Matthew Heimbach grew up in MoCo and helped organize the march in Charlottesville
Matthew Heimbach, the chairman of the Traditionalist Workers Party (a white nationalist organization), claimed he watched as anti-fascist counter-protesters showered his followers in bleach and urine in Charlottesville, Va. on Friday. His group was in Charlottesville as part of the “Unite the Right” rally that brought together dozens of alt-right groups together to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee Statue from Emancipation Park.
Heimbach, who helped organized the rally said the city government was to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.
Raised locally, Heimbach attended Poolesville High School where he said he attempted to create a white student group.
“I got several hundred students to sign on to my paper to do it. The principal trashed it. I emailed every teacher to get a sponsor none of them responded; it must have been an administrative decision,” he said of his efforts.
After graduating, he attended Montgomery College and went on to Towson University. His parents, Karl and Margret Heimbach, are divorced. Karl was the athletic director at Magruder High School, before moving to Pennsylvania to work as the athletic director at Columbia High School. Margret is a teacher at Monocacy Elementary School. They have both disowned Heimbach for his white nationalist views.
“My family, due to my politics, has totally cut me off. They haven’t seen my two sons, and I haven’t spoken to them in many years,” said Heimbach. “They didn’t raise me to think like this. I understand their decision, I respect it, but I stick with my convictions because I believe this is what is right.”
Heimbach first gained national attention when he founded the White Student Union at majority-white Towson University in 2012. Then last year, Heimbach was charged with harassment with physical contact, a misdemeanor, for repeatedly shoving and screaming at an African-American woman who was protesting at a Trump rally in Louisville, Ky.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Heimbach pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct earlier this year, resulting in a $145 fine and a 90-day jail sentence.
“The violence he committed surprised me,” said Dr. John C. Thompson one of Heimbach’s former professors at Montgomery College.
“He struck me as someone who cowered easily. However, he was hitting a woman so maybe he felt brave,” the history professor added.
Before those two incidents, the 26-year-old had a long history with the White Nationalist movement. He attempted to create a white student group at Poolesville High School. According to Thompson, he would often display racist paraphernalia in class, including a laptop sticker reading “If I knew all the trouble they would cause, I would have picked the cotton myself.”
Heimbach said he often debated Thompson, about politics, race, and religion. Thompson noted that Heimbach’s philosophy was often self-contradictory.
“Out of one side of his mouth, he would talk about the Constitution and the importance of due process. Out of the other, he would say lynching was OK since it saved the States money,” Thompson continued, saying, “He may have looked at my colleague, and I as substitute parents. I warned him on many occasions that he was going down a bad path, and that he needed to get away from this stuff.”
Heimbach said in a telephone interview America should be divided into “Ethno-States,” with nations defined by ethnicity, with every ethnicity owning their own independent territory. He claimed that multiculturalism leads to conflict, and that homogeneity is the answer. He noted that he first became interested in white nationalism when he converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith.
”My faith made me understand that there is a kith and kin in a nation. That the idea of a civic nation was unknown until the 18th century in the United States” said Heimbach. ”I developed an understanding of traditional Christianity as a call to care for one's culture. It put world politics in an understandable position.”
Heimbach also cited fascists Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as influences on his political world view.
Despite his insistence on being “anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and anti-supremacist,” Heimbach harbors many anti-Semitic beliefs.
“Judaism is considered a hostile faith, they, for hundreds of years, have been the ones to attack whatever their host country is. They’ve been kicked out of hundreds of nations over the years for a reason,” said Heimbach.
When asked about his anti-Semitic beliefs, Heimbach claims the Jews crucified Christ. He also said God worked through the Romans when they destroyed the temple on the mount in Jerusalem to make sure Judaism could not exist as a separate faith.
“Heimbach is more neo-Nazi then Klan, but he’s still a white supremacist,” said Silver Spring musician Daryl Davis, who has convinced dozens of men to disavow the Ku Klux Klan. “Blacks were the enemy way back when. Then they came up with the idea that the real problem in this country is the Jews. That they created the banking system, controlled the media, and run the whole country and, that the Jews use the Blacks as pawns.”
“They will align themselves with Palestinians or Muslims, due to the problems between the Jews and Palestinians; They’ll walk side by side with Black supremacists as long as they are on the same page: to get rid of the Jews,” Davis added.
Heimbach said he was at first a Trump supporter, but became disinterested because he became like “every other” politician.
”I was excited about Trumpism but he has been a letdown. He has put bankers, big money individuals into his cabinet, sides with bosses over workers, and has taken a hawkish foreign policy. The opposite of what he ran on,” Heimbach said.
“The government turns a blind eye to the problems of white working class.” said Heimbach, “in the world’s richest country, we have a ten-year difference in life expectancy between Kentucky hills and Washington DC suburbs.”
Davis said Heimbach is dangerous. According to Davis white supremacists fall into two categories, those who are good people with bad ideas and those who know the truth but like the sense of power. Heimbach belongs to the second group according to Davis.
“I thought I could save him,” said Thompson of his former student. “I wanted to say, I understand you're afraid, but I beg you to read more, and be open minded.”