From The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds:
An Up-Close Portrait of William Pierce
by Robert Griffin
Cattle die, and kinsmen die,
And so one dies oneself;
One thing I know that never dies:
The fame of a dead man’s deeds.
—Pre-Christian Norse poem.
It was a little after 7:00 p.m. on one of the pleasant summer evenings I had come to expect in the mountains of West Virginia. I was waiting for William Pierce in his cluttered, book-lined office in the National Alliance headquarters building. I had been living in this remote area on Pierce’s property for over two weeks at that point. When I had come to his office a couple of minutes before, I was surprised to find that Pierce wasn’t there. We were well into a series of interviews I was conducting with him in the evenings, and he’d always been here when I arrived. I assumed that something had held him up and that he would be along in a minute or two. I set up my tape recorder and went over the notes I had put together about the areas I wanted to explore during that night’s session.
I had just finished going through my notes when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone come in through the door to the left of where I was seated. It wasn’t Pierce but rather his new wife, with Pierce right behind her. That surprised me; always before, Pierce had been alone.
“Bob, could you and I talk after you talk with Bill?” Pierce’ s wife said in her halting, heavily-accented English and in her polite and gentle way. She had come from Eastern Europe to West Virginia less than a year before. She and Pierce had not met before she came, and after she was here only a month they married. Pierce’s wife is an attractive woman of about fifty I would guess, with auburn hair and very fair skin. She had taught art to children in her native country. I was taken by her calling him “Bill.” She was the only one who lived or worked on the property who did. To everyone else, including me, he was Dr. Pierce. She seemed on edge about something. She was usually smiling and upbeat, but not now.
“Oh, why don’t you two talk now,” Pierce interjected gruffly. “You don’t have to wait until later.”
With that, Pierce’s wife sat down on the nearest of a row of chairs that face Pierce’s desk. I was seated a couple of chairs away from the one she sat on. Pierce went around his desk and took a seat behind it.
There we were, the three of us. It was silent for a moment. There was tension in the air, but I had no idea what it was about.
Pierce’s wife turned and faced me. “I have something to ask of you,” she said. She seemed shaken.
“Is there something wrong?” I asked.
“I’m afraid,” she replied.
“Bill gets letters from people who say they are going to kill him. I was here for four months before I knew that. I didn’t know that!”
“You do look frightened,” I said.
“I’ve asked Bob [Bob DeMarais, an aide to Pierce] if something happens to Bill to help me return to my country.”
I didn’t know what to say, and up to that point Pierce hadn’t said anything.
“In your book,” she continued, “please don’t use my name or say where I am from. And please don’t show my picture. I am afraid something will happen to me if people know who I am.”
I said I didn’ t want to see her afraid like this, and that I would use some other name for her, and that I wouldn’t say what country she was from or use her picture.
“Thank you,” she said. “That is very nice of you.”
At this point, still seated, she dipped her hand into her pants pocket and pulled out a pistol. I jumped. “I carry this everywhere I go,” she said as she held the gun neck high in her right hand to display it to me.
I was speechless and stared at the gun.
“Don’t be waving that gun around, it’s loaded!” Pierce barked.
“You maybe think it is silly I have a gun,” she said to me, the pistol now in her lap. “But Bill wears a gun all the time. He has it right next to him when he goes to sleep.”
As a matter of fact, Pierce had a holstered weapon strapped to his waist at that very moment—I’d gotten used to that. I reiterated that I would protect her identity.
So I will call Pierce’s wife Irena in the book. It is the only name I have changed.