Neo-Nazis display antisemitic, racist banners in Saugus and Danvers

“The scapegoating of the Jewish community is an age-old but exceedingly harmful antisemitic trope that must be called out and condemned whenever and wherever it occurs.”

Antisemitic and racist banners were hung over highways in Saugus and Danvers on Saturday by masked men affiliated with a local neo-Nazi group. 

The banners, displayed from the Walnut Street bridge over Route 1 in Saugus and over a railway bridge above Andover Street in Danvers, read “JEWS DID 9/11″ and “DEFEND WHITE COMMUNITIES,” according to the Boston Globe. Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

A photo taken around 6 p.m. Saturday shows a banner displayed from the Walnut Street Bridge over Route 1 southbound in Saugus. – Raquel Alvarez-Segee

National Socialist Club 131, or NSC-131 claimed responsibility for the actions on social media, the Globe reported. 

The group is identified as a neo-Nazi organization by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Members of NSC-131 see themselves as soldiers in a war against a nefarious, Jewish-controlled system that is determined to destroy white people, according to the ADL. 


Saugus police received multiple complaints regarding the messages around 6 p.m. Saturday, the department said in a statement.  While the people were not breaking any laws, the department condemned their messaging. 

“Saugus Police determined that the men were not breaking laws despite the hateful subject of their message,” the statement said. “While the First Amendment protects one’s legal right to speech, the Saugus Police Department condemns the hateful messages displayed in our community and we condemn antisemitism and hate in all its forms.”

Saugus police notified the ADL about the incident. In response, ADL Executive Director Robert O. Trestan said that the NSC-131 members were “cowardly masked extremists” who were using the Sept. 11 anniversary to spread hate. 

“The scapegoating of the Jewish community is an age-old but exceedingly harmful antisemitic trope that must be called out and condemned whenever and wherever it occurs. Using this tragedy to spread false, destructive and divisive narratives harms our communities and sense of security and disgraces the memory of the victims from that day,” Trestan said in a statement

Hateful propaganda like the messages spread by NSC-131 are reportedly more prominent in Massachusetts than many parts of the country.  The state had the fourth highest levels of hate propaganda activity in America last year, according to a report released this spring by the ADL. The group found the highest number of antisemitic incidents across the country in 2021 since the ADL began tracking them in 1979. 


NSC-131 has been especially active in the Boston area this year. In July, NSC-131 leader Chris Hood was arrested for allegedly fighting a counter-protester near a drag queen story hour in Jamaica Plain. The group gathered outside a community center to protest the event. 

The neo-Nazi group also made headlines in March, when they displayed a banner at Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade that read “Keep Boston Irish.”


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