Mother returns to where son died to raise awareness

BERLIN (JTA) — Erica Duggan said she attended a conference in the German town where her son died to "break the silence" about his violent death.

Duggan, whose 22-year-old son Jeremiah died after attending a meeting of the LaRouche Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden, came to Germany for a rally and conference Friday focusing on the network of organizations associated with American political theorist Lyndon LaRouche and his German wife, Helga Zepp.

Duggan, a London Jew, said she was raising awareness of what she calls a destructive, anti-Semitic cult that may have caused his death in March 2003.

"We went there to break the silence about how my son died … and about the anti-Semitism that has spread out from this part of Germany," she told JTA after returning home. "For the last nine years, young people have been brought from all over the world to be trained here, and they have really been indoctrinated into conspiracy theories. And there has been a silence about it."

Duggan learned from witnesses that her son, a student, was terrorized by followers of the LaRouches after he objected to anti-Semitic statements and identified himself as a Jew. Duggan fled into busy traffic and was hit several times by oncoming vehicles.

Duggan contends that her son was under attack at the time of his death. The German supreme court is considering her appeal against an original finding of suicide.

"The Lyndon LaRouche youth movement is extremist and dangerous for anyone involved in it," Matthew Feldman, senior lecturer in history at England’s Northampton University, said at the event. "Its role in spreading of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to the rest of the world must be brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities."

LaRouche responded on his Web site by calling the protesters "a well-known group of miscreants steered by circles associated with the British Fabian Society and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair." He accused them of "venting of politically motivated lies."

Jeremiah Duggan, who had been studying at the Sorbonne in Paris,  became drawn to what he thought was an anti-war conference organized by the Schiller Institute and LaRouche Youth Movement.

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