Clarence Thomas’ benefactor collects Hitler memorabilia

According to Harlan Crow, he collects such things because he "hates communism and fascism"

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published April 8, 2023 11:09AM (EDT)

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Harlan Crow, the billionaire benefactor to Justice Clarence Thomas, owns a collection of Hitler artifacts which he keeps on display at his home in Dallas. 

Word of this came via a report from Washingtonian on Friday, the same week in which Thomas made headlines after it was revealed he'd been accepting lavish trips from Crow — which Thomas failed to disclose, in violation of a law passed after Watergate.

Having been so closely tied to Crow in recent headlines, this latest news of his benefactor's private Hitler collection has brought about further backlash.

"Let's normalize Supreme Court Justices (Clarence Thomas) not taking secret gifts from billionaire donors (Harlan Crow) who collect Nazi memorabilia," tweets political commentator, Keith Boykin.

In a series of tweets written on Saturday morning, sociotechnical researcher, Danah Boyd describes visiting Crow's home years ago while attending a meeting about the future of Democracy, during which she viewed his collection first-hand.

"I didn't know who Harlan Crow was at the time," says Boyd. "I was told he was a major GOP fundraiser . . . 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."

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As detailed in the Washingtonian report, Crow's collection contains "two of [Hitler's] paintings of European cityscapes, a signed copy of 'Mein Kampf,' and assorted Nazi memorabilia—plus a garden full of statues of the 20th century's worst despots."

According to Crow, he collects such things because "he hates communism and fascism."

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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