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They Saved Hitler's Self-Hating Jewish Sea Monkeys
September 25, 2006 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Hitler and the Sea Monkeys. When Harold von Braunhut "discovered" a new species of brine shrimp, artemia nyos, he made millions marketing them as Sea Monkeys. Using profits from that and his other inventions (such as X-Ray Specs), von Braunhut funded anti-Semitic groups, including the Aryan Nations, despite being Jewish himself.
posted by jonp72 (55 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I found this while I was thinking about the previous thread about George Allen's Jewish heritage. When you see a web page that says "Hitler and the Sea Monkeys," the FPP practically writes itself.
posted by jonp72 at 9:58 AM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


NSFW: prawnography.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:00 AM on September 25, 2006




In somewhat related news: Watercolors by Hitler? An auction is set.
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on September 25, 2006


That explains why the Xray specs I had as a kid could also see through zionist conspiracies.
posted by dr_dank at 10:09 AM on September 25, 2006 [4 favorites]


:O
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:11 AM on September 25, 2006


I have killed at least six million Sea Monkeys since the late 70's.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:12 AM on September 25, 2006


That explains why my sea monkeys were always tryingto form a Klavern.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:18 AM on September 25, 2006


I think the question on everyone's mind is: What were Sea Monkeys before Sea Monkeys?
posted by Plutor at 10:21 AM on September 25, 2006


You mean "Sea Macacas."
posted by orthogonality at 10:25 AM on September 25, 2006 [2 favorites]


I was a checker at the safeway this guy shopped at 7 or 8 years ago.

He had a huge spread of land down in Indianhead, MD. And he and his wife were really into taking care of the animals there. They'd come in 2-4 times a week to pick up all our expired bread (usually 2 or 3 full carts worth).

More than anything else, he reminded me of the grandfather in Christmas Vacation. Old, shrunken and with only the vaguest awareness of his surroundings. He always wore a tie tack with a swastika on it (or was it a bolero, I don't remember now).

One of the other guys who worked there was a white guy with a shaved head and I guess he got the wrong idea because when he saw the Wu-Tang Clan tattoo on his arm, he asked him what kind of gang they were, and when he said they were a musical group, he showed him his Swastika and said -- well, if you want to join a real clan, let me know.

His wife was the sweetest lady though, dark black hair struck through with white streaks, she was probably 40 years younger than him, in her late 40s or 50s, but it was hard to tell because of the plastic surgery. She always gave off a wierd vibe of both grandmotherliness and flirtiness that made me uncomfortable though. She was very proud when they took sea monkeys up into the space shuttle and I remember her bringing in free packages for everybody one day. I really have a hard time seeing how she went along with all the racism stuff, because she seemed like such a decent person and friendly to pretty much everybody. He just seemed like a sour, bitter old man.

Anyway, no real point to this, just thought I'd share my expriences with them.
posted by empath at 10:26 AM on September 25, 2006 [12 favorites]


"When von Braunhut ascended to that great aquarium in the sky last November, he was said to be at work on a pet lobster and an instant frog."

I don't know what the hell an instant frog could be, but that's a product that sells itself, isn't it?
posted by nyxxxx at 10:27 AM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


(after reading the article) He was only 77? I'd have guessed he was 105. He seemed so old. I guess his wife was probably only 15-20 years younger than him at most, then
posted by empath at 10:30 AM on September 25, 2006


jonp72, your posts are awesome, thanks!
posted by jonson at 10:38 AM on September 25, 2006


Wow, this was great.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:48 AM on September 25, 2006


great post, fascinating stuff. made all the better by empaths' you are there post.
posted by cell divide at 10:55 AM on September 25, 2006


Btw, in Indianhead, being a neo-nazi only made him about 5% more racist than most white people down there. People were remarkably free with the n-word down there.
posted by empath at 10:57 AM on September 25, 2006


On the positive side, a recent anonymous poster can now identify someone who was born a Jew, but was probably less accepted in the Jewish community than he ever will be.

It is too bad none of the articles went into why the guy joined up with the neo nazis. That must be a fascinating, though twisted, story.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:02 AM on September 25, 2006


This is the sort of post I read metafilter for. Great stuff.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:03 AM on September 25, 2006


Hitler and the Sea Monkeys

Isn't that a Traveling Wilburys' song?
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:10 AM on September 25, 2006


I'm going to ask a stupid question. Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups. This seems to be a different problem than simply senying your own heritage.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:22 AM on September 25, 2006


Godwinned on the first word.
posted by Cookiebastard at 11:24 AM on September 25, 2006


Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups.

why not? ... once someone is so irrational as to believe in that sort of thing, they're hardly likely to be rational about anything that could contradict that belief ... such as being one of the people one hates
posted by pyramid termite at 11:31 AM on September 25, 2006


Sea Monkeys on The State

prawn pr0n
posted by elr at 11:38 AM on September 25, 2006


This is a fantastic story, the sort of thing that's so surreal it must be true. Thank you, jonp72, and thank you, empath, for the personal details. I'll even come clean and confess to taking a stab at raising Sea Monkeys during my own childhood, using a kit I bought-- in a now-bizarre coincidence-- at a bargain/remainder store owned by extremely religious Jews.

They didn't survive for more than a week, the little crustacean Nazis.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:39 AM on September 25, 2006


The woman mentioned in empath's link would be former actress Yolanda Signorelli, who married von Braunhut and modeled for the Sea Monkey ads. An extra bit of Hollywood trivia: unaware (or in spite) of von Braunhut's leanings, Howie Mandel appeared in a Saturday morning live-action series as the "creator" of the Sea Monkeys.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:40 AM on September 25, 2006


Sounds like Gosling's character in this: The Believer
posted by spock at 11:40 AM on September 25, 2006


Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups.

He probably became successful without the aid of International Jewry and was pissed that they didn't help him out.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:42 AM on September 25, 2006


What an interesting story - thanks!
posted by goo at 11:44 AM on September 25, 2006


If you want a little insight into why empath felt a bit creeped out by the niceold lady, simply read her filmography for some great movie titles:

Love After Death (1968)
Love Is Where It's At (1968)
Too Much Too Often! (1968)
To Turn a Trick (1967)
File X for Sex: The Perverted (1967)
Venus in Furs (1967)
Death of a Nymphette (1967)
Cool It, Baby (1967)
The Singles (1967)

posted by NationalKato at 11:53 AM on September 25, 2006


Unbelievable---i don't know one person who hasn't ordered from him at some point or another in their lives.
posted by amberglow at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2006


Wow Smart Daleck, that's great! I had no idea!

And noe of those movie titles are the slightest surpise to me, given how she acted :)
posted by empath at 12:03 PM on September 25, 2006


Sounds like Gosling's character in this: The Believer

That character was based on the real-life case of Daniel Burros, a Ku Klux Klansman who committed suicide after a New York Times reporter revealed he was Jewish.
posted by jonp72 at 12:21 PM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yolanda Signorelli

posted by bashos_frog at 12:21 PM on September 25, 2006


First, they came for the brine shrimp.
posted by dhartung at 12:50 PM on September 25, 2006


Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups?

My grandfather lived in NYC back in the 20's. The first day he went to Hillel, they (the teachers) hit him with a stick, and from that day forward he has never been a practicing Jew.

Maybe this guy went to the same Hillel?
posted by noble_rot at 12:58 PM on September 25, 2006


I think there's some subclause to Godwin whereby the phrase "Sea Monkeys" un-Godwins any post.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:08 PM on September 25, 2006


Good heavens.

And yeah, I'm really curious about that instant frog.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 1:09 PM on September 25, 2006


Oh, man, I so did not need to know about this. So did he leave money in his will to neo-Nazi groups? Probably. I'm sure their moral purity didn't allow them to accept it, though.

[Oh and, for a slightly more inspirational kiddie/Nazi connection, try this.]
posted by mediareport at 1:10 PM on September 25, 2006


Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:22 AM PST


How about Adam Pearlman who's Al Queda ties clash with granddaddy's position with the Anti-Defamation League.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:12 PM on September 25, 2006


I couldn't find a coherent way to work this in, but somehow it seemed appropriate to remind everyone that God hates shrimp

(I just sort of presume that this loathing reaches all the way down to the lowly brine shrimp.)
posted by briank at 1:17 PM on September 25, 2006


Great post, great discussion! This is MetaFilter at its best.
posted by CCBC at 1:18 PM on September 25, 2006


Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups.


For the same reason homosexuals formed the log cabin political club... Deep and twisted self loathing.
posted by Fupped Duck at 1:22 PM on September 25, 2006


Alert George Lucas. We've found his title!
posted by rob511 at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2006


What I'm curious to know is what happened to Richard Butler. BTW, it may seem strange for a jew to turn against his own kind, but the actions of Israel these days are inspiring fury from a lot of jews. I'm 1/4 Jewish and the subject of Israel sets me off on a rant when it comes up. I wonder if von Braunhut was egged on for similar reasons. But there must be a line between anti-Semitism & criticizing a country's policies.
posted by dwarfplanet at 1:29 PM on September 25, 2006


once someone is so irrational as to believe in that sort of thing, they're hardly likely to be rational about anything that could contradict that belief ... such as being one of the people one hates

Exactly. Besides, his only real constraint is that he wouldn't be able to participate in any cross-burnings that were held on Friday nights after dusk.
posted by psmealey at 1:37 PM on September 25, 2006


Yolanda Signorelli

Porn actresses were much more attractive in the old days, weren't they?
posted by stammer at 1:45 PM on September 25, 2006


empath writes "I really have a hard time seeing how she went along with all the racism stuff, because she seemed like such a decent person and friendly to pretty much everybody."

Some people are better at hiding it than others.

Pastabagel writes "Why would a Jewish man fund anti-semitic groups. This seems to be a different problem than simply senying your own heritage."

There are a lot of groups who think they don't belong on Earth
posted by Mitheral at 2:14 PM on September 25, 2006


But there must be a line between anti-Semitism & criticizing a country's policies.

Related reading
posted by milnak at 2:19 PM on September 25, 2006


Triops kick Sea Monkey ass.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:32 PM on September 25, 2006


But there must be a line between anti-Semitism & criticizing a country's policies.
posted by dwarfplanet at 1:29 PM PST


Isle 8. Next to the lines about not supporting a police action makes you an al queda supporter, thinking leadership is doing a port job makes you a dirty hipply liberal, and a bunch of other lines.

You may have to sort through the line-bine to find the one you like.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:56 PM on September 25, 2006


Wow, he's like the Clayton Bigsby of anti-semitics.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:09 PM on September 25, 2006


Wow, this is great. Thanks for the post - This is just the kind of gonzo wonderful I love Metafilter for.
posted by huskerdont at 6:18 PM on September 25, 2006


Clayton Bigsby (video) : >
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on September 25, 2006


Once you put on a swastika armband you've pretty much waived your Godwin rights.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:56 AM on September 26, 2006


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