Schmitz: Why is this man laughing?
Schmitz: Why is this man laughing?

John Schmitz, the Institute for Historical Review, and Old World Village

Spencer's excellent cover story this on skinhead-happy Old World Village allows me to post on a bit of Orange County history I've been keeping for a while: how this Surf City Alpine fantasy came to host a meeting of the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review back in 1989.

Years ago, Cyndie Bischof, daughter of Old World founder Josef, wrote this hilarious letter criticizing a piece written by then-calendar editor Anna Barr. Regarding the IHR conference, Cyndie wrote:

In regard to the birthday celebration of Hitler and the Historical Society conference under the church, Josef Bischof did not participate in any such events. Yes, these events took place at our establishment by promoters we do not even know personally. You see, we have four banquet facilities, which we rent out weekly to business conferences, weddings, birthdays, reunions, etc. While we do not ask specifics because we are not in any way racial, someone or a group of people decided to throw a party and conference, and because it took place at Josef Bischof's establishment, of course the public wants to blame it on Josef because he is German and all. This is discrimination, for he did not even participate in these events.

Cyndie Bischof's version isn't the one remembered by IHR head Mark Weber. In a 2001 remembrance of late, crazy, former O.C. politician John Schmitz, Weber was particularly thankful for Schmitz arranging the 1989 IHR conference to be held at Old World Village after a hotel booted out Weber and his Holocaust-denying pals. "It seemed that the Conference might be cancelled just as it was to begin," wrote Weber. "In this emergency, Schmitz contacted Joe Bischof, a friend who owned the Old World shopping center in nearby Huntington Beach. Bischof graciously offered his facilities, and the Ninth IHR Conference -- one of the most spirited ever -- was held in a packed basement meeting room, in spite of continued harassment by [Jewish Defense League] thugs."

Too bad Schmitz isn't around anymore to tell his version of the truth, as only his wonderfully demented mind could do...


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