Alan Berg (Alan Harrison Berg)

Alan Berg

Alan Berg worked at a shoe store and later opened a clothing store in Denver where he met KGMC-AM talk show host Laurence Gross. Impressed with Berg, Gross made him a guest on several occasions. When Gross left KGMC to take a job in San Diego, California, he requested that Alan Berg be named his successor. From KGMC, which changed its call sign to KWBZ, Berg moved to KHOW, also in Denver. After being fired from KHOW, Berg went back to KWBZ before it changed to an all-music format and he again lost his job. The unemployed Berg was courted by both KTOK in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Detroit, Michigan. He was lastly hired by KOA and debuted on February 23, 1981. He worked at KOA until his death. His programs could be received in more than 30 states. Berg, who held liberal social and political views, became notorious for upsetting some callers to the point they began sputtering, whereupon he would berate them. On March 5, 1982, Berg tried to interview Ellen Kaplan, a member of the LaRouche movement, about an incident that had happened on February 7, 1982 at the Newark International Airport. Kaplan had recognized Henry Kissinger, who was on his way to Boston to undergo a bypass operation, and shouted an abusive question at him, whereupon his wife Nancy attacked Kaplan. During his program, Alan Berg called Kaplan on the phone. When she answered, he introduced her as “a vile human being” and praised Nancy Kissinger’s attack on her. After Kaplan hung up, Berg continued to ridicule Kaplan and abuse her verbally for the remainder of the program. Afterwards, the KOA received complaints by listeners and Kaplan’s boyfriend, and on suggestion of the lawyers of the station owners General Electric, the station management suspended Berg from work for a few days. After returning to work, Berg toned down somewhat.

At about 9:30 p.m. on June 18, 1984, Alan Berg returned to his Adams Street townhouse after a dinner date with Judith, with whom he was attempting reconciliation. Berg stepped out of his black Volkswagen Beetle and gunfire erupted. He was struck 12 times. The murder weapon, a semi-automatic Ingram MAC-10, which had been illegally converted to an automatic weapon, was later traced to the home of one of The Order’s members by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hostage Rescue Team. Alan Berg was on a death list according to a former producer because he was Jewish and he challenged on the air the beliefs of an author who wrote that Jews were from the family line of the devil. At the trial for his murder, prosecutors contended that he was singled out for assassination because he was a Jew and because his personality incurred the anger of white supremacists. At the conspiracy trial of members of The Order, the white supremacist organization which was responsible for organizing the assassination, a founding member of the group, Denver Daw Parmenter, was asked why Berg was targeted, he responded “He was mainly thought to be anti-white and he was Jewish”.

Four members of The Order were ultimately indicted on federal charges: Jean Craig, David Lane, Bruce Pierce, and Richard Scutari. However, only Lane and Pierce were convicted, though neither of homicide (which is a state crime). Rather, they were convicted of racketeering, conspiracy, and violating Berg’s civil rights (which are federal crimes). Both were sentenced to what were, for all practical purposes, life terms; Lane’s sentence was 190 years, while Pierce’s was 252 years. Lane died in prison in 2007; Pierce died three years later. David Lane was a former Klansman who later joined the Neo-Nazi Christian Identity group Aryan Nation. He steadfastly denied any involvement in Berg’s murder, but neither did he regret that Berg was dead. In an interview presented as part of the History Channel documentary, Nazi America: A Secret History, Lane admitted to calling the show and goading Berg into an exchange and stated: “The only thing I have to say about Alan Berg is, regardless of who did it, he has not mouthed his hate-whitey propaganda from his 50,000-watt zionist pulpit for quite a few years”. Lane, incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, died of an epileptic seizure at age 68 on May 28, 2007. One of the alleged gunmen in the Berg assassination, Bruce Pierce, who was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex in Union County, Pennsylvania, died of natural causes at age 56 on August 16, 2010. Craig and Scutari were convicted of unrelated crimes. The leader of The Order, Robert Jay Mathews, believed, although never proven, to be a lookout in the Berg shooting, was burned to death during a standoff with federal authorities on December 8, 1984, at his home in Coupeville, Washington. Alan Berg is buried at the Waldheim Jewish Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.

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Born

  • January, 01, 1934
  • USA
  • Chicago, Illinois

Died

  • June, 18, 1984
  • USA
  • Denver, Colorado

Cause of Death

  • gunshot wounds

Cemetery

  • Waldheim Jewish Cemetery
  • Forest Park, Illinois
  • USA

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