Escape from Room 18 (2017) - full transcript

John Daly, an ex-Neo Nazi, fled to Israel when his gang tried to kill him for being Jewish. An old Skinhead friend finds John 25 years later and suggests they visit concentration camps in an effort to make amends for their past.

The owner thought of us as
sort of as a type of security.

And one night, there was
someone that showed up

that he really did not like,

and he wanted us to make the guy leave.

I used to wear these rings,

thinking that if I punched somebody,

it was going to cause
more pain and it did.

Every time I hit this guy in the face,

he would scream.

And we had me hitting him.

We had this guy, Mike, hitting him.

One guy broke his hand,
punching him so hard.

So I'm punching harder
and harder and harder.

And eventually, he got loose.

One shoe came off.

I remember Joe taking it

and just whizzed it
across the parking lot.

And as soon as we got
him down on the ground,

I walked over and was like, all right,

and threw the guy a kick.

It was basically kind of soft at first.

And I remember the guy cried out,

"Mama, mama".

I had a thought for one second,

when I was giving really brief kicks,

that if you let this bother you now,

it'll bother you for
the rest of your life.

So I made like a switch,

learning how to turn my conscience off.

And at that point, I just
kicked the ever-loving shit

out of that guy.

And (scoffs), walked off and left him.

He wasn't black or Hispanic,

not a person of color at all.

He was just a stupid white
guy doing stupid stuff

that was in the wrong
place at the right time.

(pensive music)

(dramatic music)

- In recent years,

we've become accustomed to
hearing how the Jewish Agency

for Israel has rescued Jews

from areas of distress
like Yugoslavia, Chechnya,

and brought them to safety here in Israel.

But when we hear that the Jewish Agency

has rescued a young American Jew

from Daytona Beach, Florida,

that's another story, altogether.

It's the story of John Daly.

Welcome John.

Your story begins back in
1990 on a beach in Florida.

What happened?

- A group of seven Neo-Nazi skinheads,

some of whom were from the
town of Ocala that I lived in,

recognized me and proceeded
to do their best to do me in.

- And they tried to kill you?
- Yes, sir.

- Hate crime in general,

there there's no statute of
limitations on hate crimes.

So therefore, I'm gonna
have to reframe from-

- Okay.
- I mean.

If there's certain things I say,

I can literally wind up in prison.

- One of them shouted
out, "Die, Jew boy die".

And they pulled me into the ocean.

And two of them sat on me

to make sure that I couldn't get up.

- [Woman] The perpetrators of this crime

are members of a known
national organization

who would not stop at murdering John,

in part, I think to save
themselves from prosecution,

somewhere down the line.

- Because those kinds of people,

when you commit crimes, they don't forget.

I mean, like they don't forget.

And when you do it, you
don't want them to forget,

you know, you want them to know
what you're doing is wrong.

It's against them.

It's hatred.

Hey, I'm right here, don't forget me.

We're never going to
let you live in peace.

- [Interviewer] Luckily you
survived, amazingly survived.

- [John] Yes sir.

It's really hard to believe almost

that this kind of
antisemitism, skinhead attacks,

exists in the United States.

Is this an isolated incident

or do you know of others like it?

- No, I don't believe
it's an isolated incident.

I think that, while the
attacks may not be against

necessarily Jews in general,

but they're against minorities.

And I think any attack on any
minority is an attack on us.

- [Interviewer] Six years
after they were sent to jail,

if I remember correctly,

two of the people who
attacked you were released.

Did things change for you?

- [John] They were beginning to.

Some of the people went to jail

for just assault and battery.

Two went to jail for attempted murder.

They were leaders in
the racist organizations

and they had made it clear
that when they got out,

that they were going to finish the job.

(suspenseful music)

- I always thought I had
the greatest criminal mind

of anyone I'd ever met.

And John loved to entertain these ideas,

'cause I always had some good ones.

We just, you know, basically,

somehow stayed out of trouble,

while causing a lot of trouble.

One of our favorite things
to do was go shooting.

We both had matching 38, five shots

and we put 'em to work.

- The skinheads are an
organization such that

members from Orlando
will sit around and laugh

and joke around at the
beginning of the evening,

telling stories about the
houses they fire-bombed

or the former members that they shot

before they began any discussions.

That way that the groundwork
has been laid for you

to understand what happens to
people that just walk away.

(suspenseful music)

- What drew me to John
was he was very quiet,

very well thought.

You could tell he was an
incredibly methodical person.

He was like a chess player.

He was like Bobby Fisher, he
was always 10 moves ahead.

He knew what he wanted
from life, it seemed.

He wanted the same things I wanted, power.

I was almost like his antithesis

'cause I was very quick
to react and very loud.

And John was exactly the opposite,

very calm, cool and collective.

When he would get mad,
he would almost whisper

very quiet and smile a lot,

where as I would get loud and in your face

and move around a bunch.

So it was an odd dichotomy
with the two of us together.

(suspenseful music)

- At the hospital bed, we pressed
John for more information.

He said it was his friends,

so-called friends who had beat him up.

And that's when his
story began to come out.

He was very selfish.

Can still be.

The tumor has been the best thing

that ever happened to
him, has made him humble.

(somber music)

And I used to pray, God,
he needs to be broken.

John's father came from a
very violent background.

He brought that into the marriage.

Guns, knives, you name it.

I've had it held to my head, to my throat.

- My dad, when he was younger,

was a gang leader in New York City.

No small thing unto itself.

My dad would hit Puerto Ricans

to see which way they would fall.

That was something I remember
hearing more than once

from various members of
my family as I grew up.

When he was younger,

he ran over my grandfather
and shot my uncle,

both in the same night.

- It's about feeling safe

and not feeling alone and
feeling you're part of something,

even if it wasn't something
you wanted to be a part of,

once you were in, you know,

once I was tattooed and
you know, recruited,

I was top of the pecking order.

As soon as you bring, you know,

five or six people to the table,

all of a sudden, everybody loves you.

- One thing that separated me

from a lot of the other guys

and something that got me noticed

was the fact that I had no tattoos.

The only tats I wanted

were ones that no one would give me.

I wanted skins on the inside of my lip.

The other tat that I
wanted was a spiderweb

showing that I'd killed somebody.

And that of course, I had yet to earn.

I remember one day there was,

I was at somebody's house.

One of the apartments in the area

and a crew of black guys showed up

and they said they wanted
one of the guys inside,

a white guy, a friend of mine.

And I don't know how many it was,

but they just came into the door

and jumped on him, started beating on him.

Got him back into the kitchen.

And there was a frying
pan on the kitchen stove,

a nice big lead frying pan.

And it made an interesting whack

when they hit him in the head.

They hit him so hard, they
dented this metal frying pan

on top of his head.

And just the fear and
helplessness at that moment

that I had no one I could
call and no one to turn to.

There's no one that I could
say, hey, I need help,

that could come.

And that was a terrifying moment.

- Because of the bullying
he'd had from black people,

he got, so he didn't like him.

And it put a fear in him.

And all of a sudden, he finds these people

to be a part of that's got his back.

He was tired of being picked on.

And I can't say, as I blame him.

- When I turned against racism,

was basically a group of skinheads.

One racist.

They weren't active,

doing much more than just seeking

where the next beer was going to come from

and looking out for one another.

And that was something that was new to me.

And I was instantly drawn to it.

I saw their style of dress.

I saw their comradery.

The fact that they flowed together,

laughed together

and more importantly, they
all had each other's back.

- You know, coming from being a geeky kid

who was picked on,

you know, never felt to belong

to all of a sudden have people
that would do your biddings,

it feels good.

I'm not gonna lie, it feels good.

- One of the guys lifted up his shirt,

showed me a white hand and a
black hand breaking a swastika.

And he said, oh, it's
cool that you're Jewish.

You know, we don't have a
problem with races, whatsoever.

There were some guys from
AYF that did have racist,

white supremacy tattoos

that I didn't know about.

They were hidden on their bodies

that I didn't see until much, much later.

Two of the guys went down to Orlando

and while they were down there,

they met up with some
racist skinheads from AYF,

Aryan Youth Force.

AYF was led by a guy named Richie

who was a diehard neo-Nazi skinhead.

One day there was a knock at my front door

and he was outside

with two other neo-Nazi skinheads.

So in the back of my mind,
I was like, all right,

if this is for you,

like if they're here
for you, go with them.

I didn't know that the
guys that he'd met up with

had already handed over
the names and addresses

of everybody where we all lived.

And he didn't know I was Jewish.

That was one piece of information

that Chris and them, kept to themselves.

So as I rode with him

and they're telling me
about this organization

that they belong to,

they're like, oh yeah, you
remember that guy, Bobby?

Bobby moved to different city.

They found him crucified
in his front yard.

And each one told a story about somebody

who's mysteriously this,
mysterious this, mysteriously that.

Then Richie leaned over the back and said,

oh, welcome aboard.

And I knew at that moment,

that I wasn't being asked,

I was being told, one, you're not with us.

And two, if you try and leave...

It wasn't that they did this
to strangers that refused them,

they did to their friends.

So at that moment, I wasn't
going to say, wait a second,

I'm Jewish, I can't be involved.

Little did I know I was meeting

with my future attempted
murderer, that day.

- [Ruth] He's trying to hide
the fact that he's a Jew,

getting more and more involved

in serious racist skinhead meetings.

There was no internet.

There was no computers.

You didn't have cell phones.

- These guys are totally
meshed in society.

I knew they could find me

because you just didn't
know, if you'd look,

the guy sitting next
to you in a restaurant

was a supporter, was active.

And when you see that at 16 years old,

that you're near a police cruiser

and a police officer in uniform,

who's talking to you as an equal

because you're a racist and thinking, wow,

I can't call the cops.

What if they send this guy?

There were parties, you'd
hear people bragging

about hanging out with judges.

You'd hear people talking about

hanging out with politicians.

I couldn't type into Google in 1990,

hey, how do I get out a
neo-Nazi organization?

Can you help me?

I couldn't turn to my
parents and say, hey,

I know you guys don't have money.

Let's move to another city,

change our names

and try and go into the
Witness Protection Program.

No, it doesn't work like.

- And I would say, where
are you going, John?

I'm going out?

Well, how did you hurt your fist?

It looks bruised.

I don't know, I just knocked
it against something.

And suddenly, the doors shut.

I wasn't a part of John's life anymore.

- I really stopped dealing my parents,

my brothers and other people around me,

even some very close friends.

- They walked down the hall

in their Dr. Marten boots or combat boots

and the kids and the teachers stepped back

and made way for them.

- And by association,
whether you're tough or not,

all of a sudden you are,

and you scare the shit out of people,

which is very attractive to somebody

that months prior,

was picked on.

And all of a sudden, you're
placed in a position where,

hey, I can defend myself now.

I don't have to be afraid anymore.

On one hand, I'm terrified

that they're going to
find out on I'm Jewish,

but on the other, I
think it's so far away,

the chance is so far, so remote,

so removed from me,

that I'm safe now.

I've actually found safety
in the embrace of Nazis

and as a Jew.

So if I'm stuck and
there's nothing I can do,

I might as well try and be

as tough and as crazy and as wild

as the rest of the people around me.

The American front was
a national organization

with chapters all over the United States.

And we started by David Lynch,

who was the Eastern States
chairman of the American front,

who had ostensibly had 5,000
soldiers under his command.

And Bob Heick.

Bob Heick was somebody that
was on the Geraldo Rivera Show.

- Sick and tired of hearing
the sob stories from kikes.

I get sick and tired of
seeing Uncle Tom here.

(overlapping arguing on
the Gerald Rivera Show)

(dramatic music)
(cacophony of arguing)

- He's a member of a group

where most of them haven't
even finished high school.

And he's had his nose in
books since he was a kid.

He knows the history of
World War I, World War II,

the weapons, everything about it.

Both sides, the German
side and the other side,

allies side.

So when he was involved with these people,

he would keep them straight.

They'd try to tell him a story

and he'd say, it didn't happen that way.

It happened this way.

And he could produce
the facts and the book

and the page and show
you where it happened.

So these people, the leaders began to see,

hey, we got a kid that
can think on his feet.

He's not just out there
boozing and fighting

and creating a ruckus.

He can think.

He knows how to think on his feet.

And they begin to take an interest in him.

This was a leader that
they wanted to train.

- Bob Heick called me
a good little racist.

One day when I asked about if
he'd said anything about me,

and that's what was relayed back to me.

Bob said, you a good little racist.

And I remember at the
time, being so touched.

So for Bob, this was something,

I was somebody that he knew,

David Lynch, as well.

I was somebody he'd spoken to.

In the summer of 1990,
I received a phone call,

saying, I want you to be
the Northern Florida leader

of the American front.

All of North Florida belongs to you.

I now had, in my mind,

unlimited power.

I knew that I could pick up a phone,

make a call and say,
I want something done.

And there were guys that would do it.

It wasn't something
that I was going to say,

oh, no thank you.

And truthfully, I was
honored and flattered

that I had been recognized.

- We talked a little bit about it.

And I remember telling John,

John, you've been to Yad Vashem.

You've seen what the Nazis did.

They killed Jews.

And he just sorta like
shrugged his shoulders,

like, oh well.

- I distinctly remember my
mom sitting me down one night

and saying, John, they're
going to hurt you.

I knew what she meant.

When they find out you're Jewish,

they're going to hurt you.

- I didn't find out, John was Jewish,

I think until they tried
to put him in the ground,

was how I found out.

- The evening of October, the sixth, 1990,

the phone kept ringing off the hook.

And it was Heather,

the ex-wife of one of John's best friends.

And with urgency, she kept saying,

he must be at Daytona Beach.

We're having a special meeting tonight.

He's got to be there.

- And uh,

that's when,

I found out that they knew, yeah.

Everybody was involved.

None of these guys were
going out of their way

to be like, hey, maybe you
should get out of here.

Every time I went into a
room, it would get quiet.

I'm like, man, this is weird.

This is just the weirdest
vibe I've ever gotten.

At one point, someone said,
let's go down to the beach.

One guy punched me behind my ear.

I heard somebody shout, "Now!"

Then the rest came in and the
punches just started flying.

And I'm shouting out, "I'm a skinhead",

'cause I was trying to think, in my mind,

I'm trying to rationalize
why this was happening.

(suspenseful music)

And somebody shouted
out, "Die Jew boy, die".

And at that point I knew,

there was no coming back.

(dramatic music)

It wasn't just one or two kicks.

My God, it was an ongoing,
continuous savage beating.

- [Ruth] They were going to kill him.

And they beat him up and
dragged him out in the ocean,

drowned him and left
him, floating out to sea.

- And when I couldn't
hold my breath any longer

and I inhaled,

I could feel the water hit my lungs.

And as soon as it hit
my lungs, I shot it out.

And then my lungs went (gasping).

And they filled it up again.

- I read the depositions.

Every one of 'em,

they went back into the ocean,

sat on him,

pushed him down to the
bottom of the beach,

where he could feel the
abrasion of the sand on his face

and held him down until he died.

- You feel the water rush into your lungs.

And just as quickly,

your lungs will collapse to shoot it out.

And then again, it'll expand again.

And it takes two pulls of
your diaphragm to completely

fill your lungs with water.

And you can feel it.

Oh, you can feel it,

especially on an October night,

you can feel when that
cold water hits your lungs.

And that's when I felt myself die.

The darkness just began to close in,

covering up the light and
then it sealed it out.

And that was it.

I ceased to be.

- And according to their
statements in court,

the water was a foot over his face.

His mouth was open and his
arms were out to his side

and he was floating out to sea.

And I believe God washed that
kid back up on that beach

and saved my son's life.

- And apparently, the
doctors told my parents,

get ready to say goodbye to your son.

He's most likely not gonna survive.

And I remember I had an
Indian doctor that came in

and looked at me and said,

there's no medical reason
why you should be alive.

You need to find something to believe in.

A table, a chair, you need
to find something to pray to

because there is something
that saved your life.

- So at first, I didn't believe it.

And then when I,

I knew it was true,

I was more concerned about his well-being.

It was a hard time in our little town.

I'm not gonna lie.

Everybody, it seemed
like everybody was out

to get everybody else.

Everybody was throwing
everybody else under the bus.

So like I said, as soon as
I graduated high school,

which was quickly,

I got a regular old high school diploma

and I was like a prom dress, I was off.

I ended up moving to
Gainesville for a bit,

still in the movement

and then wound up in a pocket of Florida,

hanging out with the same group of guys,

eventually that tried
to cause John's demise,

at which time I realized,

I was probably in a
little bit over my head.

- The last threat I received

was a very simple,

when the last guy gets out of prison,

we're going to have a reunion.

All of us together with you.

And we're going to finish what we started.

I contacted the Jewish Agency

and I said, "I need to
move to Israel, now!"

- They were a Jewish family in trouble.

This was a Jewish kid in trouble.

And we were not asking a lot of questions.

We just wanted to know how we could help.

- And they began to get the wheels moving.

And I found myself in short
order, in my new home,

in the state of Israel,

where here, I felt safe.


- [Ruth] I'm coming, I'm coming.

- I had two awake brain surgeries.

And that's exactly what it sounds like.

You are awake while you're
going through surgery.

And the operating table is
such that I was strapped down,

my legs and my arms were out to the side.

I could feel them pulling my scalp

as they detached it from my skull.

For some reason, the
anesthetic that they used

to numb my cranium, my
skull, so I wouldn't feel it,

didn't work.

So once that thought
saw started sliding in,

it was a pain that I cannot
even begin to describe.

The neuropsychologist I was dealing

with explained to me that this

was most likely the product
of a slow bleed in my brain.

She looked at me and said,

you've had this tumor for a long time.

The only thing I can think of

that would cause a slow bleed in my brain

would have been the beating in Daytona.

(ominous music)

(pensive music)

- The thing I'm looking
forward to the most

when I go to Prague is to spend time

with somebody who was a
friend of mine 20 years ago,

in entirely different circumstances.

And really,

to show,

the power of change.

That no matter who you
are or who you were,

you can always become somebody else.

That only you stick yourself in a pattern

of self-indemnification.

I'm a loser.

I'm a failure.

That he opted, he made the decision

to get out of the
skinhead racist lifestyle.

So um...

- [Ruth] Similar to what happened to you?

- I believe part of it was
because what happened to me.

He and I were very,
very close at the time.

But I think it's also,

from what I understand,

that I went underground,
no one could find me.

And there was definitely revenge taken

on the friends of John the Jew.

And he apparently, was one of 'em

that was attacked and
beaten up several times

because he was loyal and had
been my friend and didn't,

didn't betray me.

And I just disappeared.

And there were a lot of
friends, him included,

that were offended at the fact

that I didn't believe their friendship

could span boundaries,

but as far as I was concerned,

no one was to be trusted and no one was.

And to this day, nobody is.

It's just the way it is.

Kevin was one of my best friends

at a period in my life, when,

my life was smoke and mirrors.

(suspenseful music)

The last time I remember sitting

and standing and talking
with Kevin face-to-face,

both of us had guns in our hands.

And it's a lot to digest.

Leaving Israel, cutting the
umbilical cord to my hospitals.

I'm excited to see him.

I'm excited to see who he's become.

Where he's gone in his life,

which I'm quite impressed with.

But at the same time,

what if he's still with
the white power movement?

(pensive music)

(upbeat music)

- I was going to be in Prague for a week,

'cause that gives me girl
time with my twin sister

and we can talk late and cook popcorn

and do all kinds of noisy things

and besides, she likes
cooking on my stove.

And I know that I get
Southern fried chicken.

I provide the stove and the gas.

She cooks and I eat.

It's a great combination.

It's a win all the way around.

- [John] All right mom, I'm out of here.

- John, do you want some extra cookies

with you to eat along the way?

- No thank you, I'll get
something at the airport.

But at least give me a hug.

(pensive music)

God bless.

(faint talking)

(suspenseful music)

First things first.

(faint talking)

I need to call home and let
'em know that I'm alive.

That I made it.

It's not letting me call out.

It's not letting me call anybody.

(suspenseful music)

I got it set up for Wi-Fi.

For some reason, it's not doing it.

(suspenseful music)

I trust that this is the real deal.

This isn't anything else.

I'm already looking out,

to see if anybody's looking at me

harder than they should.

(suspenseful music)

Harder than I feel they should.

Am I gonna meet somebody with
long sleeves, hiding tattoos,

a weird haircut?

Am I gonna meet just a normal citizen?

- It was a long road

coming out of the skinhead movement.

I'm not going to lie.

It was a long road to where coming back

to what I thought was

like everybody else 'cause
I never felt normal.

I never felt welcomed.

I never felt like I was one of the gang

or I was like other people.

I always felt it,

there was something different
about me or I wasn't right.

John and I were quite close

right up until the attack.

I was actually getting more involved

with the skinheads locally.

And then after that happened,

those same skinheads that I
just started hanging out with,

branded me a Jew-lover.

So as soon as I graduated high school,

I was gone from Ocala.

because I was really afraid
of what they might do to me,

thinking I might be
the next guy, you know,

to get a boot party

or maybe stabbed in a
parking lot somewhere,

just for being associated with John.

- [Kevin] What are you hoping for?

(Kevin laughing)

- What's up?

How are you?
- I'm great.

Good to see you.
- Same.

- All right, let me see your scar.

Where's the scar?

It's huge.

My name's Kevin Connell
and I'm a sommelier.

My brother was hated, was
a known racist to blacks,

but they were scared of him

'cause he was a pretty big violent guy.

Because they couldn't

or wouldn't do anything to my brother,

I was a prime target.

I was 14 and my brother
had graduated high school.

And I was attacked by no more than six,

no less than four,

black youths.

They crushed my orbit socket,
my nose, broke my jaw.

I had a cerebral hematoma,

with the right frontal lobe.

They had to drill a hole,
put a catheter in my skull.

So things were pretty rough.

I was in the hospital for several months.

After that, I was enrolled
in a special school

for problem children even
though, I had done nothing wrong.

But while I was in the hospital,

the local skinheads had
found out what happened.

And they were the only
people to come visit me.

But there were the people that showed me

that I didn't have to be scared anymore.

I got involved in the movement,

Joseph Goebbels.

I read his biography.

You know, it also has
his journal that he kept.

And he talks about when
he was a child, you know,

being ostracized and being lonely.

And his story really hit home with me.

And then I read Mein Kampf and you know,

I was never a big guy,

but I was always a smart guy.

So I learned, if I was
smarter than everybody else,

they would protect me.

You know, I grew up in a household

where we moved almost every year.

My father worked for Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms.

So I lived all over the country.

By the time I was 13,
we'd lived in 11 cities.

So I never really had any
close friends, my whole life.

So it was nice to have people

that I didn't care about
that cared about me.

And then my parents moved to Ocala

because of my involvement
with the skinheads.

Second day at school, I met you

and it just kind of kept
snowballing from there. (laughing)

And then John's attack happened
pretty quickly after that,

I'd say, less than nine months after that.

It was the day or the day before.

And I didn't know that he was
going to meet with the guys

and he thought he was getting a promotion

and was moving up even further he ladder.

He was quite excited.

And when I learned about it,

I didn't believe it at first,

'cause I'm like, John's not Jewish.

I've been to his house.

I met his parents.

They're not Jewish.

There have a cross or
something somewhere there,

I remember thinking.

I'm like, they can't be Jewish.

They're wrong.

And then as it unfolded

and John pretty much
disappeared for a while.

As it unfolded and it made
the newspapers and whatnot,

there was no denying it

that John was definitely Jewish.

And John had been pulling the wool

over a lot of people's eyes

and doing a fantastic job

and feeding 'em lines of shit.

And they were just eating it up.

'Cause he was good at being
thoughtful and maniacal,

all at the same time.

And I still don't even understand

how everyone else found out

'cause he was so good about
not letting people know,

'cause he always had an answer
for everything. (laughing)

So I find it hard to believe

that somebody saw through the facade

or somebody figured it out on their own.

To this day, I'd like to
ask him exactly, you know.

I know that it was a mutual
skinhead that we knew,

wife and mother of his child at the time,

that threw him under the bus per se.

But I don't know how she found out.

Keep taking a left,
you'll find the bathroom.

- [John] Keep taking left.

I found it!
(Kevin laughing)

Let's hit the streets.

See how much trouble we can
not get into, hopefully.


(suspenseful music)

How did you get in there?

(faint talking)

So it's closed?

- I'd been trying to find John on Facebook

for quite some time.

I literally had to find
everybody else from Ocala

and make friends with them
until I found somebody

who was friends with John.

(upbeat music)
(person whistling)

Risotto arborio with carrots,

zucchini, shallots and parmesean.

- [John] Yeah, let's do it.

- Yeah, I'm down.

Nice and eclectic.

Looks like they have decent beers.

The easiest way to recruit
people into the skinhead movement

and the white supremacy movement

is people that are just outside,

they're right on the fringe,

that are trying to put
their foot into a clique

or they're trying to belong.

They're trying to make friends.

They're slightly geeky,
slightly, not everybody,

not like everyone else.

Because when you show
people a little bit of power

and you show people loyalty,

you'd be surprised what
they'll do for you.

- And what they do is they go through

and they take all of your
failures in your life

and say, no, no, no, no,

it wasn't a failure.

It's a conspiracy.

And they build this
conspiracy slowly but surely

and strong enough that
you really buy into it.

And then you're like, I am at war.

And these people that are
trying to do this to me,

my culture, my family, my race,

need to be destroyed.

And you really feel like
you're doing something

for the betterment of society, your race,

because all they want to
do is destroy your race

and bring your race down.

And once you've got somebody
like that, you've got,

you've got a Holy warrior,
you've got a terrorist.

- So it all starts at the top.

And I was at the very bottom,

but by recruiting,

you're moving up

and then all those
people are at the bottom.

As they recruit, they move up.

So it's a mentality and ideology

and a movement perpetuates itself,

preying upon the weak, the downtrodden,

nobody's ever getting into the movement

than somebody that's been bullied

because you have all these people

that you think are like-minded
that will defend you.

And that's one thing that I will say,

that skinheads are quick to violence

and quick to defend their own.

Not too far from here in
Prague, there was a, you know,

basically an interment camp

where the Czech Republic
funneled, you know,

several hundred thousand
of their Jews through,

sent them off to further
Eastern Europe to be.

- Eradicated?
- Exactly.

- Yeah.
- Yeah.

- I wanted to go and pay my respects

to all those who lost their lives

at the hands of the Third Reich.

And I wouldn't want to do it with anybody

other than John, honestly.

You know, horrible atrocities

that affected millions
and millions of people.

And this is the ideology

that I live by for four years of my life.

- His journey, in a sense,
is harder than mine.

Being Jewish, I had something to turn to.

He didn't.

He left something that was
like a family-type relationship

and moved back into the real world.

- Living in Israel,

he finally feels at home and he feels

like he's with his people

and leading with this,

I know that, that's something
I'd like to feel in life.

You know, I'd like to feel
that I do belong to something

and I have something to look forward to

and have something to believe in.

I'm not sure what it's going to be.

I used to consider myself to
be a real American Patriot,

but I don't like the direction

that my country is going, a whole lot.

(pensive music)

- And I will wear my Yarmulke,

my Kippah, as we call it in Hebrew.

- Kippah?
- Kippah.

Yarmulke is Yiddish, Kippah is Hebrew.

(pensive music)

- Well earlier, as we pulled in,

I kind of became overwhelmed with emotion.

I started shaking and then,
as I went into the laboratory,

a few moments ago, I did get sick.

- Wow.
(pensive music)

- [Kevin] Going into
the camp, it makes it,

it's like putting a face with a name.

It's no longer, you know,

old reels that you see on TV
programs and documentaries,

you know, written by some
guy who wasn't there.

It's not a page from a
history book, it's real.

(pensive music)

Tikkun Olam is doing what
you can to fix the world,

to the best of your ability.

And that just starts with you

and the way that you live
your life and who you are,

which what you're doing now is,

Tikkun Olam, you're going back

and fixing some of the wrongs.

- Trying to.

- [John] You can at one
point, stop it and say,

that's enough.

Things need to be different.
- And they do.

(reflective music)

- More than 1500 Jews were in
prison in this small fortress.

Their destiny was worst of
all, the groups of prisoners.

About 500 from them were
tortured to death here.

Most others perished,

after the deportations to
the concentration camps.

- 1500 people of the
Jewish faith died there?

I find that hard to believe.

The Nazis were really
avid and real go-getters.

This was a transit camp as well,

where people were coming,

merely coming in to wait for the train

to go off to the East-
- Take 'em somewhere else.

- To (faint talking)
Auschwitz and Ireland.

This was just merely a
stop on their voyage.

- [John] What you wrote in the book,

the guest book,

what did you write?
- I'm sorry.

- I wanted to come to room 18

because 18 in Judaism means life.

It's playing with the,

the way that we count the numbers-

- The letters of the alphabet?
- Exactly.

- So I wanted to see where room 18 was.

It says, the mortuary where the bodies

of prisoners tortured
to death, were stored.

Starting at the end of 42,

dead bodies were cremated
in Terrace's Crematorium

of the Jewish ghetto.

(pensive music)

But for skinheads, this is also has a-

- Yeah, they've kind of stolen
it and made it their own.

- Yeah.
- First letter is A.

- For Adolph?
- And the second letter.

- H.
- For Hitler.

- Is the H letter, H is the
eight letter of the alphabet.

- With the skinheads,
we do it with the blood,

have a red circle around it.

- [John] Adolph Hitler.

- I mean, I'm still, not gonna lie.

I'm still afraid of a large
group of black people.

And I know that's still
a little bit crazy,

but I'm still very hypervigilant, as well.

There's just certain things that

I don't feel that I can turn my back on

because I mean,

if it's happened more
than a couple of times,

you should learn from your mistakes.

- I'll admit that I do have
certain animosity within me,

but when I would be asked,

if I've forgiven the skinhead guys

that tried to take my life,

I would say, it's the best
thing that happened to me

because it gave me life.

It taught me to value life
and the sanctity of life.

- We walked through a
500 meter long tunnel.

There were several spots
as we walked through

where the temperature seemed to drop

and get very, very cold.

It was almost like there
was electricity in the air.

All the hair on my body would stand up

and just to take it in and to know

that almost everyone that
walked through that tunnel,

didn't walk back.

It was a lot to take in.

(suspenseful music)

- You all right, Kevin?
- Yeah.

I don't even know what's
happening inside of me.

- [John] If you were going to die

and you knew it,

there's something known as
the Mortars Prayer, okay.

Here is what the Lord,
your God, the Lord is one.

And that is something that

I'm sure this hallway's
heard more than once.

(ominous music)
(man vocalizing)

- [Kevin] It would be torture,
just to be led down this,

not knowing what was going to happen.

- [John] Your brain tries to rationalize

how what's happening, isn't happening.

- [Kevin] Right.

- [John] That somehow I'm going to live,

that somehow I'm going to survive.

And from fights you've been in

and attacks you've gone through,

I'm sure your brain is
saying the exact same thing.

(faint talking)

- [Kevin] That way you
close off the outside world

and you turn in.

You know it.
- This, isn't happening to me.

- [Kevin] This isn't real.

- [John] I'm going to live through this.

- [Kevin] I'm gonna wake up
and I'm going to be fine.

- [John] That your brain is so arrogant,

the one thing that it can't say is

I'm not going to survive this.
- Yeah.

- [John] And the moment,
a peace that hit me

when I was attacked by
the skins, was just,

when I came to the ultimate understanding

and conclusion that I wasn't
gonna make it out of it.

And then it was just like
my brain just relaxed.

Really, you know how it is.
- Yeah, I mean-

- [John] A situation like
that, you just want to go home.

- [Kevin] Right, you just
want your bed and your mom.

- [John] Yeah and when you go,

you want to go to where you feel safe.

And at that moment, I did not feel safe.

And I knew enough cops that were involved

in the white power movement that-

- [Kevin] They're not
the best people to go to

in that kind of situation.
- No.

- [Kevin] I mean that whole
part of central Florida,

as we know,

most of the sheriff's department

were in the Ku Klux Klan

and probably still are.
- I wouldn't doubt it.

- At one time,

after I was out of the skinheads,

for quite a while,

I was arrested and thrown in
jail for what Kevin does best,

being a smart ass and drunk

and not listening to authority.

I've always had a problem with authority.

And I wound up in jail for,

not a long time, but enough time.

And I still had not covered
up all of my tattoos.

And one of the tattoos
I had was quite vulgar

and quite hateful.

And there are symbols that anybody

in the white supremacist world knows

and instantly sees and
instantly knows what it means.

And it was not anything I
still believed in, of course,

but it was still tattooed on me

and I couldn't make it go away.

And I wound up in a cell block

with someone from the Aryan brotherhood

who had just violated
parole and was about to be

before the judge to be re-sentenced,

to go back to prison, most likely.

And I've never been more afraid

for myself because I knew

that I was going to tell the truth.

And that I was going to say my peace

and let him know that, that's
not who I am any longer.

And I don't agree with you.

It was honestly, probably,

the scariest 48 hours

until I was moved and became a trustee

and was moved to a different cell block

since I was a skinhead.

I'd never been, I hadn't
been that scared in

15 years.

It brought it home to know that,

I didn't cover up the tattoos
'cause I wanted to remember,

you know, how stupid I was

and I wore them

so that I didn't forget,

not about anybody else,
but so I didn't forget.

But after that experience,
I felt it was time

to not hurt anybody else

with the images that I had on my body.

And it wasn't even about me.

It was about other people

and about sending a message
that I didn't believe in.

So it can be very hard to
walk away from your past.

And that really hit home.

And that was when I truly

started thinking about the future,

which was something I had
really never thought about.

I kept living in the past

and that was like one of
the clarifying moments,

knowing that moving forward,
I still have to have a life.

Oh my God.

(suspenseful music)

When we went all the
way through the tunnel

and around to the corner

and headed down the little
hill and I saw three crosses

and there was a tour group

and the woman was speaking in English.

They had mentioned that this
is where the soldiers lied

when this was still just
a military installation

and used this embankment
for target practice.

But after the Third
Reich had taken over it

and occupied and was using the camp

as a transit camp

and a death camp,

that's where these people
have walked and been executed

or walked and be hung.

(somber music)

It was emptying.

I don't know how else to describe it.

It took what little bit of

okay feeling I had inside
of me and stripped it out

and let me know that it's real.

None of those people came back.

And this is where they met their end.

It was very real, very real.

Those who weren't tortured,
of course, were executed here?

- [John] Hmm hmm.

(ominous music)

I don't know if you'd like
to come over here, as well.

(faint talking)

- I mean, every person
that wound up there,

wasn't there for anything they did

besides for being themselves,

being people of the Earth,

living their lives.

It's a heavy burden to carry, you know,

knowing that I preached the same nonsense

to a lot of people

and convinced a lot of
people that it was right.

I should feel ashamed.

I'm gonna try to do
right from this point on.

- [John] Oh, this is a huge, huge step.

- There are a few places
that John and I had stopped.

And John brought some stones
that I'd asked him to bring me

from Jerusalem

because I thought Jerusalem,
being the Holy city,

and the Holiest place to the Jewish faith,

and none of these people made it there.

You know, it was right around the corner.

(somber music)

- [John] May the memories
be for a blessing.

May they always be remembered.

- And I walked through
all of the gravestones

and I found only one gravestone
that didn't have a rock on.

And I made sure I put a rock there.

So everybody knows that
they're not alone now.

And the thing that really hit me is

about a third of them were just numbers.

They didn't have names.

So there was just bodies in the ground.

And it makes you think about
their entire communities

and entire families and entire villages

that were completely wiped out.

And there was nobody to remember.

And nobody to tell
anybody that it happened.

(somber music)

- [John] Yeah, a little
light serve as a reminder

of all the lights that were snuffed out,

at this horrible place,

near the horrible camps around Europe.

Another stone from Jerusalem?

- [Kevin] I want a rock, for home.

It's been quite the day, John.
- It has.

- Once you realize that hatred
is just fear of the unknown

and fear of yourself,

it doesn't take long

to want to see the truth

and want to see humanity
for what it's worth.

Along this voyage, I've
also come to the conclusion

that there are more bad people

than there are good people in the world.

And I was one of them.

I can't undo what I've done.

I can't undo what I've said.

But I can try to stop it.

And I can do my best

to try to educate people to the truths,

that ignorance and fear breed hatred.

And we don't have to be afraid.

- I noticed that Kevin kept some of his,

the stones that he had.

And I asked him, as we discussed it,

what to do with those stones.

He said that if you ever visit
a place like this, again,

he wanted to have some.

- I was thinking to go to Auschwitz.

- Why exactly Auschwitz, of all places?

- [Kevin] Over a million people
died there, that I know of.

- One million, one hundred thousand.

- Yeah, that they know of.
- They know of.

Would you be willing to be awake

at quarter to five in
the morning tomorrow?

- Four?

- Four.

(suspenseful music)

You said, of all the
places you could visit,

you'd like to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

- [Kevin] My body doesn't want me to go.

I'm serious.

- I had to take a moment in
the parking lot just to sit

and try and catch my breath,

from breaking down, realizing where I was.

Going into brain surgery
was easier than this.

(suspenseful music)

As soon as we crossed
through the entryway,

to Auschwitz,

Kevin fell on my shoulder.

(somber music)


(somber music)

(Kevin sobbing)

He kept repeating, I'm sorry.

I'm so, so sorry.

(somber music)
(Kevin sobbing)

Just the thought that I had raised my arm

and that a cursed symbol,

of the Sieg Heil.

(somber music)

As we were walking through Auschwitz,

and we came to the destroyed gas chambers

and it was quite literally
the end of the line.

That was where the
railroad tracks stopped.

But coming to the end of that line was

part of a spiritual journey

that I've been on for over 20 years.

And that Kevin's been on for 20 years.

It's part of our national Anthem,

singing about the Jerusalem
or dream of 2000 years.

(somber music)

(woman singing reflective
music in foreign language)

If you go down here and walk down,

there's one building standing.

It's the last building remaining

from those, from Terezin,

which is where we were yesterday.

Everything you see up and down this road

on both sides are people
that sent here, from there.

And so when you said yesterday

that you felt like the numbers were off.

- They came here?
- I would say you were right.

(somber music)

(woman singing reflective
music in foreign language)

What bothers me, is this
place just goes on for,

forever and ever.

You're entering a courtyard

where the Auschwitz murdered
thousands of people.

Please maintain silence here.

Remember their suffering and
show respect for their memory.

(woman singing reflective
music in foreign language)

I often wonder if,

if God chose wisely with me.

Why did I, a punk little 17-year-old kid

deserve an extra chance?

(reflective music)

I want to go to the gas chambers.

(somber reflective music)

- [Kevin] Very inspiring,
for real, thanks man.

- [John] What are you thank you me for?

You made this happen.

(reflective music)
(Kevin crying)

- It was probably one of the
most life changing events

of my life, I'm not going to lie.

It's going to take a long
time to take all this in.

I feel a little cleaner inside.

Then again, I have all this
emotion, all this hate,

and I don't want it to be hate

'cause I don't have anybody to hate.

I was angry.

I had no place to project it.

I've never in my life
had to process something

and I've always, it's always,

hey, okay, let's move on, next thing.

This is something that's
bigger than me, beyond me.

It's going to take me a
long time to understand.

I think more people should come.

- Thank you.

Without you, this wouldn't have happened.

(reflective music)

- [Ruth] When I think about
going through the trial

and how friends, so-called friends,

because you all were tight,

you believed the same thing.

You had each other's backs.
- Like brothers.

- All of you were brainwashed,

but they were brainwashed

where they were ready to kill a brother

because he was a Jew.

I don't whether education
would make a difference,

but most of them would
drop out from school.

They weren't interested in education.

And the end result was you dying,

and winding up at your
own end of the line.

And it was an end of the line for you.

But it was the end of the line for us too,

your mom and dad

and your brothers and
what we went through.

Our lives were turned upside down.

I don't want to go
through that ever again.

I can't think of anything worse

than a family to have to go
through something like that.

- Have I ever apologized to you?

- No (sobbing), no.

(reflective music)

- I'm sorry.
(Ruth sobbing)

(reflective music)

- John's story is a story of hope,

a story of victory,

the whole story of his life.

This is just one little
segment of his life.

The whole story of John's life is amazing.

And I think people need to know

what a great man and how
many great things he's done

from where he came and to where he is.

And whatever I can do to help him,

I would do.

- The families I've met that
are either going through,

that have a child like I was,

not only a Jewish family,
but say like, like Kevin.

We have a child that's involved
in a racist organization.

What do I do?

The answer is always love them.

Make them feel like they
have a place to come back to.

Many times over the years,
people have asked me,

why do you think you survived?

And I definitely know that I survived

because God decided it
wasn't my time to go.

And I've tried ever since then

to try and improve
myself as a human being.

And when I came back to society

and be ready and available,

just to talk to people about the ability

and the power of change.

It is possible to change.

It as possible to become somebody else.

And I know some of the
people that were involved

in my attack have changed for the better.

I know some have more
or less stayed the same.

(heavy sighing)

You can't really expect society to change.

It begins with you.

("City of Skin and Bones" by Convey)

♪ It started with the stones ♪

♪ Setting in the ground ♪

♪ Laying all the pathways
through our town ♪

♪ Started with the rainfall ♪

♪ Battering your face and all ♪

♪ Started when the gales came whistling, ♪

♪ Whistling down ♪

♪ My love ♪

♪ Seems the dust hasn't settled ♪

♪ On the city we left alone ♪

♪ And the vultures are circling above ♪

♪ The city of skin and bones ♪

("City of Skin and Bones" by Convey)

♪ It started with our lungs ♪

♪ Choking on exhaust ♪

♪ Searching for a sign until we're lost ♪

♪ Started with the pavements ♪

♪ Loveless, embrace it all ♪

♪ Started when the gales ♪

♪ Came to carry us so far away ♪

♪ And my love ♪

♪ Seems that dust hasn't settled ♪

♪ On the city we left alone ♪

♪ And the vultures are circling ♪

♪ And the vultures are circling above ♪

♪ The city of skin and bones ♪

("City of Skin and Bones" by Convey)

♪ And it makes you now ♪

♪ Answer the call from again ♪

♪ And leaves you alone, alone, alone ♪

("City of Skin and Bones" by Convey)