National Vanguard's Strom Seeks More Power
Veggies and Mozart
Strom was a strict vegetarian, Kaiser said, who never drank or used drugs. But he did have some Howard Hughes-like qualities. When he ate, he would only eat one food at a time and would never allow the different foods to touch each other or mix in any way, much like his philosophy on interracial dating. Strom was an extremely controlling husband, said Kaiser, who forced her to abstain from meat, forbade her to wear blue jeans, and predetermined her favorite music — Mozart.
There was no point in debating Strom on any issue, she said.
"If you disagreed with him, he'd literally keep you awake until you agreed with him," Kaiser said.
According to his ex-wife, Strom was a packrat who kept stacks and newspapers and magazines scattered throughout their home.
"You couldn't walk through his living room," Kaiser said.
For all his quirkiness, Strom proved invaluable to Pierce and the Alliance. Strom hatched the idea in 1991 to launch a weekly talk radio show called "American Dissident Voices." Strom produced and hosted the shows and negotiated with AM stations across the country to air the program. In the pre-Internet early '90s, "American Dissident Voices" provided a major vehicle for the Alliance to spread its message and drum up support. Every week, thousands of white supremacists across the country — and later, via the Internet and shortwave, around the world — listened to Strom's diatribes on the evils of Jews and minorities.
The same year he got the show going, Strom ingratiated himself to Revilo Oliver, a classics professor at the University of Illinois who, like Pierce, was considered an intellectual heavyweight within the neo-Nazi movement.
One of the founding members of the John Birch Society, Oliver once wrote, "Aryans are a small and endangered minority on this planet, but how many members of our race seem to have even an inkling of that fact?"
Trouble in Paradise
Strom and Kaiser first met Oliver in March of 1991, when the couple paid homage to him in a visit to his home in Illinois. Strom took his first-born son to visit the aging racist again in 1993, and Oliver put Strom in charge of archiving his academic writings on race. Then in 1994, Oliver killed himself.
"Hitler shot himself, [neo-Nazi leader Ben] Klassen shot himself, and Oliver shot himself," Kaiser noted in an Aug. 10, 1994, entry in her diary, right after Strom told her Oliver was dead. "Kevin's father killed himself. It seemed to be the suicide rate was high amongst people Kevin admired."
Just prior to Oliver's suicide, Kaiser said, Strom had sunk into a depression that only deepened with the death of his hero. At first withdrawn, Strom eventually began openly voicing his growing displeasure with Pierce. He felt underappreciated and underpaid.
In his biography of Pierce, The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds, University of Vermont professor and white nationalist sympathizer Robert Griffin wrote that Strom often appeared to have "worked more under Pierce than alongside him, and never really with Pierce in a truly bonded way."
"From what I have picked up from Pierce," Griffin wrote, "his relationship with Strom was more akin to that of like-minded colleagues than fused brothers. "
For her part, Kaiser found Pierce arrogant and condescending. Still, despite their growing bitterness, the couple continued until 1995 living on Pierce's West Virginia compound, where they'd moved after a period living in a nearby town. Strom first started talking openly about leaving several weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, Kaiser said.
The day after the bombing, Strom was really worked up, she recalls. He made her help him take several boxes of papers and tapes to Stanton, Va., where they threw away the materials at various Dumpsters at different retail stores in the town.
Not long after the bombing, Strom told Pierce that he wanted to leave the compound. Pierce, needless to say, was displeased.
Strom and Kaiser relocated to Rochester, Minn., in November 1995. Strom chose the city because its population was 95% white. Kaiser found that once she was off the compound and was no longer forbidden to read newspapers or watch television, she began having doubts about the white supremacist movement as well as her marriage to Strom.
In 1997, Kaiser, who had begun work as a real estate agent, was fired from her job on her birthday, when her employer found out "just who and what Kevin Strom is," according to one of her diary entries. His letter to the editor of a local newspaper had been published that day.
That same year, the second of the Stroms' three children was diagnosed with autism — a genetic weakling, according to the neo-Nazi code. Strom blamed Kaiser for their son's disorder and left her, taking their first son and the baby born in 1996 with him. He also stopped working for Pierce, claiming the Alliance founder owed him money. Strom was initially granted custody of his children, moved to Texas and began home schooling them. But Kaiser eventually won full custody.