A one-time professional wrestler turned neo-Nazi leader grappled with God and found Christ’s forgiveness.
Keith “Duke” Schneider, a.k.a. ‘Pitbull,’ excelled as a professional wrestler, taking on some of his toughest competitors without a second thought.
His wrestling career started at James Madison High School where he won the first place trophy for light heavyweight wrestling.
He soon found that the years of physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his bi-polar mother and obese older sister produced a high tolerance for pain.
Duke recalls the childhood beatings he endured and how he found a way of escape through watching Nazi documentaries.
“They were strong,” he said.
‘Nobody Was Ever Gonna Hurt Me Again’
He survived the terrible abuse by keeping one thought in mind – that one day he’d be strong enough that no one could harm him.
Duke tells CBN News his body had “become so combat tough” from the child abuse that the blows he took in the ring “didn’t bother me in the slightest.”
“And every time I was struck it proved to me that nobody was ever gonna hurt me again physically,” he explained.
As time passed, this one-time weakling had his nose broken a dozen times over the years – and each time he reset the bone himself.
At 5’7” and 230 pounds, “Pitbull” was as tough as they come.
The Brooklyn brawler recalls a match with a formidable opponent, named the Fabulous Fire, who dislocated his nose twice in the first round.
Most wrestlers would call the fight at that point, but not Schneider. He set his sniffer and then won the match by nearly breaking the leg of his 325-pound antagonist.
Duke said two became great friends, noting that at that time in pro-wrestling, there was an air of civility in the ring.
“There is no greater respect and no greater camaraderie than there is between two men who are willing to go head to head with everything they have,” Duke tells CBN News.
After retiring from the ring, Duke went into the personal security business. It was then that he was employed by an African-American woman named Catherine Boone who was running from an abusive relationship.
Soon Duke moved his client, Catherine, into a room in his home where he provided protection for her.
An Obsession with Nazism
One day, however, Catherine was assaulted by skinheads while coming home.
The incident gave Duke the idea to infiltrate the group and expose their wrongdoings.
Soon the retired grappler found a new home for his particular set of skills among members of the National Socialist Movement.
Duke’s original idea was to infiltrate the group, but instead he soon found the movement tapped into his long fascination with Nazism.
Before long his unhealthy fascination became an obsession.
From 2005 until 2012, Schneider served as a leader and strategist for the movement, but all along he had one little secret living in his own home – Catherine Boone.
The friend he had once taken into his home for security became his spiritual protector.
Though Duke was an unbeliever, Catherine was a full-fledged, praying Christian with a direct line to heaven.
While Duke was out at the national Nazi rallies, which often became violent, Duke was at home calling on Jesus for his safety.
She had good reason to be concerned.
According to Duke, one time he was in Los Angeles for a rally when they got word the notorious gang MS13 was planning to shoot their commander, Jeff Schoep.
This kind of imminent danger would make most men run, but not Duke. Instead, he took the lead at the rally and told his men, “The shooter will have to kill me first!”
With hundreds of men under his command, Duke was fully committed to the cause in mind and body.
A Grim Diagnosis
Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, Catherine often laid out his photos on the bed calling on the power of God on his behalf.
God heard her prayers and answered in a very distinct way.
One day, during a routine check-up from his physician, Duke was given an unexpected diagnosis.
This man of steel who felt no pain in the ring, a man who broke several bones and was known for his tenacity, melted at the sound of one word — cancer.
Doctors found an 8-centimeter sized tumor in Duke’s throat and determined it was riddled with cancerous cells.
The thought of dying from thyroid cancer made this ultimate tough guy “break out in a cold sweat,” he said.
That night he told Catherine he was going to die, but she said not so. She was convinced that God was going to heal him.
She asked him to meet with her pastor and surprisingly he agreed.
In a divine moment, Pastor Michael Beck ministered to Duke telling, him he needed to renounce Nazism and accept Christ.
Duke Answers the Call to Salvation
Duke, who was totally unchurched and came from a home where the only time “God’s name was mentioned was in vain,” answered the call to salvation.
Within days he was standing in front of the members of the House of Prayer church confessing his sins and publicly declaring Jesus as Lord.
The faith-filled congregation rejoiced and the elders laid hands on him believing God to heal him from cancer.
According to Duke, the doctors removed the tumor only to report that it was miraculously benign and there was no sign of cancer anywhere else in his body.
Furthermore, the physician said he did not need chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
“I know that it was God’s miracle that did it,” said Duke.
Within days of his surgery, Duke, now a new man with a second chance at life, married Catherine.
The man who was raised in what he calls a “godless” home with parents “who denied the existence of any God,” now had a personal relationship with the God of the universe.
The next step in his new life was to confront the SS.
He called the commander, the man who he had once been willing to die for, to officially renounce his affiliation.
When he was asked for the reason behind his sudden departure, Duke replied that he was miraculously healed from cancer, he was marrying a black woman and moreover, “I have given my soul to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Today, Duke uses his skills to protect the very groups he once targeted. Duke tells CBN News it was a form of “spiritual restitution” to patrol the grounds of synagogues, keeping them safe from anti-Semitic vandals.
The former neo-Nazi thinks most people who are interested in the Nazi lifestyle come from dysfunctional homes just like the one he grew up in.
He says these wayward souls are “simply are looking for someone that will listen to them when they speak.”
Now this former neo-Nazi says he “advise(s) anyone that has an interest in becoming a Nazi to seek Christ first.”
Duke has now replaced Hitler’s Mein Kempf with his favorite Proverbs and he says, “I have long since renounced Nazism and I now live for God’s service.”