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 Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2002

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HELPFUL SUMMARY: -- Two lawyers get involved with an amphetamine ring and guard dogs. The two get high on drugs, adopt a 40 year old White Supremacist prisoner, start having sex with the dogs, the dog attacks and kills a neighbor's girl. The two are get convicted and scream anti-semitism. The story relies on a surprisingly large number of people who were in Auschwitz in WW2 but for some reason were not subjected to the "Final Solution." The ADL for once says one of the lawyers "should be ashamed for pretending that his being Jewish had any bearing on this [criminal] investigation" -- which represents a real turnaround for the ADL.


San Francisco Jewish Bulletin

Killer-dog owner's comments irk Holocaust survivors

by Joe Eskenazi
Bulletin Staff

dogA CASE loaded with peculiar twists and turns grew even stranger last weekend, when the owner of the massive dog that killed a San Francisco woman last month compared a surprise police search of his apartment to Gestapo tactics, angering several survivors.

San Francisco District Attorney Terrance Hallinan "chose a time when we were out of town to come over and kick down the doors of a Jewish home," Robert Noel was quoted as saying in the San Francisco Chronicle. "My relatives went through this in Germany."

The allegation comes on the heels of a number of questionable public statements by Noel. He and his wife, Marjorie Knoller, owned the 120-pound Presa Canario dog that mauled neighbor Diane Whipple to death in the hallway of their Pacific Heights apartment building Jan. 26 [2002]. Noel had previously speculated that Whipple may have brought the attack on herself by wearing a pheromone-based perfume or using steroids.

Hallinan's spokesman, Fred Gardner, said the D.A.'s office has declined to comment on Noel's accusations of anti-Semitism. But the dog owner's latest comments in this highly publicized case caught the eye of Bay Area Holocaust survivors and survivor advocates, whose reactions ranged from shock to anger to disbelief.

"As for 'kicking in the doors,' there were too many Jews in those days, I remember, that were too intimidated to open the door when somebody knocked on it," recalled Max Garcia, a past president of the Holocaust Center of Northern California who spent much of World War II in Auschwitz and Mauthausen. "After 1942, we all had to wear yellow stars, and the Jews were pretty damn afraid of the Gestapo, or, as we called them, die Grune [the green ones].

"The police had a legal document. The procedures the San Francisco Police used were unknown in those days by the Germans," continued the Dutch-born Garcia. "And therefore to link [the Gestapo] to something so banal is awful, tasteless."

William J. Lowenberg, a San Francisco businessman and survivor advocate who spent time in "seven or eight" concentration camps including Auschwitz, Birkenau and Dachau, is distraught over Noel's printed comments.

"The chutzpah, the audacity of using that!" said Lowenberg. "To use that is beyond it, that's going over the line. It's disgusting that if they call themselves Jews, they have the audacity to make those statements. Oh, that poor woman, that poor girl.

"Using these kind of tactics is not only unacceptable to any American or human being, it is despicable among the survivor community."

Several survivor advocates questioned Noel's rationale for raising accusations of anti-Semitism considering he and his wife recently adopted a 38-year-old inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison, who prison officials believe is one of the leaders of a white-supremacist prison gang called the Aryan Brotherhood.

"That makes their reference to Jews in Germany all the more cynical," said Mark Schickman, president of the Holocaust Center of Northern California. "This was the most outrageous statement yet. You've got to shake your head over what these people say."

The Anti-Defamation League did more than shake its head, firing off a release chastising Noel and highlighting his connections with inmate Paul John "Cornfed" Schneider, who was convicted of assault and attempted murder.

"An apparently lawfully issued and executed search warrant bears no resemblance to the systematic hunting down and slaughtering of 6 million Jews," said Jonathan Bernstein, ADL regional director, in the statement. "Mr. Noel should be ashamed for pretending that his being Jewish had any bearing on this investigation."

The couple's relationship with Schneider was further clouded this week when prison officials revealed that nude photos of Knoller were discovered in the prisoner's cell.

When asked if he felt Noel's statements reflected poorly upon the Jewish community, Holocaust survivor Louis de Groot of San Francisco said the comments about the Gestapo were too ridiculous to be taken seriously.

"It's a very childish statement; it shows he is ignorant," said de Groot, who spent the war in hiding in his native Holland. "I don't think it has anything to do with a reflection on the Jewish community. Intelligent people will not look on this as a reflection of the Jewish community."

Despite repeated phone calls, Noel and Knoller could not be reached for comment

dogAfter Whipple's death, the authorities learned that Schneider had had topless photos of Knoller in his cell, and they also served a search warrant looking for photos that supposedly depicted Knoller and the dogs having sex. There were erotic letters from the lawyers to the man they now call their son. And there was Schneider's prison artwork, much of it depicting a nearly nude Knoller with the big dogs.

A former Pelican Bay guard quoted in Rolling Stone magazine said he saw Noel change. "I'd get on the phone with Bob to ask him about a case," Keith Whitley said, "and all he did was talk about how big Bane's balls were." Noel himself bragged to the magazine about the size of the dog's penis and its erections.

He did not seem to mind Knoller's apparent attraction to Schneider, however, and in fact wrote in sexual terms about his wife in letters to the Aryan Brotherhood boss.


Related item on this website:

Dossier on the origins of anti-Semitism
Anti-Defamation League's history of illegally using San Francisco Police files
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