By Amy Fredette
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Storyteller Yaron Svoray captivated an audience of 250 in the Arizona Ballroom Tuesday evening with his tale of infiltrating the 1992 neo-Nazi movement in Germany and narrowly escaping a shower of machine gun bullets after someone heard him speaking Yiddish.
Svoray, who was paid $5,500 for his appearance by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said he was undercover the entire nine months of his infiltration. Posing as an Australian journalist for a fictitious Los Angeles-based magazine, "The Right Way," the Israeli investigative reporter's ambition was to "figure out what was behind the movement."
Svoray said he met former Third Reich officers and hung out with young men in neo-Nazi camps who passed time playing games like "Punch," where participants wrapped leather belts around their fists and took turns striking one another.
"When I started meeting Nazis, I got really scared," Svoray said. "They were bankers, lawyers, teachers and military people."
Svoray said he discovered "neo-Nazi skinheads were not Germany's problem" but a "manifestation of a much deeper problem."
"Somebody's got to be moving these puppets," Svoray said. "I wanted to figure out who."
Although Svoray said that he gave Germany tapes chronicling his investigation, they have not been used to incarcerate anyone.
"Not one neo-Nazi has gone to jail," Svoray said. "They're (Germans) still transcribing tapes that are in German."
Svoray said that he receives "briefings" from the FBI before giving lectures because they say his life in danger, but that he is not phased by the possibility of being on a "hit list" because he does not believe in letting terrorism win.
"If someone was on the floor raping your daughter, you wouldn't think about it," Svoray said. "You'd jump on (the person)."
Svoray is the author of In Hitler's Shadow, and his work is the subject of an HBO movie, "The Infiltrator."
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