A New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that a couple would not regain custody of their four children, three of whom are named in honor of prominent Nazi historical figures.
Heath and Deborah Campbell, self-proclaimed Nazis from Holland Township, N.J., first made headlines in January 2009, when a store refused to decorate a birthday cake for their oldest child, Adolf Hitler Campbell, now 6. Shortly after the incident, Adolf and his siblings, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, now 5, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeanne, now 6, were taken into state custody, the Associated Press reported. Child welfare officials also took custody of the Campbells’ youngest child, Hons, hours after his birth in November 2011.
A state appeals court ruled in 2010 that the children were put at risk of abuse and neglect based on a history of domestic violence in the home, ABC News reported. Deborah Campbell once slipped a note under a neighbor’s door saying she was terrified of her husband because he had threatened to kill her, according to court documents. Adolf Hitler Campbell also frequently threatened to kill people, ABC News added.
Now, after a three-year battle, the Campbells cannot have custody of their children, according to the court. Heath Campbell last saw his children about a year ago and is now separated from his wife, who moved out of the state, the Star-Ledger reported.
Attorneys on both sides of the case are not allowed to speak to the press due to a gag order, but the children’s father spoke out against the ruling. His kids weren’t removed from their home for abuse, he argued, but for their parents’ beliefs and the names they chose to reflect those sentiments.
“If I have to give up my Nazism, then so be it. I’ll do it,” Heath Campbell told theStar-Ledger. “[The children are] more my heart and soul and everything than anything.”
While not allowed to speak about the details of the case, United Press International reported that New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services spokeswoman Kristine Brown said, “Every call or investigation that DYFS initiates at the end of the day is to determine if the child is at risk or in the midst of child abuse and neglect.”
The family plans to appeal, according to UPI.