In January 2018, 19-year-old openly gay and Jewish University of Pennsylvania sophomore Blaze Bernstein was stabbed 20 times and buried in a park. Afterwards, police arrested a suspect, 20-year-old Samuel Woodward (pictured at left above), Bernstein’s former high school classmate. Woodward was a member a neo-Nazi group called the Atomwaffen Division, and it turns out that members of that group celebrated Bernstein’s death, according to recently discovered group chat logs.
In response to news of Bernstein’s murder, one member wrote, “I love this.” Another called Woodward a “one-man gay Jew wrecking crew.” One member threatened to kill whoever exposed Woodward’s connection to their group to the media, saying, “Rats and traitors get the rope first.”
Another member wrote, “Sam did something stupid. Not that the faggot kike didn’t deserve to die. Just simply not worth a life in prison for.” Kike is an anti-Semitic slur.
Bernstein was murdered while visiting his parents in California during his university’s winter break. Authorities believe that Bernstein accompanied Woodward in a park on Jan. 2. Police discovered Bernstein in a shallow grave in the park a week later.
Police arrested and charged Woodward with murder after discovering Bernstein’s DNA at the crime scene and inside Samuel Woodward’s car.
Woodward told investigators that he became angry after Bernstein kissed him. While suspected anti-gay assailants often use similar “gay panic” defenses to justify their violent actions, they rarely work in court.
To give you an idea of what Atomwaffen are into, if it wasn't already clear, here is their most recent propaganda video (sharing this for journalistic purposes only of course). pic.twitter.com/7wTX6JMkTE
— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) January 27, 2018
According to the website ProPublica, “Atomwaffen produces YouTube videos showing members firing weapons and has filmed members burning the U.S. Constitution and setting fire to the American flag.” They add that the group may have as many as 20 cells throughout America with members who have undergone weapons training and advocate massive terror attacks on U.S. citizens.
The group is centered around the violent ideology of a 563-page book called Siege, a collection of newsletters published during the 1980s by a neo-Nazi named James Mason who saw the murderer of LGBT activist Harvey Milk as a national hero.