Former Neo-Nazi to speak on campus

Terezin

John Daly, subject of the documentary “Escape from Room 18,” will speak at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Bromeley Family Theater.

 

            After a showing of the documentary, Daly will talk about his experience as an active member of a Neo-Nazi group despite the fact that he is Jewish.

 

            When his followers discovered his identity, they beat him and tried to drown him in the Atlantic Ocean, leaving him for dead. Daly received help from The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that helps Jews immigrate to Israel, where he would be safe from those who wanted him dead.

 

            Years later, he received an email from a fellow ex-skinhead apparently on a mission to change his own life and make amends for his past. Kevin Connell invited Daly to meet him in Prague, and the two traveled to the remains of Nazi death camps to see firsthand the effects of what they had preached and practiced.

 

            Their emotional journey is the subject of the documentary “Escape from Room 18.” The name comes from Room 18 at the Terezin death camp, which was the morgue.

 

            Dr. Pat Brougham, assistant professor of criminal justice, spearheaded the effort to bring Daly to campus.

 

            “Since we have recently had an upsurge in white supremacy events, I really wanted to do something this year focused on hate,” she said. “It is difficult to understand hate groups. My effort is focused on helping us as a community to understand how someone can subscribe to such hate.

 

            “I heard John's story and thought perhaps a Jewish ex-Neo-Nazi could help us understand how people make the decision to join such groups. I believe that if we, as a community, are going to overcome such hate, we must understand how and why it exists.”

 

            Daly's visit is being sponsored by the Criminal Justice Club, the History and Political Science Club, the International Relations/Model UN Club and the Office of Academic Affairs.

 

            For disability needs related to the presentation, contact the Office of Disability Resources at 814-362-7609 or clh71@pitt.edu.