Neo-Nazi Adam Thomas, who named his son 'Adolf', had tried to convert to Judaism

Member of far right National Action attended the Machon Meir yeshiva in Jerusalem


A man who named his baby after Hitler and dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes previously attempted to convert to Judaism, the JC can reveal.

Adam Thomas, of Waltham Gardens in Banbury, Oxfordshire, was convicted of being a member of National Action, an illegal neo-Nazi group, on Monday.

The 22-year-old stood trial with his partner, Claudia Patatas, and Daniel Bogunovic, 27, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester, who were convicted on the same charge alongside him at Birmingham Crown Court.

Thomas was also convicted of having a copy of a document likely to be of use to a terrorist, namely the Anarchist's Cookbook.

Jurors heard that the couple gave their son the middle name “Adolf” and owned a large collection of Nazi and far-right memorabilia. .

But the JC has learned that, over two separate periods in 2015, he attended the Machon Meir yeshiva in Jerusalem, but was eventually turned away from its giur (conversion) programme.

A Machon Meir spokesman said: “We will confirm that he attempted to study in the Conversion Department of Machon Meir.

“But we sensed after a while that he was a real meshugeneh. This was not evident immediately. He was quite knowledgeable in Torah, mild mannered and even somewhat pleasant.

“He has a fantastic memory and was passionate about Torah knowledge. He has a very dark side as well, and a pull towards extremism. Once this side came out we knew he was not worthy for giur studies.”

The yeshiva said he registered under the name “Avi Thomas”, while classmates said he went by “Avi Ben Avraham”.

Thomas, now 22, attended the yeshiva under the name on a trial basis for “less than two months” from April 2015, and returned for a period between November and December of the same year, the institution confirmed.

David Simpkins, a Machon Meir alumnus and a former US military officer, was assigned as Thomas’s roommate and informal mentor. He said that Thomas was turned away for “anger issues and a tendency to the extreme”.

Mr Simpkins said that Thomas wished to “start his life over in Israel and never return to the UK”, and aimed to either serve in the Israeli military or continue his education.

He told the JC: “He was a very serious, very smart kid. I knew he was dealing with things. He wore a face that reflected anger, a lot of the time. And fear – lots of fear this kid had.”

Yerachmiel Ben Tzvi, another alumnus of Machon Meir, recalled arguing with Thomas over the correct way in which to arrange the strings of the tzitzit.

Several former classmates also referred to Thomas’s “difficult childhood”.

Another former Machon Meir student, who asked not to be named, added: “[Thomas] was a very bright kid and he knew his stuff.

“He was very sharp but very withdrawn at the same time. Obviously there was some trauma that was going on that not a lot of us knew about.

“He spoke to me once or twice about his upbringing and how rough it was, and why he was in Israel and what he was trying to do – basically to get himself on the right path.

“But unfortunately he didn’t have an easy time fitting into the system, and when someone doesn’t fit into a system it can drive them to go to the opposite extreme.”

After being turned away from the yeshiva, it is believed that Thomas spent time in Tel Aviv before returning to the UK in 2016 – although this has not been confirmed.

Birmingham Crown Court also heard that Patatas sent a WhatsApp message to convicted National Action member and “vehement racist” Darren Fletcher, declaring that "All Jews must be put to death".

A friend of hers told the JC that she was first introduced to the far-right subculture after moving from Portugal to Britain.

The friend said: “We would go to the same clubs back in Lisbon and she was a nice girl. She was nice enough.”

Thomas and Patatas will be sentenced at a two-day hearing starting on December 14.

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