Spies like us

The Canadian Jewish Congress wasn't only spying on Nazi leader John Beattie in 1965, it was also spying on N3, its own most active critic in the Jewish community

The Canadian Jewish Congress wasn't only spying on Nazi leader John Beattie in 1965, it was also spying on N3, its own most active critic in the Jewish community. Historian Frank Bialystok, in his book Delayed Impact, quoted a leader of N3 who said that N3 figured this out: "We went to New York to buy a bugging device[to infiltrate the neo-Nazis]... and the equipment picked up Congress's bugging device, so we knew." The fact that CJC was spying on another Jewish group arguably shows the extent to which it was worried about losing its pre-eminence among Jews and being painted by its critics as not doing enough to fight the Nazis. After the riot at Allan Gardens, private detective John Garrity parted ways with N3 because of the group's violent overtones and was then hired by CJC. Ezra Levant, author of Shakedown, a recent book on the affair, contends that Beattie's organizational skills were so poor that he failed to understand that there were lots of spies in his Nazi group. In fact, there were at least two other Jewish groups - N3 and a Holocaust survivor's group called COIN - and two other Jews who had also infiltrated Beattie's Nazis. According to the Toronto Star, three university students - Ronald Bottaro, Christopher Dingle and John Dingle - had infiltrated Beattie's Nazi group for six months at the behest of N3. "The Dingle brothers and Bottaro always used to bring me beer," Beattie told The Jerusalem Post. "I remember in one of the rallies they were dressed up in full outfit... with Nazi swastikas... I never thought of them as being spies." Bottaro reported that Beattie had from "nine to 17 followers," but given all of the spies for Jewish groups, it's likely there were more Jews than Nazis at some of the meetings. As Bialystok wrote: "The reality is that more outsiders had information about the neo-Nazis than those within the movement itself." Yet , Bottaro also told the Toronto Star that in addition to the followers, "we learned that there is a Nazi underground movement operating here and receiving financial backing from middle-class businessmen." This statement supports the notion that that there was real concern among Jews for potential growth of the Nazi movement, beyond just Beattie. BEFORE THIS story ends, there is one missing piece which revolves around the question of a Dutchman, Henryk Van der Windt, who at some point began to spy on Beattie. "I used to rent a room in Van der Windt's house," Beattie said. "I used to sit around and get drunk with him, sometimes there were a bunch of drunks." Bialystok wrote that at a certain point Van der Windt "had become a double agent" who allowed Beattie's files to be photographed. His apartment was used as a meeting place for the Nazis. Bialystok said he never learned which Jewish group Van der Windt was working for. But Van der Windt told the Toronto Telegram on June 25, 1965 when followed home after a Nazi meeting that he was working undercover for the Canadian Jewish Congress. When the Telegram asked Sydney Harris of the CJC about this, Harris didn't deny it, but only said "no comment." Beattie recalled that it was long after June of 1965 when he and Van Der Windt talked about Van der Windt having worked for the Canadian Jewish Congress. "I still can't believe that he worked for them," he said. Beattie remembered that Van der Windt told him that that "he didn't want anyone saying that his building was being used as Nazi headquarters." Beattie also said that today "I don't have hatred toward anyone on the planet."