Alan Berg

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Alan Berg

Alan Berg (January, 1934June 18, 1984), was a Denver-based, Jewish radio talk show host who was murdered in 1984.

Two members of the Silent Brotherhood were convicted of "violating the civil rights" of Alan Berg, but the district attorney declined to prosecute on murder charges, saying the evidence wouldn’t stand up in court.[1]

Early life

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Berg attended the University of Colorado at Denver before transferring to the University of Denver. At age 22, Berg was one of the youngest people to pass the Illinois bar examination, but job pressures and increasing alcohol dependence led to a series of neuromuscular seizures. Berg's first wife, Judith Halpern, convinced him to quit his Chicago law practice to seek medical help. They moved to Denver where Berg committed himself at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Radio career

Alan Berg later opened a clothing store where he met Laurence Gross, a radio talk show host on KGMC-AM in Denver. Impressed with Berg, Gross made him a guest on several occasions. When Gross took a job in San Diego, Berg was hired as replacement at Gross's behest.

Berg continued to be plagued by seizures and in 1976 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was removed and he made a full recovery from the seizures.

From KGMC, which had changed to KWBZ, he moved to KHOW in Denver where he became the most liked and disliked talk show host. After being fired from KHOW, Berg went back to KWBZ before it changed to an all-music format and he was fired. Berg, now unemployed, was courted by KTOK in Oklahoma City and WXYZ in Detroit. He ended up taking a job at KOA in Denver, debuting on February 23, 1981 where he remained on the air until his death.

Listeners in more than 30 states over KOA's 50,000 watt signal heard Alan Berg's opinions about gun control, homosexuality, religion, and other controversial topics. They also heard his abrasive, confrontational debating style. Berg became notorious for upsetting callers who vociferously disagreed with him to the point of being unable to speak lucidly, at which point Berg would typically berate them for being unable to express themselves. Berg was a shock jock before that term was coined. His style was controversial for the early 1980's.

However, in the latter stages of his life, Berg did begin to tone down somewhat. But after he berated Colorado's former Secretary of State Ellen Kaplan on his show, KOA briefly suspended Berg as they feared possible repercussions. Upon his return, Berg was far less antagonistic.

Death

On June 18, 1984, Alan Berg was shot 13 times in the driveway of his home in the Congress Park neighborhood of Denver.

His death was similar to a scene described in the novel The Turner Diaries written by National Alliance leader William Luther Pierce under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald, and first published in 1978, six years before Berg's murder. In the book, an unnamed Jewish radio talk show host is shot dead as he steps from his car in his own driveway.

Four members of the Silent Brotherhood were tried and two were convicted of "violating the civil rights" of Alan Berg. David Lane and Bruce Pierce were sentenced to what amounted to life sentences.

The district attorney declined to prosecute on murder charges, saying the evidence wouldn’t stand up in court.[2]

David Lane in his writings apparently did not deny certain of the crimes the Silent Brotherhood were accused of, but did reject involvement in the killing of Alan Berg, who may have had many enemies due to his controversial radio talk show and stated involvement in various crimes. Lane wrote that "He was rabidly Jewish and had caused embarrassment among the Chosen with outspoken commentary. After a trip to Israel he noted, "This time the Jews would either rule the world or blow it up." He had at one time been a lawyer for organized crime figures in Chicago, and his uncontrolled mouth was no doubt a source of worry to unsavory characters of all stripes. According to jailhouse scuttlebutt he, also, was involved with cocaine distribution and used cocaine to obtain the sexual favors of young girls. I have no way to verify the truth of the cocaine charges." The witnesses testifying for the prosecution were argued to have falsely done so in exchange for immunity and other rewards. During the judicial process, judges, prosecutors, and even appointed defense attorneys were stated to include several Jews, possibly creating conflicts of interest.[3]

References

  1. The murder of Alan Berg in Denver: 25 years later https://www.denverpost.com/2009/06/17/the-murder-of-alan-berg-in-denver-25-years-later/
  2. The murder of Alan Berg in Denver: 25 years later https://www.denverpost.com/2009/06/17/the-murder-of-alan-berg-in-denver-25-years-later/
  3. David Lane - Collection of Works
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