Harlon Crow and Clarence Thomas
Dear Commons Community,
Harlan Crow, the Republican billionaire and megadonor to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, allegedly has a collection of Adolf Hitler artifacts and Nazi memorabilia on display at his home, according to several media reports.
Crow’s million-dollar estate in Dallas, Texas, houses Adolf Hitler artifacts, including two paintings by Hitler and a signed copy of his book “Mein Kampf,” along with a stockpile of other Nazi mementos such as a swastika medallion, statues of dictators of the 20th century in the backyard and more, according to the Washingtonian.
Inspired by his hatred for communism and fascism, the Washingtonian reports, Crow’s collection faced major backlash in 2015 after he hosted a fundraiser at his estate on the eve of Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday. An anonymous source who attended the fundraiser told the Washingtonian that the house felt like a museum, describing it as “strange” given the assortment of family photos in one room, World War II artifacts in another and a backyard full of dictators.
Researcher Danah Boyd tweeted on Saturday that she was “deeply shaken” by the displayed Nazi memorabilia when she attended a meeting at Crow’s house a few years ago.
“Years later, I still shudder thinking about the Nazi uniform decorations in Harlan Crow’s house. And the painting. And the book. And the statues. And the ‘antebellum’ (pro-slavery) artifacts. I’m glad others are questioning the acceptability of those materials,” Boyd said in a tweet, adding that she left the meeting after seeing the Nazi artifacts.
Boyd pointed out that this topic is not new and that Dallas reporters have been “covering this for years.”
Crow also has a garden featuring the statues of some of the twentieth century’s worst dictators.
Crow, 74, has said that he collects the statues because he hates communism and fascism, but his habit caused controversy in 2015 when he hosted a fundraiser at his home on the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday.
A year earlier, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News got a peek at the sculptures of Soviet revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito.
In a 2014 home walk-through and interview with the Dallas Morning News, Crow described the home display as “not an art collection, but a historical nod to the facts of man’s inhumanity to man.” He received online backlash about his artifacts but maintained that the motivation behind the display is “based on patriotism and living generations’ debt to the past.”
He added: “We all, collectively — whether we’re a little bit blue or a little bit red, or a lot — owe a huge debt. We need to understand how we all got here and to try to do in our own time what we can do for our future.”
The resurfaced controversy surrounding Crow’s house comes days after a ProPublica report revealed undisclosed ties between the megadonor and Thomas. Democrats and judicial advocates are calling for action after ProPublica found that Thomas failed to report the “lavish trips” he had accepted from Crow for over two decades.