Neo-Nazi ‘Building White Ethnostate’ in Maine Now Working With Local Extremist Group

The ex-Marine, who’s building property to set up a neo-Nazi community, was spotted with a New England extremist group rallying against Somalian Americans.
Pohlhaus is the bald man pictured with the skull mask and Swastika pendant.
Pohlhaus is the bald man pictured with the skull mask and swastika pendant. Image via the Counter Extremism Project

A neo-Nazi and ex-Marine coordinating an online movement to turn Maine into an all-white ethnostate, is building a property there—while also working with a violent extremist group in the region, VICE News has learned. 

Christopher Pohlhaus, 35, who goes by his online alias “The Hammer” and is a significant player in the broad universe of neo-Nazi Telegram, once commanded thousands of followers and a chat group that he called “The Camps.” Besides the Maine migration plan, he coordinated a nationwide racist counterprotest on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, explained to followers how to hypothetically dismantle the food-supply chain through sniper attacks on truckers, and was linked to the Jan. 6 attacker who allegedly stole a Nancy Pelosi staffer’s laptop

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In the past, some local Maine media downplayed the potential for Pohlhaus and his people moving to the state, despite the fact that it was already an attractive place for neo-Nazis as one of the whitest places in America and members of Pohlhaus’ online ecosystem already claimed to be there. But the fact an infamous neo-Nazi activist and organizer has physically moved to Maine—where he is said to be pursuing an all-white and racist community—is evidence of a strategy among the far-right to build exclusive spaces where they can promote their extremist ideologies and it can sometimes mean amassing weapons and ammunition for a future “race war.” For example, a similar movement of white nationalists is taking place in Idaho, where a MAGA faction in the Republican Party there is aligning itself with open far-right extremists who are migrating to the state en masse. 

VICE News met with the four-year Marine Corps veteran in person, near Norway, Maine, after Pohlhaus had recently moved from Arizona to meet up with a group of locals that he says he was already working with. Pohlhaus later shared a photo of a rudimentary building he had constructed in a forested location, and claimed there would be many more to come. In tandem with those efforts, he started an online funding drive asking for money to support “a retreat/community area we can train on and help families move to” in an unnamed area in Maine that has only raised a few hundred dollars.

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“I have a tight-knit community of guys that, you know, we want to live near each other,” he said. “To make Maine a [Nazi] state would take very, very little effort and change to their mentality and the demographics of the state.”

In recent weeks, Pohlhaus was caught pictured at an assembly of the group NSC-131—a neo-Nazi underground network with chapters in New England that was founded by a former member of a designated terrorist group—in Lewiston. There, reportedly two dozen masked men, clad in black, marched with a racist banner targeting the city’s Somali community. Pohlhaus, who has a series of identifiable tattoos and a wrought-iron swastika necklace, is seen in images from the march.

Pohlhaus published video to Telegram of himself at the flash mob in Lewiston and another after, which were both obtained by VICE News through the Counter Extremism Project—a not-for-profit terrorism watchdog based in New York City. In the first video, he is clearly seen walking with other NSC-131 members, while in the second he makes a veiled threat to the Somali community of the city, demanding that they leave “my state” and adding, “You don’t want to wait until Mainers give us the green light.”

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“Nah, I just support those guys and offer a helping hand to the community wherever and whenever,” said Pohlhaus via text, confirming his presence with the neo-Nazi group NSC-131 at the march, but clarified that he wasn’t a member of the group. The Anti-Defamation League has labeled NSC an extremist organization.

Though Pohlhaus has often castigated other far-right activists for marching publicly and attending Jan. 6, members of NSC-131 previously bragged about attending the now infamous attack on Congress, and posted pictures of a stolen Capitol Hill Police riot helmet to their Telegram channel. Group founder Chris Hood, 23, is a former member of the Base, a neo-Nazi terrorist organization under a yearslong FBI probe, posted on Telegram the night before the Jan. 6 rally under his known alias that “NSC New England is in Washington to ensure white safety.” 

According to Pohlhaus, the FBI contacted him asking if he had attended the infamous riot on Capitol Hill, as some people linked to him had. 

“One time they asked me if I was at that fucking thing,” he said. “But I think everyone got visited by them. ‘Hey, were you at the January 6th thing’?

“I think everyone should be nervous about [the FBI].” 

Recent figures put the number of people charged for the Jan. 6 insurrection at 928 thus far, including at least 160 people who, like Pohlhaus, had military backgrounds.