Lyndon LaRouche Exposed

The death of Kenneth Kronberg

Based on an interview with his widow, Molly Kronberg

Molly and Ken Kronberg
Copyright 2007, Molly Kronberg, used with permission

Ken Kronberg died on April 11, 2007 - another victim of the brutal internal politics and policies of the international network of groups commanded by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. A long-time member of the LaRouche organization, Ken Kronberg joined in the early 1970s as an idealistic young progressive activist.

LaRouche has run for the U.S. Presidency eight times since 1976. In the late 1960s, he was an older mentor for a faction of the radical group Students for a Democratic Society. Over the years, LaRouche has surrounded himself with hundreds of loyal followers who assert he is the world's greatest living political analyst, economist, and philosopher. Few outside the LaRouchite organization share this view. In the mid 1970s LaRouche began a swing toward the political right, and increasingly embraced convoluted conspiracy theories that often incorporated historic antisemitic assertions about Jewish control of political and economic institutions.

Ken Kronberg ran PMR Printing Co. and World Composition Services Inc. in Northern Virginia - companies that were closely allied with LaRouche's network of affiliated groups. Kronberg built the printing and typesetting companies into thriving businesses that often prepared and printed LaRouche literature at a deep discount - or even at a loss. This is what precipitated a confrontation between Ken Kronberg and Lyndon LaRouche.

The events leading up to the suicide of Ken Kronberg were first detailed in an article by journalist Nick Benton,

According to reports, the companies were among other things in serious arrears in tax payments, including employee withholding, due largely to lack of payment for printing jobs by other LaRouche entities.

In the morning just hours prior to the Kronberg suicide on April 11, a daily internal document, the "morning briefing" circulated among members of the LaRouche entities, lashed out, in a paraphrase of LaRouche, at what it called the failures of the "baby boom" generation, including among the entities' own members, and singled out "the print shop" as "among the worst." It then went on to state, speaking to the younger generation, "the Boomers will be scared into becoming human, because you're the real world, and they're not. Unless they want to commit suicide."

According to Benton, himself a former member of the LaRouche group:

The "morning briefing" is considered authoritative within all the LaRouche entities that many, including many former participants, contend operate collectively like a cult. The April 11 version, written by Tony Papert of LaRouche's inner leadership circle, his National Executive Committee, appears to assert that the only way the "baby boom" generation, ostensibly including those among LaRouche's own associates, can be in the "real world" is through suicide.

[The full text of the "Morning Briefing" is available
on a website maintained by journalist Dennis King]

Shortly after this memo was circulated to members of the LaRouche group, according to several of his close friends, Ken Kronberg shifted all the available assets of the companies into an account set up to pay the back taxes, and then drove to a nearby highway overpass, and leapt to his death.


The story of Ken and Molly Kronberg story goes back more than thirty years to when Molly was a young activist.

Molly Kronberg: Around 1973 when I came into the Labor Committee, I could see things that those members who came out of more radical families did not see. One of the first times I noticed anti-Semitism was in an obnoxious formulation in an article written by Lyn.

The telltale text was in a footnote to an article penned by LaRouche, writing as Lyn Marcus. The article, titled "The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach," appeared in the Labor Committee Journal, The Campaigner, in December 1973.

Campaigner, December 1973

According to LaRouche:

"Judaism is the religion of a caste of subjects of Christianity, entirely molded by ingenious rabbis to fit into the ideological and secular life of Christianity. In short, a self-sustaining Judaism never existed and never could exist. As for Jewish culture otherwise, it is merely the residue left to the Jewish home after everything saleable has been marketed to the Goyim."

Molly Kronberg still vividly recalls her encounter with LaRouche's antisemitism:

Molly Kronberg: I remember exactly where I was when I read that. It was in our apartment on West 73rd Street in New York City. I was sitting on the sofa.

Ken and Molly Kronberg
Copyright 2007, Molly Kronberg, used with permission

Ken was sitting at the table in the living room, a few feet away. I jumped up and yelled, 'Ken! You have to read this!'

I went to show him the footnote. It was outrageous stuff, but to him it did not mean so much, because he had not been raised as a religious Jew.

Ken was proud of being Jewish, but he was not raised in a religious family, so he was not acquainted with Jewish religious history, or with anti-Semitism in the sense of enmity toward the Jewish religion.

The Labor Committee members raised as secular Jews had no adequate idea of the ancient culture, the rich traditions, and the history of intellectual life, that were associated with Judaism as a religion.

Like many leftists at the time, they saw Jews primarily as a group forced into a specific economic sector with the rise of Capitalism. As she explains:

Molly Kronberg: Most Jewish members of the Labor Committee saw themselves as Marxists, and accepted that there was an economic 'Jewish Question' to be debated

Ken Kronberg appearing in a play staged at
St. Johns college in the late 1960s
Copyright 2007, Molly Kronberg, used with permission

- and that view was not limited to the Labor Committee. These concepts about Judaism and Jews as some kind of caste of agents of the money economy created by the aristocracy and other elites were picked up by Labor Committee members from Karl Marx and his concept of 'dirty-judaical,' a repellent phrase Marx used to describe a specific 'capitalist' attitude toward money.

But LaRouche grafted the "Jewish Question" onto historic conspiracy theories about Jews plotting global control through banks, the media, and traitorous elected officials.

Molly Kronberg: In the course of Ken's and my history in the Labor Committee, I had been saying for many years that LaRouche was an anti-Semite. At first Ken argued, but over time he stopped arguing, and we began to talk about the anti-Semitism.

Lyn was hostile to the religion, to the Old Testament - to the great contribution Judaism made to the world. He developed a theory that all the "good stuff" in Judaism came from the (non-Semitic) Egyptians and that everything "bad" came from those 'dirty Semites' from Mesopotamia.

The Campaigner magazine published numerous conspiracy theories that were antisemitic

He claimed, and European members tried to develop the historical support for the claim, that Moses was really Egyptian."

Over time Lyn seems to have concluded that many of the good people of history were white or 'Aryan,' while many of the 'bad' people were Semites. But principally, anti-Semitism for LaRouche is not so much a separate dogma as just a particularly stark example of his basic hostility toward humanity; he cannot deal with actual, concrete individuals in front of him. He can deal only with humanity in the abstract."

Ken began to play a leadership role for Jewish members in the organization, working with people on presentations, and later working with people on articles having to do with Jewish culture and its application to world culture.

Ken and Molly Kronberg
Copyright 2007, Molly Kronberg, used with permission

In the early 1980s, Ken began to work on the Yiddish Renaissance - the effect on Eastern European Jewry of the culture expressed by Moses Mendelssohn and Heinrich Heine; the consequent flowering of Yiddish in the works of Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Peretz, and Mendele Mocher Sforim."

When I became pregnant in 1983, Ken began for the first time to read about Judaism as a religion, and secondarily about Christianity. At the same time, I went back to the Episcopal Church. When our son was about four began holding Passover Seders and celebrating Hanukkah at our home, although we kept it quiet. Ken grew increasingly interested in the preservation of Eastern European Jewish culture and began to give donations to the Institute for Jewish Research - YIVO. As he grew older, our son became interested in theology; now, among other things, he is studying Hebrew."

Ken Kronberg was one of the early members of the Labor Committee that LaRouche and his top aides put through intense psychological manipulation. This developed strong bonds between LaRouche and his followers.

Molly Kronberg: To this day I can't figure out why Ken retained his loyalty to LaRouche - to the extent he did, because his loyalty to LaRouche eroded over the years, with LaRouche's increasingly brutal behavior. Still, in terms of keeping Ken's loyalty, I don't know how Lyn did it.

Molly and Ken Kronberg
Copyright 2007, Molly Kronberg, used with permission

How could someone as brilliant, as educated, as loving as Ken - superior to LaRouche in every way, in my opinion - be suckered by this? To the end Ken really cared about what LaRouche thought of him. At the same time, he came to realize that LaRouche had feet of clay - that LaRouche was not a good, moral, or caring man. The only way Ken could escape this terrible tension, and his legal and financial entanglements on behalf of the organization, was to kill himself."

When Ken died, I asked that people give donations to the Institute for Jewish Research, YIVO, in Ken's memory. That was certainly closer to what he would have wanted than, say, donations to LaRouche….

At one point, LaRouche decided he wanted to work with the Roman Catholic Church - he was hoping to get in with the Church. So, suddenly, he was pro-Catholic. At that point, many members converted to Catholicism. But when he discovered that the Catholic Church wanted no part of him, in 2000, LaRouche launched a vicious attack on the Catholic members of the organization, including commissioning items for the daily internal briefing memos attacking members for going to church. In a savage campaign, he drove most of the Catholics out of the organization. Then, after years of vilifying Judaism, Lyn basically announced that he was now the protector of the Jewish members against the "vicious Catholics" he just had purged."

I'm worried that the organization may be in danger of becoming a killing machine.

Ken Kronberg 1948-2007
photo by Lisa Johnson, copyright 2007 Loudon Times-Mirror, all rights reserved

 

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