that for others to debate but should like to enphasize once more that the Nurenberg Tribunal in 1946, chaired by Justice Jackson of the United States Supreme Court, ruled that Nazism was not a political opinion but a criminal conspiracy. In most European countries today, being a Nazi, wearing a swastika, or denying the Holocaust are serious criminal offenses. Some of the darlings of Chairman Herrington's organization, like Ernst Zundel and David Irving are in prison at this moment, in Germany and Austria respectively, for such offenses.

clifford D Herrington - 1/28/2006

I find the attempted self re habilitation of Prof Jacques Pluss interesting and contradictory in a number of ways.
However, his purported attempt to infiltrate and make sinister "membership" in a registered political party and legal American National Organization, of which I was a founding Charter in 1974 ridiculous and absurd. The man didn't have the stomach nor fortitude to withstand attacks purportedly from his life time membership in the classic elite, let alone to comprehend the full extent of which his "membership" entailed nor the fact that the NSM is totally legal and there is nothing to find. His endeavor is tantamount to creating, per yellow journalism of the 1890's a"sensationalism" that can only be compared to that surrounding "hollywood celluloid addicts" wanting attention. Being a Viet Nam Vet myself and having served ten years in the US Army, I am surprised that he would have even qualified for the "special forces"
As far as his purported "self appointed task" of infiltrating the NSM, anyone can join of course, on racial standards of course, as we are a White Organization, just like there are Black and hispano organizations. So, as far as I can tell he is merely trying to cover his tracks, make excuses and provide fodder for a supposed "whacko right wing ""nut's"" book" to profit off of the well intentioned actions of sincere and honest citizens.
Lot's of luck Pluss!

With no respect,
Chairman NSM

Lisa Kazmier - 1/26/2006

I agree. I wish some investigative type would look into the matter, esp. if there are potential professional issues like due process and bogus reasons for dismissal. If he did something warranting dismissal, good. If he didn't, if he was fired for bogus 'reasons' or if he had poor due process, I'd like to see the matter pursued, rather than allowed to fade just because it seems like I am defending a Nazi (which I'm not).

Bill A White - 1/26/2006

Its not the folk on the forum here, but all the reporters who are using this article a source on Pluss, that I'm noting that for.

But thank you.


Ralph Jefferson - 1/26/2006

Much as it pains me to support anything you write, Mr. White, you are beating a dead horse here. Nobody on this forum believes that Pluss served in Viet Nam.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/26/2006

You must be very young! As I pointed out in another thread, recommendations on the retention and tenure of faculty in today's universities are made by chairs who are the elected representatives of their departments in consort with an elected personnel committee of the department. The final decision is made by the administration. If the contract of a tenure-line faculty member is not renewed, reasons are usually given, although not necessarily. Tenured faculty can only be fired for cause and have full legal recourse. Most universities with student populations of eight or nine thousand or more will at any given time employ some 300-400 adjuncts who come and go. Universities are not adequately staffed to provide full personnel reviews for adjuncts who teach one or two courses for one or two years. I would not serve as chairman if I were required to do this. I have classes to teach, and I am expected to be productive in my scholarship. My department averages some 25 adjuncts a year. I know of no university that gives cause for not renewing the contracts of adjuncts. This has nothing to do with the perogatives of chairmen.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/26/2006

I really have to wonder what kinds of university departments Mr. Kahwaja served in and what kinds of chairmen (now simply "chairs") he knew. I first became a department chairman in 1980 and have held that position in two departments with memberships over 30. In that position I have at all times been the elected representative of the faculty, and all my decisions were supported by an elected committee of the department. The line about "the perogatives of doing whatever you want but not giving reasons" is amusing but just plain silly! No university that I know of will give reasond other than the most general for not renewing the contracts of adjuncts. Department chairs have nothing to say about this.

HNN - 1/25/2006

In response to Mr. White, my experiences in Vietnam are well described in my volume Jumping Fences. An Artfully Crafted Madness (Ridgewood, NJ and Aarau, Switzerland, 2005). And, as the volume notes, I served in Command Observations, not Special Forces, to which Executive Orders different than the ones Mr. White cites apply.

Lisa Kazmier - 1/25/2006

Pluss was on campus in full Nazi regailia? Really? Yikes.

I heard of Prof. Stephen Schuker doing a mean impersonation of Hitler or a Nazi for his undergrads (essentially a tirade in German), but the secondhand account I got was never said anything other than that it was just a show (scary or not). What you describe sounds like something more than a show, which justifies dismissal imo.

Bill A White - 1/25/2006


Jacques Pluss' Military Record
It amuses me that no one has noticed this so far, but I wanted to point it out:

Jacques Pluss claims to be a member of the Special Forces whose records were sealed under two Executive Orders issues during the Vietname War -- Executive Order 1975 and Executive Order 2000.

Here's his exact quote from History News Network, which I publish because History News Network has already "edited" some embarassing lies out of Pluss' account:


I was vilified on the Internet via scurrilous attacks against my sanity, my military record – and its lack of availability to public scrutiny as per two Executive Orders (Executive Order 1975 and Executive Order 2000 in re: National Security) – and my academic credentials.

I looked them up. Those Executive Orders were issued during the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt. They are so old the Federal Register no longer publishes them on the internet:


Because they are no longer in effect. Google suggests they had to do with the establishment of natural wildlife preserves.

The Executive Orders issued during the Vietnam Presidencies -- Kennedy through Ford, are 10914 through 11966. Not a single one of them restricts records of Vietnam Vets in any way.

And this is the problem with Pluss' "military service". He doesn't know anything about Vietnam. All of his details are wrong. He names the commands wrong, names the locations wrong, names the executive orders wrong -- he's a fraud.

Bill A White - 1/25/2006

Has no one else noted that the numbers on the Executive Orders cited by Pluss are ridiculous?

The Executive Order numbers used during the Vietnam War were 10914 (Kennedy's first) through 11966 (Gerald Ford's last).

The Orders Pluss cites are from the Teddy Roosevelt presidency.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/25/2006

Well, you're right. As I said, it's difficult to make an objective distinction. As far as I know, Butz did not openly use racial epithets or demand the withdrawl of civil rights for students or faculty belonging to ethnic groups he despised. Pluss did this explictly. I have an internet video of him doing it in full Nazi regalia. Students at NU may have used the term Nazi loosely in describing Butz, and I suppose they weren't far from wrong, but there is a difference between him and Pluss, and I would defend Butz' right to free speech, although I find his politics abhorrent. Bevertheless, it's certainly difficult to define where the line should be drawn.

Lisa Kazmier - 1/25/2006

He's not a Nazi but a holocaust denier? I'm not sure how one can make that distinction, since I seem to recall when I was an undergrad at NU he was considered a Nazi (or at least students, etc. called him one). Wearing the 'kit' is wrong but being one in your own home (black trench coat optional) is okay? Or what? Is your distinction belonging to an organization?

Ralph Jefferson - 1/24/2006

What you are referring to is a shade of gray. Butz is a Holocaust denier. He consorts with racists and bigots. I wouldn't want to have dinner with him. But he is not a Nazi. You should look at the web site of the organization Pluss belonged to: http://nsm88,com. Look at their 25 point program. They don't simply deny the Holocaust. They wear brown shirts and swastikas. Their goal is to eliminate Jews, Blacks, and other "mud people" from American society. Their program fits within what was declared a criminal conspiracy at Nurenberg in 1946. If Ploss tried to enter Germany or France he would be arrested, as David Irving, one of his heroes, was recently. In the U. S. A. we guaranttee freedom of speech, but we do not need to tolerate all speech in a university. It's difficut to draw the line, but it has to be drawn at some point. Perhaps it's like pornography. You can't define it, but you know it when you see it.

Lisa Kazmier - 1/24/2006

I hear ya. Those are worthwhile questions and I certainly can lean to the categorical 'no'. But I also know that Arthur Butz got tenure at Northwestern and he's a neo-Nazi (in the engineering program). Sometimes students of the 'wrong' gender or color have felt he treated them badly but I haven't heard of any Nazi indoctrination there. To me, it seems they can't touch him (they couldn't in the 1980s).

Sometimes, it seems people like this are accepted because of the threat it poses for everyone else if they were summarily let go. The key seems to be 'got tenure' since a radical English Lit prof could not get tenure and her politics were no worse if completely opposite Butz's.

I just would like to see someone neutral give the skinny on this case and what its implications are to the rest of us. Do you think there are any? Maybe you don't.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/24/2006

You obviously don't have the slightest idea of what you're talking about!

When Pluss first left the National Socialist Movement, he gave as his reasons, on a number of racist websites such as Stormfront, that the NSM was admitting non-whites, specifically an American Indian; that the "Von Bluvens" (Michael Blevins), with whom Pluss had done a number of Internet radio programs, was actually an ethnic Jew; that Bill White, the Spokesman for the NSM, was gay; and that the "Commander," Jeff Schoep, was pocketing the dues of the members. It was only about a month later that Pluss concocted the fantastic story of his simple-minded Romantic experiment.

Robert William Pelfrey - 1/24/2006

I really believe that he is a romantic. Some of you label this as a "disease", I however, see no problem with his desire to live/research the past.

As to the original comment, I believe you to be nearly as bad as the neo-nazi's themselves. The type who is so paranoid, and belligerent in regards to others` suspected associations. This truly was a genuine attempt to understand the workings of the post-nazi era. This was a brave, and bold move for any historian to partake.

Jim Williams - 1/23/2006

Please understand what it is like to be a chair. Chairs often don't want to be chairs (I don't), have innumerable details of administrivia (Some important - hiring, tenure, promotion, fighting for lines and $; some not) to handle, and often teach a full or nearly full load of courses while trying to work on behalf of their entire department. This fall, I had three adjunct in succession agree to teach a course and then back out; I don't resent this, but I had to fill the slot. I came up with a good candidate this time (I believe), but when the same thing happened last January, my last minute replacement caused some problems.
Chairs usually want to hire the best possible teachers, but the press of their work sometimes compromises their efforts.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/23/2006

This is entirely besides the point. There could well legitimate reasons for placing even Hitler's Mein Kampf on a reading list. No text is beyond rationale inquiry, which is the function of a university.

The question is whether the university should be a forum for all kinds of opinion, rational or not. Pluss was an officer in the NSM (National Socialist Movement), whose 25-point program specified expelling all Jews and African Americans from the United States. Am I obliged to tolerate such a man as my colleague in the humanities division of a university? Should Black students be required to take instruction from a person who happens to be a prominent member of the Ku Klux Klan, whether he wears a sheet to class or not? Do we have certain ethical standards in the university or do we not?

Lisa Kazmier - 1/22/2006

I'm hardly denying the Holocaust. Did Pluss? That's a question worth asking. What did he do? Other than the letter he wrote, I have no idea why Farleigh fired him; I accept that the absenteeism issue was bogus or a dodge.

I'm concerned that, in this environement where some people want to encourage politically-minded students to launch campaigns against faculty, someone will get summarily let go for flimsy reasons. My questions aren't necessarily about Pluss being a neo-Nazi.

For example, does putting passages by Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini and Mohammed Atta on my reading list constitute grounds for a campaign? I think I got Darwin and Stalin on there too. Anyone I haven't offended?

Ralph Jefferson - 1/22/2006

It's really hard to believe that this is a history web site. Forty million people died in Europe to rid the world of Nazism. The Nurenberg tribunal ruled in 1946 that Nazism was not a political position but a criminal conspiracy. This is widely recognized in most European countries where the expression of Nazi sentiments or the display of Nazi symbols is illegal.

The First Amendment guarantees that the legislatures will not pass laws and the police will not enforce laws that abridge freedom of speech and of the press. It does not require that universities employ or retain racists and bigots. Even academics are permitted to have moral standards

Ralph Jefferson - 1/22/2006

Well, with the kind of zeal and dogmatism you demonstrate, I'm certainly glad that I don't have to deal with you as a chairman. The "position of power" assertion is wryly amusing. You seem very naive considering the time you have spent in academe.

I can't answer most of your questions about Fairleigh Dickinson. I didn't say Pluss' attendance record was poor. The FDU administration said it was. I know that Pluss was threatening a lawsuit because he said he was, in April-May 2005 on various blogs that you can still access. Lying about Pluss' situation would help FDU because it's unlikely that a suit against a university for suspending and not renewing an adjunct with a poor attendance record would be sure to fail but doing this because of his "poitical postion" might make them liable. FDU is a private institution, but because it receives Federal funding, it is still subject to Constitutional restrictions. This is a legal gray area.

It's not "impossible," to screen adjuncts properly merely unlikely. When hiring a tenure-track faculty member one usually has months to plan. There are records forwarded from graduate-school offices, letters of recommendation, interviews with department committees, student groups, and administrators. These days, unfortunately, adjuncts teach 50-60% of undergraduate courses in many universities. There are no prescribed requirements for their positions or the methods used to hire them since they are viewed as temporary, part-time employees. It isn't feasible to have faculty committees that will carry on the lengthy, time-consuming procedures used to hire regular faculty. It's an unhappy situation but a reality.

Since the contracts of unsatisfactory adjuncts are simply not renewed, I would usually rather say that it was "for the good of the university" rather than that they were poor teachers and that I couldn't stop them from hitting on student. I don't have time for the continual hassles.

Lisa Kazmier - 1/22/2006

I find it very strange that some people here are lining up to slam this professor but, while I can't say I've read all the comments, there needs to be a few questions.

Such as: did Farleigh fire this guy because of one anonymous letter that he wrote himself? Doesn't that make any instructor here feel vulnerable that any crank could write a bogus letter and get you fired? That surely needs to be understood better.

What proof do we have that the author is or isn't a neo-Nazi? He taught for a number of years at William Patterson. That has to establish some kind of track record. What kind? I don't know.

I guess no one here feels too threatened because Pluss was an adjunct. They get hired and fired all the time for any number of reasons. Maybe, though, since it's such a growing segment of academia, someone ought to look into this case more closely. If Pluss did not do anything unseemly in the classroom and his students received the information they were supposed to get, why was he dismissed? This concern is REGARDLESS of whether or not Pluss is or is not a neo-Nazi. Given all the hoopla over the Academic Bill of Rights nonsense, shouldn't anyone care that the same kind of mindless harassment occurs against a legitimate faculty member?

Maybe there's something about joining a neo-Nazi group that is always wrong, but is there some kind of 'morals clause' here? If not, it sure looks like Pluss never had due process. Maybe that was in some way good if he was really concerned about his cover being blown. Maybe he didn't care because he knew he didn't have a job there after spring anyway. But I can't help thinking that the way this case unfolded without any kind of questioning of Pluss by Farleigh that he got shafted -- and for others of us in academia, that's problematic.

Michael Moody - 1/22/2006

What he has done is not new. In fact it's pulled right out of a Twilight Zone episode. Look at John Howard Griffin's 'Black like me' also one of those after school specials called 'The Wave' where a faux movement was created to present the 'hidden reality of the neonazi' you can see it here. http://lisatrust.bogie.nl/Media/general-wave.htm
His point is valid and I suspect he is quite correct in that he will get a very nice book deal out of it. More amusing still is the reaction on this board to the article. Oh, now he says he was just nuts, or shoddy practices or he [insert slur here]. It much resembles a small child running up a causing a mass of pigeons to take flight in a public square. Around and around the birdies go and there is much clucking and flying feathers. But soon they return to the square and continue to strut about and all who watch have a good laugh.
"Everyone's going to have their own theories about what answer I'm eventually going to come up with, and who better to capitalize on that media market than you yourself? So long as you can keep disagreeing with each other violently enough and slagging each other off in the popular press, you can keep yourselves on the gravy train for life. How does that sound?" - Deep Thought from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
You can screech and squawk about this 'betrayal' all you like. But rather then following the norms of verbatim regurgitation he has actually taught something.
Bravo Professor Bravo!

S J - 1/21/2006

Just so you know - Goodall studies Chimps not Gorillas. I get many of your points however, and think most people that visit this site would agree that Pluss' methods are suspect. As far as studies on Nazis or Neo-Nazis I would argue that they are valuable exactly because they conjure up the modern (Western) primal idea of pure evil. In other words, I believe that studying why someone would be attracted to that and potentially what they believe they are reacting against could prove to be incredibly valuable.

One of my former Profs, an anthropologist, studied Neo-Nazism in America and it brought an interesting prospective to many of ideas. While he may have argued for their right to exist, he was never a Neo-Nazi himself (he wasn't exactly qualified as a minority).

One additional point/question, do you think it is exactly because Neo-Nazis are so controversial that people have a desire to study it? Rather than birdwatchers, as you suggest. I would gamble that I could get a grant to study Nazis much faster than I could birdwatchers.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/21/2006

If you are going to be an adjunct, it might be worthwhile to understand some of the conventions governing your employment. Adjuncts usually serve at the pleasure of the university. There is no contractual guarantee of continued employment. Since it is often impossible to screen adjuncts properly, mistakes are sometimes made. When I served as a department chairman I found it necessary on a few occasions to dismiss an adjunct in the middle of a semester "for the good of the university." I was not obligated to give a reason for this, and it would have profited nobody to do so.

Fairleigh Dickinson chose to provide a rationale for Pluss' dismissal by citing his poor attendance record. They most likely did this because Pluss was threatening a lawsuit, and they wanted to avoid a freedom of speech controversy. Universities today are rarely willing to take a moral stance. The FDU administration did not have the courage to state flately that racists and bigots are not welcome to teach at the university.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/21/2006

If you are going to be an adjunct, it might be worthwhile to understand some of the conventions governing your employment. Adjuncts usually serve at the pleasure of the university. There is no contractual guarantee of continued employment. Since it is often impossible to screen adjuncts properly, mistakes are sometimes made. When I served as a department chairman I found it necessary on a few occasions to dismiss an adjunct in the middle of a semester "for the good of the university." I was not obligated to give a reason for this, and it would have profited nobody to do so.

Fairleigh Dickinson chose to provide a rationale for Pluss' dismissal by citing his poor attendance record. They most likely did this because Pluss was threatening a lawsuit, and they wanted to avoid a freedom of speech controversy. Universities today are rarely willing to take a moral stance. The FDU administration did not have the courage to state flately that racists and bigots are not welcome to teach at the university.

Lars Townsend - 1/18/2006

You know it's strange but while I completely disagree with your sentenmentsYou know it's strange but while I completely disagree with your sentiments, I find myself completely agreeing with your position. Fairleigh Dickinson was not only fully within its rights to fire Pluss but also in the right to do so.

And Pluss is fully within his rights to write a book about his experiences. And if it some kind of fun Wade Davis Serpent and the Rainbow kind of thing, then undoubtedly he will get hired somewhere else. Otherwise, if he keeps up with the strange, insecure and self-justifying writing, demonstrated in this article, then from what I hear McDonald’s is hiring.

Richard F. Miller - 1/18/2006

Like many Nazis, White confuses intelligence with judgment, emotional maturity and wisdom. After all, his spiritual predecessors claimed to be the standard-bearers of Western Culture, (while conveniently excising Christianity, the one element that made so much of that culture possible). It has become almost trite to observe, but no less true, that so many of the SS killers were composed of lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc.

The question is not "beer swilling malcontents"--as long as White's movement remains on the margins, such criminals will remain Horst Wessel-type street brawlers. The question is really one of cultural retardation complimented with emotional dysfuctions--every movement, be it Nazism, Stalinism, etc., leaves a certain detritus in its wake, like a pathological footprint for a subsequent emotionally twisted minority to fill. Since history does not really repeat--there will be "Fourth Reich" or "Socialist Workers' Paradise" (I suspect that at some level White knows this)--the point of belonging to one of yesterday's movements is more emotional than rational.

Whatever White's IQ, it amounts to a wasted life, much like the lives of those devoted to proving that Alger Hiss was innocent or that Communism would have only worked, "but for."

Lars Townsend - 1/18/2006

I’ve got to say that both this article and its responses are really funny.

From the perspective of Dr. Pluss, I really can’t understand his methodology. I mean yes, at a certain level, if say, Jane Goodall were to go out and live with the Gorillas she would maybe get some important anthropological data that maybe would have been impossible to get if those Gorillas didn’t think she was one of them.

At the same time, I can’t see that this whole Neo Nazi thing is anything but freaky and extreme. The kind of thing that seems more like something stemming from a nervous breakdown than any kind of methodical research. That he left his job and his life etc, without telling anybody about his intentions seems rather suspect.

From the perspective of some of the responses to Pluss’s experience. I can’t imagine a fringe group with a more negative image than the Neo-Nazi’s. There seems to be no historical/academic/philosophical/anthropomorphic/literary context wherein anything positive can come out of anything Nazism. The emotions from the period are still to fresh and raw. And anything that smacks of Nazism these days is immediately pre-judged as being somehow innately wrong, evil even… which is totally reasonable, but somehow seems unscholarly.

What I mean by this is if Dr. Plus had gone off and become a nudist or a homosexual or a bird-watcher or some other more socially acceptable fringe group would reactions have been as strong; or as strange?

Ralph Jefferson - 1/18/2006

So what you are saying is that the moral integrity of a college professor is irrelevant. There is no question of a politics here. As the Nurenburg tribunal defined it in 1946, Nazism is not a politival position, it's a criminal conspiracy. Universities aren't obligated to give reasons for not renewing the contracts of adjuncts, who serve at the convenience of the administration. Nevertheless, Fairleigh Dickinson did give a reason for firing Pluss. They said he missed too many classes. Like you, they weren't willing to say that we consider Nazism morally reprehensible, so we fired his Nazi ass.

Donald Mintz - 1/18/2006

I have no interest in Mr. Pluss's heuristic methods or politicla beliefs. My only interest is in his classroom performance. If this was appropriae, he should have been rehired by Fairleigh. If not, he should have been let go for stated cause. For me, that is the long and short of it; that is all there is.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/18/2006

Yes, Mr. White. In this instance you are absolutely correct. Jacques Pluss has been mentally ill for a long time. In 2000 he walked out of his classes and his tenured position at William Paterson University in the middle of the semester. Before that he had been posturing as a lay minister of the Episcopal Church. Nevertheless, the NSM was obviously happy to have him air his mad rants at their rallies and on their internet Von Bluvens radio program. Pluss was not pretending to be a Nazi. When Pluss is a Nazi,he is a Nazi; when he is a Viet Nam War hero, he is a Viet Nam War hero; when he is a Jew living on a kibbutz, that's what he is. I suspect most members of your organization are mentally ill. It's incredible that a man of your obvious intelligence could be a Nazi. Weren't 40 million European dead in the 20th century enough for you?

Bill A White - 1/18/2006

Those who oppose the swastika are the enemies of humanity.

Bill A White - 1/18/2006

First, I don't swill beer.

Second, I am not a particular malcontent.

In fact, I own a company involved in the urban redevelopment of Roanoke, Virginia's West End -- a company which grew by about $1 million this year, which brought in just under half a million in cash, and which I built myself from a $13,000 initial investment in 2004.

Intellectually, my measured IQ is over 150. I doubt many of you could keep up with me in a general discussion of history -- except, perhaps, in your narrow specialities.

And, Pluss was not engaged in humor. He was engaged in an expression of mental illness.

Remember that Pluss still lives with his mother. He also lives with a girl approximately one-third his age who is grossly overweight and grossly insecure, and whom he started dating when she was his student. He lies about his military service, lies about being a Jew on a kibbutz, and generally lies.

The man is mentally ill. To see him in any other way is nuts.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/17/2006

A refutation of Pluss' Romantic stylings by literary historian Miriam Burstein has been posted at Cliopatria

James Stanley Kabala - 1/17/2006

Basically, his "defense" boils down to, "I'm not evil; I'm nuts!" Quite likely he is both.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/17/2006

I can well understand how someone might think that I am taking an egomaniacal twerp like Jack Pluss with his pathetic, bizarre ego trips too seriously. Nevertheless, the recent past demonstrates that horrendous consequences may occur when such neurotics externalize their frustrations. When a person wears a swastika, he declares himself an enemy of humanity. Some of us remember the 40 million dead in Europe and find it difficult to trivialize this with academic banter and quibbling.

Charles S Young - 1/16/2006

You're taking this way too seriously.

It's like the artist who did the Piss-Christ painting of a cross in the john. Then gave this big long rap about how he was just trying to show the humanity of Jesus -- that even He went to the bathroom, blah blah, blah. It was a painting of a toilet!

Po-mo explanations for joining the Nazis are inherently funny, just like the Nazi opera "Springtime for Hitler" is inherently funny. Now I suppose you'll tell me that I "underestimate" comedians, there WERE Nazi comedians. Yes, but did they do it as opera? It is my contention that combining opera with comedy is prima facie evidence that Mel Brooks is not a Nazi. And explaining Nazi infiltration in po-mo terms proves that Pluss is also a comedian. It's empircal fact.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 1/16/2006

A masterful satire!

Daniel Mittleman - 1/16/2006

How is observing/evaluating how NSM members and extraneous observers behave (or even your own reaction to your own reactions!) in any way historiography?

If anything, it is sociology or political science, or psychology. I don't get why you frame this as a historical method?

I don't get other stuff too, but lets start there.

Daniel Mittleman - 1/16/2006

Agree with Mr. Redman. If it was actual research, methods were shoddy (and that is being complementary to them.)

And, given he was at FD at the time the research was done, IRB approval should have been sought. [Correct me if I am wrong] Isn't there potential university liability if someone was harmed by this research? And when you provoke neo-nazis to make threats, there is at least some risk of collateral damage.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/16/2006

You seem to seriously underestimate Nazis. There were a great many intellectuals other than Martin Heidegger who became early enthusiasts of Nazism. As for the NSM ("America's Nazi Party") there are are a quite a few members other than their spokesman Bill White who is currently posting on this forum, who could not accurately be described as "beer swilling malcontents." We are not dealing here with people who are our intellectual inferiors but with seriously disturbed and potentioally dangerous individuals.

Alex Rennie Cline - 1/16/2006

I concur fully. There is something strange and Kaufmanesque in all this. It's hard to decide what is funnier: the event itself or all the harping over it...

Charles S Young - 1/16/2006

Would a real Nazi use obscure French literary theory to explain joining a bunch of beer swilling malcontents?

Sounds like deconstructionist humor, to me.

A Nazi website praised him: "A newcomer to the NSM, Pluss unleashed a fiery oratory reminiscent of Hitler's speeches."

Judging frome reactions on this bulletin board, the Nazi youth aren't the only ones who didn't get the joke.

Bill A White - 1/16/2006

comment removed: http://hnn.us/articles/982.html#civil

Bill A White - 1/16/2006

This is what happens when you cram big words into a malfunctioning brain.

The scary thing is that this kind of talking is rewarded in many academic settings.

Jacques Pluss - 1/16/2006

You seem to miss the whole point of my methodology since your question depends far too heavily on a literal approach. Remember that I have developed an approach, akin to "method acting" in theatrical circles, which centers upon a participant/observer experience. As my article notes, my methodology combines variegated sources to arrive at a conclusion based on integration. Yes, there are Foucault and the Deconstructionists. There also are the British Romantics (especially Percy Shelley) and Poe. Finally, one cannot discount Freud. For Foucault, I would suggest the first sections of his "History of Madness" -- on the "Ship of Fools." For Shelley, "Al astor; or, The Spirit of Solitude" (entire). For Poe, just about all of his poetic works, and for Freud, his "Introduction to Psychoanalysis," (first ed.), on the 'Psychology of Errors'. Yet remember the all-important force behind my logic. History is a field of study which will prosper only when intellect is combined with sentiment, mentality, and the joy and torment of approaching one's subject within the whirlwind of experience known in analytical circles as the basic conflict between emotional and mental life. The less intellectualization, the better the history

Jonathan Dresner - 1/16/2006

Rereading the piece, I was struck by Pluss' citation of his advisor Kantorowicz. As it turns out, Kantorowicz was accused of being a Nazi himself, though it doesn't really seem to hold up under investigation. Perhaps the experience he was trying to replicate was that of his mentor?

Child Harold - 1/16/2006

The author in fact reveals himself in the last paragraph:

"[I]f there is any lesson I hope to impart to the historical community, it is that we historians will never grasp history as a felt and sensed discipline without an attempt to live a historical era as the British Romantic Poets lived the joy, and the torment, motivating and rising from their verse."

That's right, Prof. Pluss is infected with the most insidious intellectual disease of them all: Romanticism. You'll remember that the Romantics sought to justify the worst excesses of the French Revolution and, later, Napoleon's reign by writing personal, prettified verse about daffodils and Aeolian harps (I defer to the writings of Edmund Burke and Bob Southey on this point).

And don't even get me started on the cancer deep within the very heart of the academy that is medievalism...

Jonathan Dresner - 1/16/2006

To the extent that he was trying to document the experience of being a member of a hated fringe, I suppose that his work might have some merit, if he did it reasonably well. He didn't, but that's another discussion. His explanations have wobbled somewhat about what he wanted to experience, and his Romantic theories are essentialist junk.

Ehrenreich's work was not about experiencing beliefs and affiliations, but structural issues and how navigating those institutional and cultural forms feels. She didn't have to pretend to believe anything.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 1/16/2006

The author reveals himself in the opening sentences:

"Throughout the course of my academic career, I came to hold in deep respect the scholarship of the French Deconstructionists, particularly Jacques Derrida and Michele Foucault (especially Foucault’s Archeology of Knowledge and his History of Madness)."

His twisted reasoning and morally bankrupt desire not to "intellectualize" his involvement with the neo-Nazis is understandable if you recognize he is infected with the postmodernist disease. (Other famous examples of this absurdity: "I killed a man just to watch him die," killing an Arab on the beach for no reason at all, or the need to make Israeli targeted strikes the moral equivalent to the PLO bombing of pizza parlors.) The French Deconstructionists were motivated partly by their desire to apologize for French collaboration with the Nazis in WWII.

(For this argument, I defer to Camille Paglia: http://www.salon.com/col/pagl/1997/11/nc_25pagl.html)

"The French have never fully recovered from the Nazi Occupation when, as a Jewish scholar once wrote to me, "Collaboration was not the exception but the rule."

French solipsism and denial are everywhere in those false academic idols, the poststructuralists, who oscillate between the choked, labyrinthine jargon of Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan and the cold, twisted, sterile abstractions of Michel Foucault, who managed to write about "power" for most of his life without ever mentioning Hitler."

S J - 1/16/2006

Thank you for your comment. I did not know that oral history was exempt from the IRB. Doesn't Pluss sound like he is trying to pass this over as some sort of "ethnography", however? I'm not going to go into the theoretical problems with his "anthropological" approach - but if he wants to pass something like this off as anthropological research he would have had to plan ahead - not think of a fabrication later on, which is what many on this board are charging.

Ralph Jefferson - 1/16/2006

It’s unfortunate that HNN posted Jacques Pluss’ emotionally disturbed rant entirely at face value. Pluss was never a member of the armed forces. He is not the recipient of the Bronze Star or Purple Heart. He walked out of a tenured position as an associate professor of history at William Paterson college in the middle of a semester, without warning. Nobody who heard his internet “Von Bluvens” radio broadcasts for the National Socialist Movement or saw the tapes of his impassioned, hate-filled speeches at NSM and KKK rallies would doubt that he was a sincere Nazi. He left the NSM only after they had suspended him because of his irrational outbursts and bazaar behavior. Can you imagine being too bazaar to be a Nazi? His book, Jumping Fences, is a disorganized emotional rant that was never published but simply self-printed venture in aggrandizement.

Jim Williams - 1/16/2006

The IRB is irrelevant since Pluss is not affiliated with any academic organization or receiving any external financial support. Oral History work also has an exemption from the IRB. I don't know whether Pluss's activities fit into the constraints of Oral History.

Your point about ethics is more cogent. Should we decide that some people merit ethical treatment and others don't? That's a treacherous path to follow.

Bill A White - 1/16/2006

Note that all of Pluss' "books" are self-published. Aargu Press is a self-publishing company, which is why the book is listed as published in his hometown in New Jersey.

Tim Matthewson - 1/16/2006

Even though Pluss's statements are fancifl, true believers will probably accept Pluss's statements as true, as a means of bashing the opponents of "liberal" professors.

Tim Matthewson - 1/16/2006

I second this comment: does anybody really find Mr. Pluss essay credible. If history must be felt and sensed do that not rule out writing history of the distant past? Get real!

David Nicholas Harley - 1/15/2006

On the other hand, he could have been suffering a mid-life crisis, with a dash of Munchhausen's syndrome.

I wonder what his daughter and girlfriend have to say on the matter.

David Nicholas Harley - 1/15/2006

Did Barbara Ehrenreich have an "authentic" experience when researching low-paid workers? No, of course not. She could not enter the mindset of the people she studied. Exactly the same is true of any ethnographer. Does this invalidate fieldwork?

Surely, we don't need to take either "experience" or "authenticity" too seriously as categories. They are rhetorical devices, intended to buttress truth claims.

Jacques Pluss appears to have a rather naive view of the epistemological problems inherent in ethnographical fieldwork, but the same has been true of many ethnographers. It may well be that a sophisticated epistemology produces better academic anthropology but less richly textured ethnography.

The proof of this particular pudding will be in the reading and the inwardly digesting of his work.

Rick Perlstein - 1/15/2006

I invite Mr. Pluss to point to where, exactly, in the writings of Foucault and Derrida, playacting is recommended as heuristic method.

John Austin Matzko - 1/15/2006

If any of Pluss's story is true, he should have been removed from the classroom on grounds of insanity.

Bill A White - 1/15/2006

I have posted a number of truthful accounts of Pluss' involvement in the NSM on my websites:



Those who say it is a crock are correct. Pluss is lying, right down to the amount of membership he paid (he made a $600 donation when he joined).

Also catch the bit about his alleged "military experience". He's using an old circa 1980s lie about the executive orders that was debunked a long time ago.

Ralph E. Luker - 1/15/2006

Professor Pluss's article is surely a crock, an ex post facto figment of his imagination. Had he attempted to make this kind of argument like a historian, he would have cited substantiating evidence from his life prior to his year as a Nazi that would tend to convince us that he was not predisposed to become one.

Jonathan Dresner - 1/14/2006

we historians will never grasp history as a felt and sensed discipline without an attempt to live a historical era

This is wrong. It is possible to empathize without precisely replicating experiences. It is possible to understand without "living through." It is not the same but that does not mean that historical knowledge is inferior to experiential learning.

Clearly, Dr. Pluss's experience isn't the same as an actual NSM member anyway. Though he wouldn't admit it to himself, or "break cover" he was nonetheless, as he tells it, not really committed to the movement. He participated, but if he's going to draw fine epistemological distinctions he has to admit to himself that he didn't really have an "authentic" experience either.

S J - 1/14/2006

I'm assuming the author did not register with either the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the Independent Ethics Committee (IEC) before this "experiment" took place (as that would be a key component in this article - maybe I missed it). Did he deem it somehow unnecessary? I hope the author kept in mind that standard ethical and methodological standards come into play when dealing with any group. Neo-nazis or African Americans - ethical praxis should be observed.

Trevor Russell Getz - 1/14/2006

I think it's more to the piont that, no matter what his motives Pluss could not have better served the NSM.

James T. Quinn - 1/14/2006

Does Mr. Pluss really believe that anyone will accept this surreal and nonsensical excuse for his behavior and words? I'm at a loss as to why the HNN even accepted something this ridiculous for posting.