Prominent white supremacist shot to death 14, 2005

Wolfgang Droege, one-time white supremacist leader, was shot dead Wednesday in the east end of Toronto.

"Live by the sword, die by the sword," Warren Kinsella, author of the 1994 book Web of Hate, told on Wednesday.

"A surprise to precisely no one who has followed Wolfgang Droege's life."

Toronto Police said they went to an apartment building in the city's east end where they found a man in a second-floor hallway.

That man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I knew him to see him,'' Donna Davis told The Canadian Press. "Definitely, I'm positive that that's the man who is dead.''

Davis said Droege had lived in the building for about 10 years.

After the shooting, a suspect barricaded himself in an apartment. About an hour went by before he was arrested by Emergency Task Force officers.

While the victim wasn't identified by police, both CTV News and another news outlet identified him as the 55-year-old Droege.

"Wolfgang was the real article," Kinsella said.

"He was, without qualification, the most significant leader of the Canadian white supremacist neo-Nazi movement ever."

Born in Germany, Droege came to Canada as a boy, although he did return to his homeland for a brief period.

His first involvement in the white supremacy movement was with the Western Guard.

In 1976, he joined the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan after meeting Klan leader David Duke at a conference and attempted to start a chapter in Toronto.

Droege would "try and shake your hand, he'd be very genial, he'd speak in sound bites and so on," Kinsella said.

"He told me he learned a lot of his techniques and approaches from David Duke."

Kinsella said Duke brought the far right "into the TV age."

Droege's involvement in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of Dominica in the Caribbean -- the plan being to set up a white supremacist base there -- led to a three-year prison sentence.

While others involved lost their stomach for far right activism after that failed plot, Droege "kept at it," Kinsella said. "They kept throwing him in jail, and he'd come out more committed than he was before."

Droege was arrested in Alabama in 1985 on cocaine possession and weapons charges. He was convicted and sentenced to 13 years, returning to Canada in April 1989.

He started organizing the Heritage Front in October 1989. The group was a continental network of neo-Nazis.

Among the tactics they used to spread their message were racist rock concerts and a telephone hotline that offered racist phone messages.

Droege was an associate of Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel, who was recently deported from Canada.

After the mid-1990s and the emergence of the Internet as a primary communications and organizing tool for hate groups, Droege became less active and focused more on drug trafficking.

"Droege never made that transition. He never got with the information age," Kinsella said.

He said if one watches the Internet over the next few days, the far right groups will probably try to paint Droege as a martyr.

"I guarantee you within 48 hours, they'll say on the Internet that he was killed by the agents of ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government), that it wasn't a drug deal, that's what the Jews are spreading about him, that he was assassinated by the police ...," he said.

As a result, police will want to watch and see if there is a surge in far-right recruiting activity, he said.

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