U.S. Senate hopeful Crist blames ‘inexcusable mistake by staff’ for letter
updated 3:03 a.m. ET July 25, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Despite the content of a letter bearing his signature, Gov. Charlie Crist does not want to share an anti-Semitic movie with all Floridians.
Crist's office sent a letter thanking John Ubele for providing the governor with a copy of the film "Jud Suss." The film is recognized as one of history's most incendiary.
The brief thank-you note was dated June 30 and bore the governor's automated signature. It praised the Pasco County resident's thoughtfulness and generosity and said Crist would be delighted to share the DVD with the people of Florida.
"I was surprised considering the stigma that has been associated with the film," Ubele said Friday in an exchange of e-mails with The Associated Press. "I was even more surprised when I looked at the signature because from what I can tell it looks real."
The signature, however, was made by a machine and Crist never saw the letter.
Crist later called it "an inexcusable mistake by staff in my office," in a letter released just before 9 p.m. that was addressed to Ubele's work address in St. Petersburg.
"Neither I or anyone in this administration agree with or condone the anti-Semitic content of this DVD," Crist wrote in a second letter that also carried his automated signature.
The 1940 film was produced by the Nazi propaganda arm and was a great success in Germany and abroad, although it was banned in Sweden in 1941 and has never been shown in that country.
Within the Third Reich, "Jud Suss" was the No. 1 film of the 1939-1940 season when it was seen by more than 20 million people. Anti-Jewish violence was reported after its projection in Marseille, France.
Ubele, who ran unsuccessfully for the state Legislature, is the operations manager of a group called the Nationalist Coalition that promotes "white activism."
On its Web site, the organization says it is working to "do whatever is necessary to achieve white living space a to keep it White."
Ubele did not immediately respond to a follow-up e-mail seeking comment on Crist's request to remove any references to the letter from any of his Web sites.
Crist, a Republican who was elected governor in 2006, is passing up a re-election bid to seek the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated next year by Republican U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who is retiring after one term.