Alan Berg; (1934-1984) In the late 1970s and early 80’s this was the Denver radio talk show host who was THE model for imitators (Limbaugh, et al) yet to come. Alan was also acerbic, witty, odd and fat with opinion… which included hanging up on callers and calling out guests, the likes of which included well known ones. After several public fracases on air, his bosses gave him ‘space’ and some talking to.
He came back, not chastened, but less intent on seemingly taking pride in stripping the bark off saplings on-air… he still discussed homophobia, rotten politicians, cowardly people who attacked the weak…. and there was one thing in particular that he wouldnâ€™t back away from talking about, chastising, condemning and putting down. He didnâ€™t pick on the poor, the frail, the undefended: He chose Roderick Elliot and Frank “Bud” Farell, who wrote “The Death of the White Race” and “Open Letter to the Gentiles,” and other people from the white supremacist groups… the groups who openly espoused hatred of blacks, Jews, leftists, homosexuals, Hispanics, other minorities and religious groups.
One such group known as “The Order” apparently felt threatened by his online scathings of their reasons for being. Some think it was when he took out after Colonel Jack Mohr, a member of the Christian Patriots Defense League, that Berg was targeted by The Order.
Berg, a tall (6’2″) Jewish man who made some folks hopping mad but whom others saw as a courageous hero… well, Alan loomed around Denver and was greeted by name on most any street he chose to walk down. Off-air he was kind to many; a man’s man, he mentored others in radio. Gave much. Those of us who knew him from his earlier days as a fine custom shirt merchant knew him as an honest, funny man who walked slumped over like Ichabod Crane and had a haircut more reminiscent of the long haystack worn by Herman and the Hermits.
Others knew him as the once-workaholic Chicago criminal trial lawyer who started having bad seizures and then developed severe alcoholism. His wife Judith brought him here to get help. Help he got. Never drank again. And when he finally had a seizure he couldn’t recover from, the docs discovered a brain tumor and removed it. He was finally at rest from the seizures that had assaulted him for years.
Eventually he worked his way up in talk radio, setting the airwaves to smoking… and so it went and so it went. He took all kinds of death threats and hate mail for his on-air comments about white supremacist groups.
Alan was an eccentric, so tall a man, yet he drove a classic VW Bug, one of his pride-and-joy-toys. So one June night in 1984, Berg, now age 50 years old, left the radio station, folded himself into his car, took himself and his now ex-wife, Judith, out to dinner, dropped her off and drove home. It was a sweet June night, the temperature is warm this time of year from winds that come down off the Rockies. In June, the sky literally is often turquoise blue with pink clouds at 9:30 PM, just after sundown…
No doubt just that weather alone made him feel great driving. He pulled into his own driveway. Got out of the car. The murderers leapt; Alan was massacred in the driveway, 13 bullets to body and face. Gone.
Members of the white supremacist group the Silent Brotherhood, affiliated with The Order, had waited in a car across the street, waiting for Berg to come home.
There was an oddity, an irony:
Some were sure the killers were acting out a similar scene found in a racist novel published before Bergâ€™s death. The book was entitled, “The Turner Diaries” written by Neo-Nazi leader William L. Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald. In the book, an unnamed Jewish radio talk show host is shot to death as he steps from his car in his own driveway.
But these two men who had sat in the car waiting for Alan Berg, would have a novel fate rather than a novelistic one. Former Denver resident and Klansman David Lane was convicted in U.S. District Court in Denver as the driver. Bruce Pierce of the Order was convicted of shooting Berg. Pierce is serving a 252-year sentence. David Lane is serving a 190-year sentence.
That is, David Lane was serving a 190 year sentence. But not any more. He died in Federal prison in Indiana yesterday. From what? One more irony to date: “Epilepsy complications likely cause…” said Vigo County Coroner, Roland Rohr.
An autopsy found no signs of foul play in the death of David Lane, 68, and linked it to his epilepsy, a neurological condition affecting the nervous system, â€œItâ€™s consistent with a silent seizure causing this death,â€ said the Coroner.
“I’m an outlet for frustration. I’m a focal point for them to dislike something other than what they, in fact, dislike….It’s always someone else’s fault, not theirs. I’ve never seen so many victims in my life…â€
â€œLane and his cronies called lots. Iâ€™ve heard the tapes. Berg would always put them in their place, mocking them, making them look stupid, and they knew it. They couldnâ€™t argue their case, or their cause, so they silenced the man could argue his, the only way they knew how.â€
Darren Copeland KOA, May 29, 2007
“[Alan Berg’s] memory haunts many people, even those who never heard him on the radio, because his death could be read as a message: Be cautious, be prudent, be bland, never push anybody, never say what you really think, offer yourself as a hostage to the weirdos even before they make the first move. These days, a lot of people are opposed to the newfound popularity of ‘trash television,’ and no doubt they are right, and the hosts of these shows are shameless controversy-mongers. But at least they are not intimidated. Of what use is freedom of speech to those who fear to offend?”
“‘The Order’ committed a number of violent crimes during its reign of terror, including the 1984 murder of Denver talk show host Alan Berg, various bank robberies that netted the group millions of dollars, and the bombing of a synagogue… The Order is now defunct…. ”
ADL Report 1999
“There is now a group called The New Order.”
ADL 1999, 2004
â€œ…also what does the SS mean, isnâ€™t it the double lightning bolts?â€
a seeming young person asking a question on a â€˜white Naziâ€™ website