Frail eccentric who wields a poisonous pen: Geryke Young sends racist pamphlets couched in scientific jargon to Jewish Nobel prize winners, academics and musicians. Heather Mills reports
Wednesday 20 January 1993
The only things that clutter her otherwise immaculate hall are boxes of pamphlets awaiting distribution. For Geryke Young is behind one of the rashes of anti-Semitic and racist material dropping through the letterboxes of eminent Jews - mainly academics - in recent months.
She and Ad Hoc Publications, the name under which the material - described as 'pseudo-academic muck' by the Labour MP Greville Janner - is sent, operate out of this flat on the edge of west London's wealthy Holland Park.
Her pamphlets have such titles as East versus West or The Imperative of Racial and Cultural Discrimination. While they are not of the crude, obvious form of hate mail, according to Geoffrey Bindman, a leading civil rights lawyer and author, their thesis is plainly anti-Semitic and racist.
Her belief is that white Western supremacy is under threat from racial integration. At the end of one rant, she writes: 'Thus the Jew employs the machinery of the alien host culture not only to ensure his survival but to attain power over the host . . .'
Of blacks, her racism is even less disguised. 'Since his generally low-grade cultural disposition has a coarsening effect, the Negro's presence in the West is destructive, particularly where Whites and Blacks make common cause as in jazz, rock and other expressions of the cult of the low.'
By her own account she has sent out hundreds of these pamphlets - to Nobel prize winners, professors, doctors, musicians.
Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Professor Ivor Crewe, the government analyst, and Tony Lerman, the director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs, are among her recipients. 'I want to share my knowledge,' she says. To most, her knowledge causes offence.
Wladamir von Schlippe, senior lecturer in physics at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, believed he was targeted because of his German name. 'I felt absolutely sick. It was horrible to think that she may have thought I could share anti-Semitic views. Given the history of the Jewish people and magnitude of events like the Holocaust which is really within our lifetime and our experience and one that is still fresh in our memories, her activities are really beyond words.
'It is not only a nuisance but one that has to be stopped because silence can be interpreted as consent,' he said.
But Mrs Young says she has no plans to stop 'sharing' what has been her life's work for the past 30 years. She is writing more.
Mrs Young is bird-like, with perhaps the appearance of a sweet old lady - until she opens her mouth. If her pamphlets and writing, couched in their pseudo-scientific jargon, are thinly-disguised racism, her spoken words are unveiled. They are blatant and crude. 'I bet you won't put that in your paper,' she says now and again.
While most of those who received her post had never heard of her or Ad Hoc Publications, she is in fact no stranger to controversy. Born in the Dutch East Indies, she was married to George Kennedy Young, the former deputy head of MI6, who emerged on the right-wing of the Tory party and expounded views similar to those of his wife.
But while once described as being of the 'fruitcake right' he was, for a time, very influential. As a leading light of the Monday Club he was forced to leave when it was revealed he was a conduit to bring members of the National Front into the Tory Party proper.
According to Gerry Gable, who as editor of Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine, was largely responsible for exposing Mr Young, he was undeterred. With his friends in intelligence and the military, he became obsessed with the idea of private armies and his name has cropped up more than once in relation to allegations of a security service plot to destabilise the Wilson government. He stood unsuccessfully as Conservative candidate for Brent East and then formed Tory Action with the objective of getting Margaret Thatcher elected as party leader. But he became embittered when senior Tories, like Airey Neave, sought to distance themselves from him and Tory Action, once Mrs Thatcher was elected to office.
Mr Gable said that 'importantly he was also able to use his position as the European director of Kleinwort Benson, the merchant bankers, to raise large sums of money for racist and extremist causes'.
He died two years ago. But it was encouragement from Mr Young which prompted his wife to start sending out her material in the early 1970s, under Ad Hoc Publications, but then using the address of the Society for Individual Freedom, in which her husband and others on the far right, like Ross McWhirter, were involved.
It is likely she has started up again - 20 years on - because, like others responsible for the huge growth in offensive material circulating, she has been encouraged by publicity given to right- wing revisionist historians, like David Irving, and the growth of the extreme right across Europe. Mrs Young denies that she is racist or anti-Semitic - 'I am not prejudiced. I speak from knowledge' - or that she is particularly targeting Jews. But with one exception, all the academics which the Independent has contacted who have received her correspondence at universities including Cambridge, Oxford, Essex and London, were Jewish. Mrs Young agreed that she obtained some names and addresses from the Jewish Year Book and is a regular reader of the Jewish Chronicle. So why send it to any Jewish people? 'Because I am curious to know how they will react,' she said. That was why, for example, she sent it to Sir Yehudi Menuhin.
Those receiving her work have few doubts about her motives. One leading professor of law, who did not wish to be identified, said: 'One feels soiled by receiving it. By sending it to Jewish people she can't possibly expect to persuade them of her view. It can only be to cause offence or discomfort.' By most accounts Mrs Young leads a semi-reclusive life. She denies any links to neo-Nazi groups and dismisses as 'cheap' any suggestions that her arguments are the same as theirs.
Hers come from an academic study of cultures and religions, she says. That is what puts her above the likes of Lady Birdwood, a one-time acquaintance, convicted last year of distributing race- hate literature.
'I know Lady Birdwood has no brain so she distributed these silly pamphlets. But she is deeply sad. She does things out of a deep unhappiness. She sees things being destroyed and I do not think there is anything wrong with her. Her instincts are right; her methods are wrong.
'I too am very unhappy about it . . . My message is the same: I want Europe to be European and want Britain to be British.'
Mrs Young funds her own operations. She has found a typesetter in Croydon and a printing firm in South Wales. She refuses to say how much of her evident wealth she spends on her publications, but maintains she spends 'much more' on charities.
She will not name any but says they are to benefit animals and health causes: 'I have arthritis you know,' she says. Mrs Young is also fairly deaf and it is tempting to make allowances for a perhaps cranky old woman of 79.
'But age does not save you from folly,' said Professor Max Perutz, himself 78, a Nobel prizewinner, leading microbiologist and unwilling recipient of her attention. He left Austria two years before the Germans arrived. After she sent him her work, he received cruder and more threatening material from another source.
'It was the first time I had ever received anything like this and I found it deeply disturbing. I was very distressed that this was posted in England, where I had not encountered this kind of anti- Semitism since the days of Mosley,' he said.
'I think there is a need for tougher legislation against this kind of offensive material - especially in the light of what is now going on in Europe, with the growth of Nazi groups in France, Germany and Austria.'
But Mrs Young said she would welcome a prosecution. 'Let them try. I would be only too pleased. They are so false. I can account for every word.' Her main concern was that her arguments had been understood. She took out a Harrods carrier bag and put in three large volumes of her work for the Independent to study. 'Liberals are out for their own destruction,' she said.
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