THE SHADOW OF INTOLERANCE
NEBRASKA AND THE KLAN
The Ku Klux Klan flourished in Nebraska
in the 1920s. Originally a vigilante
group in the South immediately after the Civil War, the Klan
was re-established around 1915 with a different emphasis. This
"second generation" Klan presented itself as moral, patriotic, and
concerned about threats both foreign and domestic. It was also
secretive, bigoted, and sometimes dangerous.
Because of the Klan's pro-American, pro-family,
pro-public-education, anti-bootlegger philosophy, many towns
In Nebraska had active Klaverns. Yet by the 1930s the Klan all
but disappeared, gutted by moral scandal and financial fraud.
D. W. Griffith's epic 1915 silent movie, The
Birth of a Nation, inspired the birth of a new Ku Klux
Klan. This film showed in many Nebraska communities, and many
communities were home to new Klaverns. This card advertised the
screening in Ainsworth in 1918.
of the Klu Klux Klan march down O Street in Lincoln during
what is probably the 1924 Fourth of July Parade.
Klan Picnic at Epworth Park advertisement,
Klansmen in Neligh, Nebraska, ca.
1925. Many communities in Nebraska, both large and small, had
a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan
Sandborn map of Lincoln showing
at 7th and Washington Streets.
Cantor and the Klansman: A Story of Redemption
Larry Trapp, once the Grand Dragon of
the KKK for the Realm of Nebraska,
denounced a lifetime of racial hate and violence after experiencing
the loving kindness of Cantor (now Rabbi) Michael Weisser and
his wife Julie. Trapp joined the Klan in 1988 and became the
Grand Dragon of Nebraska shortly after. He organized Neo-Nazi
meetings, sent out hate literature and made threatening phone
calls to prominent and less prominent African-Americans
and Jewish leaders. He was also rumored to have been involved
in several arsons and bomb threats. After he made threatening
phone calls to the Weissers, they responded with messages of
love, once offering to take the almost blind and wheel chair
bound Trapp to the grocery store. Soon, Trapp asked the Weissers
to meet with him. After speaking with them, he renounced the
KKK, moved into the Weisser home, converted to Judaism and died
in the care of his adopted family on September 6, 1992. He is
buried in the Jewish section of Wyuka Cemetery.