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Old May 2nd, 2011 #21
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

Krivitsky, Walter (1899-1941)

Soviet intelligence operative in Europe and defector. Born Samuel Gershevich Ginsberg in the Ternopol region of western Ukraine (then part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire), Krivitsky joined the Communist Party in 1919 and later became a Captain of the GB. He studied at a gymnasium (high school) in Lviv. From 1918 to 1921, he worked as a Comintern “illegal” in Austria and Poland. From 1921 to 1931, he was an operative of the Soviet military intelligence (then the Fourth Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army, or GRU.) In 1923, he graduated from the Academy of the Red Army and was posted to Germany to take part in the organization of an agent network. From November 1925 to May 1926, he worked at the Moscow headquarters of Soviet military intelligence as a writer and mid-level operative. In 1926, Krivitsky was again posted to Germany, as an “illegal.” In later years, he was head of an intelligence school in Moscow and was awarded honorary weapons in 1928 and the Order of the Red Banner in 1931. That same year, Krivitsky changed his affiliation to the OGPU foreign intelligence. In this capacity, he worked as an “illegal” in Germany and other European countries. In April 1933, however, he was sent on a “long-term leave of absence.” In October 1935, Krivitsky was sent to Holland as head of an “illegal” residency of the OGPU foreign intelligence, with liaison functions in several other European countries.

In October 1937, Krivitsky defected in France, following the assassination of his friend and fellow operative Ignacii Poretsky (also known as Ignace Reiss) the previous month. Krivitsky sought political asylum in France and later in the United States. At the end of 1938, he sailed to the United States, where, with the assistance of a journalist named Isaac Don Levine, he produced a series of articles and a book, In Stalin’s Secret Service, published in 1939. That same year, he testified before the Dies Committee (later to become the House Un-American Activities Committee) and was debriefed by the Department of State. In January 1940, he sailed to Great Britain to be debriefed by the British Security Service, more commonly known as MI5 (Military Intelligence, Section 5), where he named more than 100 names as agents of Soviet intelligence. Krivitsky soon departed for Canada and returned to the United States later in the year.

On February 10, 1941, Krivitsky was found dead in the Bellevue Hotel in Washington, D.C. Although his death was officially declared a suicide, there were allegations that he might have been killed by the Soviets. However, no information was ever uncovered to prove these allegations. 1 The publication in 2009 of the notes on KGB foreign intelligence file taken in early 1990s by a former KGB officer and journalist Alexander Vassiliev, seems to have ended the decades-long controversy over Krivitsky’s mysterious death. According to Vassiliev’s excerpted notes on an April, 1941 report prepared at the NKVD foreign intelligence Moscow headquarters, an operation for the “Cultivation of ‘Enemy’ – the defector Krivitsky” – was over because “’Enemy’ took his own life.” [[2. State Security Sr. Lieutenant Butkov to the Chief of the 3rd Department of the 1st Directorate of the NKGB State Security Major Prudnikov, April 11, 1941, Alexander Vassiliev Black Notebook, p. 174, posted at]]


List_of_Ukrainian_Jews List_of_Ukrainian_Jews
Old May 2nd, 2011 #22
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

J. Peters

J. Peters (born Sándor Goldberger, 1894-1990) was the most commonly known pseudonym of a man who ultimately went by the name Alexander Stevens. Peters was an ethnic Jewish journalist and political activist who was one of the leading figures of the Hungarian language section of the Communist Party USA in the 1920s and 1930s. From the middle 1930s, Peters was actively involved in the espionage activities of the Soviet Union in the United States, fabricating passports, recruiting agents, and accumulating and passing along confidential and secret information.

Peters was identified as a spy by Whittaker Chambers, himself a former espionage agent, and in October 1947 Peters was served with an arrest warrant for alleged violation of the Immigration Act of 1924, which required alien immigrants in America to possess a valid visa. He was hauled before the House Committee on Un-American Activities but he did not cooperate, invoking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to answer sensitive questions. On May 8, 1949, Peters left for communist Hungary to avoid imminent deportation by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Peters remained in Hungary until his death in 1990.


Early years

Sándor Goldberger was born August 11, 1894 in the town of Csap, Ruthenia, in the northeastern part of what was then part of the Kingdom of Hungary. There were about 3,000 people in the town at the time of Sándor's birth, including a substantial number of ethnic Jews like the Goldbergers who had fled from official and popular repression in Tsarist Russia.[1]

Many of the Jews of throughout the Kingdom of Hungary attempted to assimilate into society by the adoption of local language and customs, speaking Hungarian rather than Yiddish and in general attempting to become, in the words of one scholar, "more Magyar than the Magyars themselves."[2] Peters' biographer notes that this seems to have been the case with the Goldberger family, who apparently spoke Hungarian in the home and who gave all three of their sons — Sándor, József, and Imre — ethnic Hungarian names.[3]

Like most Jewish families in Csap, the Goldberger family was poor, with Sándor's father working as a train brakeman before leaving to join his wife running a restaurant.[3] The family seems to have been secular rather than actively religious members of the Jewish faith, although it remains possible that they held nominal membership in a local synagogue.[3]

In 1899 Sándor was sent to the large city of Debrecen to live with his grandfather, where educational opportunities were brighter than those of Csap.[3] Sándor attended and graduated from primary school and gymnasium in that city.[3] He apparently developed an affinity for the workers movement at a similarly early age, influenced by his grandfather and an uncle who were active participants in the railroad and machinist unions.[3]

Following his graduation from gymnasium in 1912, Sándor decided to become a lawyer, enrolling in the law school at the University of Kolzsvár in Transylvania.[4] He did not attend courses in that city, however, instead studying law on his own in Debrecen and returning only to take examinations.[4] In order to support himself, Sándor worked briefly in an office job before taking a position teaching at the gymnasium in Debrecen.[4]

With the coming of World War I in the summer of 1914, Sándor Goldberger was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army, receiving training in the infantry.[4] Sándor was selected for officer training and early in 1915 he received a commission as a Lieutenant in the infantry reserve.[5] Sándor was assigned to the Italian Front, where he remained for the duration of the war.[5]

Radical activism in Europe

With the war coming to a close, Sándor returned to his hometown of Csap, where he came into contact with radicalized friends espousing Marxist ideas about the imperialist nature of the war and touting the new social system in the process of being established in the wake of the Russian Revolution.[6] Sándor was won over to the Bolshevik cause and, together with four former prisoners of war released from Russian captivity, became one of the founders of the first local group of the Communist Party of Hungary in Csap.[6]

During the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic headed by Béla Kun in 1919, Sándor served briefly on the governing council of Ung County.[7] He managed to escape repression during the so-called "White Terror" which followed the collapse of the Hungarian Soviet regime, apparently benefiting from the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, which made Ruthenia part of Czechoslovakia, a nation less inhospitable to radical political activists than the Hungary of Miklós Horthy.[7]

Hungarian activist in America

Peters emigrated to the United States in 1924 and became an organizer for the Communist Party USA, concentrating his efforts in the party's Hungarian language section. Peters was a delegate to the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in Moscow in 1928 and was appointed head of the party's National Minorities Department in 1929.[8]

Espionage activities

As organizational secretary for the New York party in 1930, Peters was put in charge of building an illegal apparatus, or network designed to support Soviet foreign policy. CPUSA and Comintern documents at the RGASPI archive in Moscow show that he headed the CPUSA underground apparatus from the early 1930s until Whittaker Chambers’ defection in 1938. He was sent to Moscow for training with the Comintern in 1931 and was made a senior intern in the Anglo-American Secretariat. Returning to the United States in 1932, the Central Committee assigned him to work in the secret apparatus where he remained until June 1938.

The secret apparatus under Peters carried out surveillance, exposed infiltrators, protected sensitive party records from seizure, and disrupted rival communist and leftist movements such as the Trotskyists. Another of Peters' duties included maintaining contact with the Ware group in Washington D.C., and he took over direct supervision of that group in 1935. The head of the CPUSA Earl Browder instructed Peters to cooperate with Soviet intelligence.

About 1936 Peters recognized that some members of the Ware group had potential for advancement within the government, so a decision was made to separate them from the group. Whittaker Chambers became the courier between the GRU and this group. The members separated included Alger Hiss, Henry Collins and Lee Pressman.[9]

Peters was removed as head of the secret apparatus two months after Chambers broke with the espionage ring in 1938 and was replaced by Rudy Baker. He continued to work on the CPUSA's Central Committee staff on what a 1947 Soviet Communist party personnel report called “special assignments”. An examination of the Comintern's records turned up two 1943 messages from the GRU referring to a GRU officer in Washington as having come across “a group of workers singled out by the American Comparty CC [Central Committee] for informational work and headed by the CC worker ‘Peter.’” Though usually called “Peters” in the United States, in Comintern archives Peters' name is often rendered as “Peter.” “Informational work” was GRU parlance for clandestine activity.

On August 3, 1948, in testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Whittaker Chambers publicly stated that Peters was, "to the best of my knowledge, the head of the whole underground United States Communist Party."[10]

Peters (under the name "Alexander Stevens") was subpoenaed to appear before a congressional investigating committee. He refused to answer any questions[11] and left prior to deportation procedures for Hungary.[8]

In 1949, Hede Massing testified during Hiss' second trial about meeting Peters and described her involvement in greater detail in her 1951 memoir.[12]

In 1952, Nathaniel Weyl, another member of the Ware Group, named Peters as head of that spy ring.[13]

Peters is identified as assisting Soviet espionage in deciphered KGB cables and in the KGB documents listed in The Haunted Wood by Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev. Many years later, he was located by Weinstein in Hungary and interviewed for Weinstein's book Perjury.

Later years

Death and legacy

In his 2011 book Red Conspirator, Dr. Thomas Sakmyster concludes that, as far as the Ware Group and related secret groups relate to Peters, these were "conducted by largely on his own initiative... No Soviet agent ever served directly as his handler."[14]
Old May 2nd, 2011 #23
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

Ruth Kuczynski

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1907, the daughter of German-Jewish professor and Soviet spy Rene Kuczynski. Brother Jurgen and sister Bridgitte also became Soviet spies.

Became a Communist in 1924 when she became a member of the Communist Youth Movement. Became the head of the German Communist Party's Propaganda Section.

Moved to the United States with her father and brother who were engaged in espionage activities for the GRU. Returned to Germany in 1929 and married Rudolph Hamburger, a friend from her childhood.

In 1930, was instructed by Soviet Intelligence to move to Shanghai, China. Her husband, also a Soviet spy was already in Shanghai, under the guise of an architect. Ruth was more important to the GRU than her husband as she operated a major spy ring in China.

Became close friends with Agnes Smedley, an American journalist who would ultimately introduce Kuczynski to Soviet agent Richard Sorge. Ruth began an affair with Sorge, often allowing him to use her apartment as a meeting place. Established a cover as a journalist writing for pro-Communist newspapers.

Was ordered back to Moscow for advanced training in 1933. Returned to China six months later, under a new cover as a bookseller. Her actual task was to develop a strong relationship between the GRU and Chines Communists in Manchuria who were fighting against the Japanese.

Worked with a GRU agent whom she knew only as Ernst. Rumored to have engaged in an affair with him and gave birth to a daughter in 1935, believed to be Ernst's child.

Sent to Peking (now Beijing) in 1935. Chinese intelligence, with the help of Morris "Two Gun" Cohen, did a sweep of suspected spies, arresting Sorge's replacement. Ruth and her husband escaped with her two daughters. They returned to London and visited her parents (her father was now teaching economics at the London School of Economics).

Was joined in England by Olga "Ollo" Muth, her former nanny from Germany. Muth became a nanny for Ruth's newborn daughter Nina. Muth, at this point, was unaware of the couple's espionage activities. Accompanied her husband to Poland where Rudolph would serve as Senior GRU officer.

Was ordered back to Moscow for further training in June 1937. Was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner by the Soviet Union for her espionage activities and then order to Switzerland in 1938 to establish a new spy ring. Stopped first in England to meet with prospective agents, one of whom was Alexander Foote. Foote was further assessed by Brigitte Kuczynski. Foote joined her in Montreuz, Switzerland in 1938 to serve as a radio operator. Moving in with her.

Began operating under the code-name "Sonia." Merged her burgeoning network with the Lucy spy ring operated by Alexander Rado. Welcomed a new member into her spy ring named Leon Beurton. Began a relationship with Beurton immediately, ending the one with Foote.

Began denouncing the Soviet Union and the principles of Communism after Russia signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939. Was actually acting on orders from the GRU in order to develop a guise for a deep cover operation planned for her. The GRU wanted to her to live as a British citizen, and thus requested that she marry Foote. Instead she married Beurton in February 1940 (she divorced Hamburger in late 1939). Obtained a British passport soon thereafter and prepared to move to England.

Did not plan to take Ollo with them to England. Ollo, distraught over the prospect of being separated from the children and angry at Sonia and Beurton, informed British authorities of their espionage activities but no one took much note of her claims and failed to follow up on them.

Moved to Liverpool, England in February 1941 and then to Oxford and prepared for her new espionage activities. Was joined by Beurton in the summer of 1942 but he was soon drafted into the British Army. Was assigned to oversee the activities of Klaus Fuchs, the atomic bomb researcher who had provided so much information during his work on the Manhattan project. Fuchs had originally been recruited into the Communist party by Brigitte Kuczynski. Her father had provided aid to her at several points during her activities, as had her brother, who would eventually be made a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and in a great position to pass information to her.

Was placed under suspicion when he contacts with Fuchs came to light after his arrest. Was also linked to Sir Roger Hollis, former head of MI5, with whom Sonia had become acquainted in Switzerland and China. Speculation held that Sonia had actually recruited Hollis into Soviet control but he vehemently denied even knowing her. Was questioned along with her husband by British agents in 1947 regarding their alleged involvement in espionage activities. Both refused to answer any questions and no further investigation was evident.

Fled to East Germany with her children in 1950 and was joined by Beurton in one year later. Received her second Order of the Red Banner award in 1969 as well as the Order of Karl Marx in 1984. Wrote several books including her autobiography in 1977. Considered by many to be the greatest female spy ever.
Old May 2nd, 2011 #24
Mike Parker
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Nahum Eitingon

Nahum Isaakovich Eitingon, or Naum Isaakovič Ejtingon (Russian: Наум Исаакович Эйтингон), also known as Leonid Aleksandrovich Eitingon (Russian: Леонид Александрович Эйтингон)[1] (6 December 1899, Shkloŭ - 3 May 1981), was a Soviet intelligence officer, who was sometimes described as a major organizer of Stalin's state terrorism system.[1]


Eitingon, a Russian Jew, joined the Cheka in 1920, shortly before his 21st birthday. Along with other Chekists, he took part in numerous operations during the Russian civil war, including the "liquidation" of a number of the more prosperous citizens of the Belorussian town of Gomel. At the end of the 1920s, Eitingon, a polyglot, organized and led an operation producing fake documents which persuaded the Japanese that 20 Russian agents who were working for them had secretly applied to have their Soviet citizenship restored. This ruse resulted in the Japanese executing their anti-Soviet allies.[2]

He was active in Spain in the late 1930s, during the Spanish civil war and in Belorussia during the Second World War. As a high-ranking NKVD officer, Eitingon was responsible for numerous kidnappings and assassinations, even in peacetime.[2]

During the 1930s, Eitingon, established an illegal espionage network in the United States among Jewish people who had left Russia shortly before the Russian Revolution broke out. This penetration of Soviet intelligence into the United States helped the Soviets to gain, later on, a foothold in the scientific community. During the early 1940s, Eitingon had as many as 40 Soviet agents among the scientists and personnel who were working on the Manhattan Project at or near Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Berkeley, CA.[2]

The Assassination of Trotsky

Leon Trotsky, the Soviet revolutionary, had been banished from the USSR by Stalin and had found refuge in Mexico. Stalin assigned the organisation and execution of a plan to assassinate Trotsky to Eitingon. Eitingon, while in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, was able to recruit the services of a young Spaniard communist ideologue, Ramón Mercader, to act as executioner. Trotsky was living in Mexico at the time and, soon after Mercader worked his way into Trotsky's group of friends, Eitingon arrived in Mexico, also. On August 20, 1940, Mercader attacked and fatally wounded Trotsky with an icepick axe, while the exiled Russian was in the study at his home in Coyoacán (then a village on the southern fringes of Mexico City). Eitingon and another collaborator in the assassination plot were waiting outside Trotsky's domicile, in separate cars, to provide a getaway for Mercader. But when Mercader didn't show up (he'd been arrested by Trotsky's bodyguards), they both left and fled the country.

Doctors' Plot

In October 1951, Major-General of State Security Eitingon, along with 3 other high-ranking members of the government (all Russian Jewish), were accused of "a Zionist plot to seize power." Eitingon's sister Sofia was also arrested. As a doctor, she was considered to be the "link" to the plotting doctors who were allegedly planning to poison high-ranking Soviet leaders. The officers were all imprisoned in cold, dark cells and tortured. The tortures led many of them to falsely confess but Eitingon was steadfast in his denial. Sofia was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

After Stalin's death in March 1953, the head of Soviet intelligence and security services Lavrentiy Beria issued an order to close the cases against the "Zionist plotters" and all were released, including Sofia.

Nahum Eitingon persistently sought his official rehabilitation, but this was granted only posthumously.[3]

Nahum_Eitingon Nahum_Eitingon
Old May 2nd, 2011 #25
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

Harry Gold was born in Philadelphia on 12th December, 1910. After leaving school Gold worked for the Pennsylvania Sugar Company as a laboratory assistant. He lost his job in 1932 as a result of the Depression. After a variety of menial jobs, Gold studied chemical engineering at Drexel Institute (1934-36). He eventually found work with Brothman Associates.

On 5th September 1945, Igor Gouzenko, a KGB intelligence officer based in Canada, defected to the West claiming he had evidence of an Soviet spy ring based in Britain. Gouzenko provided evidence that led to the arrest of 22 local agents and 15 Soviet spies in Canada. Some of this information from Gouzenko resulted in Klaus Fuchs being interviewed by MI5. In 1950 Fuchs, head of the physics department of the British nuclear research centre at Harwell, was arrested and charged with espionage.

Klaus Fuchs eventually confessed that he had been passing information to the Soviet Union since working on the Manhattan Project during the Second World War. However, after repeated interviews with Jim Skardon he eventually confessed on 23rd January 1950 to passing information to the Soviet Union . Six weeks later Fuchs was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The FBI were desperate to discover the names of the spies who had worked with Klaus Fuchs while he had been in America. Elizabeth Bentley, a former member of the American Communist Party, had in 1945 given FBI agents eighty names of people she believed were involved in espionage. At the time it had been impossible to acquire enough information to bring the suspects to court. These people were interviewed again and one of them, Harry Gold, confessed that he had acted as Fuchs's courier. He admitted that he had involved in espionage since 1934 and had helped Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. Gold's confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass. His testimony resulted in the arrest, trial and execution of Ethel Rosenberg and Julius Rosenberg.

Gold was sentenced in 1951 to thirty years imprisonment. He was paroled in May, 1966, after serving just over half of his sentence.

Harry Gold died in 1972.

Harry Gold

Harry Gold (11 December 1910 – 28 August 1972) was a laboratory chemist who was convicted of being the “courier” for a number of Soviet spy rings during the Manhattan Project.

Early life

Gold was born in Switzerland to poor Russian Jewish immigrants. As a young man he became interested in socialism which eventually led him to contacts within the Communist movement.

After leaving school, Gold worked for the Pennsylvania Sugar Company as a laboratory assistant. He lost his job in 1932 as a result of the Great Depression. After a variety of menial jobs, Gold studied chemical engineering at Drexel Institute (1934–36). Gold was recruited into espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union in 1935 by Thomas Lessing Black. He eventually found work with Brothman Associates.


In 1940, Gold was activated for Soviet espionage by Jacob Golos, but he was not a recruited agent of the rezidentura. This changed in late 1940 when Soviet Case Officer Semyon Semenov appropriated Gold from Golos (Gold confession, KF-AS, p. 196). Gold became a formally recruited Soviet agent at this time, and was assigned the codename GUS, or GOOSE. Semyonov remained Gold's control officer until March 1944.

In 1950, Klaus Fuchs was arrested in England and charged with espionage. Fuchs confessed that while working in the United States during World War II he had passed information about the atom bomb to the Soviet Union. Fuchs denied working with other spies, except for a courier who collected information from him. When initially shown photographs of suspects, including Gold, he failed to identify him as the courier, but did so after subsequent prompting.[1]

Under interrogation, Gold admitted that he had been involved in espionage since 1934 and had helped Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union by way of Soviet General Consul Anatoli Yakovlev. Gold's confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass. His testimony resulted in the arrest, trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, though in later trials he was revealed to be a somewhat unreliable witness.

Harry Gold was sentenced in 1951 to thirty years imprisonment. He was paroled in May 1965, after serving just over half of his sentence.

He died in 1972 in Philadelphia,[1] where he is buried in Har Nebo Cemetery.

Harry_Gold Harry_Gold
Old May 2nd, 2011 #26
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

Underground Man: The Curious Case of Mark Zborowski and the Writing of a Modern Jewish Classic


The most influential of all popular renderings of Eastern European Jewry in the English language and, arguably, the book that Jewish historians of the region loathe more than any other, is Life is with People. Few books written in the last half-century have more resolutely enveloped the Eastern European Jewish past in nostalgic amber. It was, to be sure, only one of a cascade of books, some of them translated from Yiddish, that sought to do much the same thing in the midst or the immediate wake of Hitler's war, among them Maurice Samuel's The World of Shalom Aleichem, Bella Chagall's memoir Burning Lights, Abraham Joshua Heschel's elegy The Earth is the Lord's, and Roman Vishniac's book of photographs Polish Jews. But Life is with People was the most ambitious of the lot. Published in 1952, it sought to capture an entire civilization from cradle to grave in 400-odd pages of accessible, even buoyant prose. The world it explored was, it insisted, continuous with—but also distinct from—everything around it, not quite part of Russia or Poland yet inside both, a kind of island of unadulterated Yiddishkayt before it was diluted, then destroyed.

The book—originally subtitled "The Jewish Little-Town in Eastern Europe" and altered once it appeared in paperback in the early 1960s to "The Culture of the Shtetl"—concentrates on the essence of this culture, which, as it sees it, was the "shtetl." Shtetl is Yiddish for small market-town, and Life is with People examines shtetls not in their considerable variety but as instances of a single ideal type presented in the present tense, as if it still existed.

The book's enduring appeal (it went through several editions, sold more than 100,000 copies, and is out of print now for the first time in almost 60 years) can probably be traced to its sweetness; its blend of collective genealogy and ethnographic Jewish lore. It is the rare commemoration that leaves the reader feeling good, even though the world it depicts has been obliterated. Its tone is conversational, and it takes the reader through the rhythms, the sounds of the Jewish week starting with the Sabbath, and on to schooldays, workdays (depicted, despite the pervasive poverty of Eastern European Jewry, mostly in cheery tones), marriages, circumcisions, and deaths. It is an ethnography that is also a "how-to" book ("Prayers are accompanied by a rocking movement, from the waist to the toes"), and yet one that understands how to satisfy its readers by doing little more than nudge them toward an unobtrusive voyeurism.

When Tevye sings the famous lines "If I were a rich man, I'd have the time I lack / To sit in the synagogue and pray / And maybe have a seat by the Eastern Wall," in Fiddler on the Roof, he is actually versifying a passage from the second chapter of Life is with People: "the men who sit along the Eastern Wall are pre-eminently the learned and the rabbi . . ." Later editions of the Schocken paperback featured a blurb from Fiddler's lyricist Sheldon Harnick. "Life Is with People told us about the life in Jewish villages as no other book." Indeed, Schocken also marketed it as part of a box-set of a half-dozen books that were necessary reading for every literate Jew. Bernard Malamud consulted the book when he was writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1967 novel about a blood libel case in Tsarist Russia, The Fixer.

The study that culminated in Life is with People was part of the Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures project, headed up by the two leading cultural anthropologists of the period, Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, and funded, oddly enough, by the Office of Naval Research. But its co-author and central intellectual figure was Mark Zborowski. Mead appears to have thought of Zborowski as the perfect insider-outsider: someone "who combined . . . the living experience of shtetl culture . . . and the disciplines of history and anthropology." The book, she added in the Preface, was "the realization of a plan [he had] cherished for many years." This was true, or almost true, but it also omitted a great deal, most of which Mead didn't know. Zborowski was not really from a shtetl but from Uman, a Ukranian town of 28,000, and though he might, conceivably, have cherished the idea of writing an ethnology of Eastern European Jewry, it was not a culture that he himself held dear. In fact, he had been estranged from it since adolescence, and his most significant professional experience was not as an anthropologist (he never really received a doctorate, as he sometimes claimed, from the Sorbonne), but as a Soviet spy.

Zborowski, whose GPU codenames included Mack, Max, Tulip, Kant, and Etienne, infiltrated the Trotskyist circle in Paris in the 1930s, and—though he probably never murdered anyone personally—several of his anti-Stalinist acquaintances died sudden, violent, and mysterious deaths. Indeed, when Zborowoski's work was done in Paris and Leon Trotsky's son, Lev, along with many others, was dead, his GPU handlers tried to get him to Trotsky's lair in Coyoacan, Mexico in order "to get to the OLD MAN." Zborowski, however, appears to have preferred to continue his anthropological studies at the Sorbonne, and contrived to remain in Paris. In Richard Lourie's 1999 The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin: A Novel, Stalin muses about his gratitude to Zborowski whose reports, he says, are "concise, to the point without a wasted word." In the 1956 Senate subcommittee hearing which would eventually lead to his conviction and imprisonment for perjury, Zborowski acknowledged that he was aware that Stalin took special interest in his work: "I heard about it, yes," he admitted, laconically.

What, if anything, does Zborowski's biography imply with regard to how one now reads his reassuring account of the Jewish past in Life is with People? True, books should not be conflated with the biographies of their authors, and it would be a mistake simply to collapse the activities of Zborowski as spy and anthropologist, even if their skill-sets overlap. Nonetheless, it remains striking how similar his "field-reports" to both Stalin and Trotsky (often giving drastically different accounts of the very same events) are in texture to his ethnographic work on the shtetl.

Scholars, most prominently anthropologist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, have written insightfully about the evolution of Life is with People, its ethnographic failures and its place in mid-century American anthropology. But when the book is reread with an eye fixed on Zborowski's own life, it emerges as a different, more intriguing text, a work infused with not inconsiderable feeling and occasionally startling insight, indeed with insights that cut against the grain of the book.

Much of Zborowski's life was conducted behind curtains. Yet, it can now be described in some detail, despite major gaps, because of newly accessible Russian sources, declassified FBI data, and Margaret Mead's papers, housed in the Library of Congress. Mead's project, Columbia University Research in Contemporary Cultures, was launched in 1946 to examine cultures touched, in one way or another, by the Second World War (Russian, Polish, Czech, Chinese, Japanese, and so on). Jews were added to the mix rather late, and the transcripts of the researchers' meetings on the "Jewish Book" involve leading anthropologists, including Mead, Conrad Arensberg, and Ruth Landes, and offer a vivid glimpse into Zborowski's central role in the project.

Unsurprisingly, Zborowski was not given to self-revelation. But amidst the huge body of material about Jews collected for Mead's project—more than 100 transcripts of interviews with Eastern European Jews, summaries of memoirs and works of Yiddish literature, translated bits and pieces from contemporaneous memorial books (yizker bikher) published by survivors, meticulously sketched maps of towns, transcripts of jokes, depictions of local deviants, saints, and others—is an interview with Zborowski about his childhood and youth that is probably the most honest statement he ever recorded. He provided the information in 1947, just before anti-communism surfaced as a major post-war preoccupation, two years after his espionage work had ended, and almost a decade before he was unmasked. He seems to have felt safer from detection, freer to talk, than ever before or afterwards.

His childhood, as he tells it, was spent in Uman, where he was born in 1908, and which he insisted on calling a shtetl. His family was solidly middle-class, (wealthy by Bolshevik standards, as he later put it), and he was the youngest of seven siblings. His father was a shopkeeper, a mildly devout Hasid who was nonetheless open to reading modern literature, in which his mother also indulged. Still, this wasn't an intellectually flexible or free-spirited home. Zborowski's recollections range from cool to hostile. He recalls little about his siblings except for the fights he had with them. As the youngest, he had no room, or even bed, of his own, and had to "wander around" nightly in search of a place to sleep.

One of his most vivid boyhood memories is of harassing the local Bratslav Hasidim, known as the "Dead Hasidim" due to their refusal to select a successor to their founding leader, Rabbi Nachman, who had died in Uman a century earlier. The Bratslavers were ecstatic even by hasidic standards and known to attract the poorest and most marginal members of Jewish society. "We boys were standing in the doors and windows of the [synagogue], pulling them by their clothes, spitting in their faces, and throwing stones and dirt, while they were dancing and singing their prayers."

After the revolution, Zborowski volunteered at a communist library, and when his father learned of his work, he beat him with his mother watching closely, insisting only that he not be hit on the head. Of Sabbath and festivals—the subject of glowing depictions in Life is with People ("Sabbath brings joy of the future into the shtetl. . . . On no point is there more unanimity . . .")—he describes only countless, oppressive rules, and warnings that "if we weren't good we would be torn to pieces by the devil."

At fourteen, Zborowski left the Soviet Union with his family for Poland, first Lvov, then Lodz, where it is unclear how his father earned a living. "Before, he was a very important member of the community. Then, they took his store, they took everything away. They took his honor. After that, he stopped paying attention to me." At least part of what Zborowski meant was that his father gave up monitoring his son's behavior. He remembers himself as a radical young adolescent walking around Uman with grenades in his pockets.

Zborowski's recollections of the revolution and its aftermath are permeated with loss: "In my case, everything was undermined." With the disappearance of his father's money, the "foundations" of their life as a family were gone. Zborowski insists that the reason for his father's fury over his communist activity—the beating over his library work was the worst he'd ever undergone—was because of the cost to his communal stature. Elsewhere in the transcripts, Zborowski muses, "My parents despised people who cursed. They called them ‘proste [Y]idn,' crass Jews." No beliefs, certainly not those picked up from Marxism, weighed quite so heavily on Zborowski as did his preoccupation with the gap separating high-class sheyne Yidn, from such lower-class Jews.

Zborowski left Poland for France in 1928, probably to avoid imprisonment. He and his wife, Regina, were already married and both were communists. However, he later told friends, it was only in Grenoble, where he was working his way through university as a busboy, that he came to understand Marxism. He was stunned at the indifference of bourgeois women at his hotel who "looked right passed him," not even bothering to cover themselves when he delivered breakfast to their rooms. He was approached by a Soviet agent staying at the hotel who pushed the right buttons. The recruiting agent dangled the possibility of tuition-free study in Russia, and told him that reparation would be easier if he cleansed himself of his bourgeois taint as the son of a storeowner by monitoring the activities of anti-Soviet Trotskyists. In 1933, he moved to Paris and was so successful that plans to return to Russia were put aside.

To most of his new Trotskyist comrades—the group was small, factionalized, and hungry for new members—he seemed unimpressive, little more than a willing volunteer at its Parisian library. "Colorless . . . rather like a mouse" and "not conspicuous in any way . . . There was nothing you could grapple with, except for his insignificance." Such comments were typical, while others (like the characterization of him by one leading member of the group as "that dirty, Polish Jew") were more vicious. However, he contrived to bump into Lev Sedov, Trotsky's son and the movement's European head, in a hallway at the Sorbonne, and befriend him. Soon he was adopted as Sedov's right-hand man, working with him almost daily as an unpaid, all-but full-time assistant. The movement had few native Russians (most had been jailed, or silenced by Stalin), and Zborowski showed himself willing to perform any chore, however trivial, in a group where nearly everyone argued about quite nearly everything. (Sedov's own wife belonged to a different faction from that of her husband.)

When questioned at a Senate subcommittee hearing as to whether or not he "was given an assignment to lure [Sedov to] . . . where Soviet agents would assassinate him," Zborowski admitted that "At a very later time, I was given such an assignment," but added that he failed to carry it out. Crucial to his easy access to Sedov was his capacity to remain obscure, an uncharacteristically mild, acquiescent Trotskyist. So invisible was he that when Victor Serge—a large-hearted, generous man close to the Trotskyists—speaks in his memoirs, which appeared before Zborowski was unmasked, of experiences they had together, he doesn't bother mentioning his name.

The story of his relationship with Sedov is chilling. For some three years, Zborowski rendered himself indispensable, and although he was suspected of being a spy, nearly everyone in this circle was accused of sedition at one time or another. There was certainly mounting evidence that some member of the inner circle was a mole. Trotsky's papers were stolen. Then, one after another of the communists prepared to go over to Trotsky's side was murdered: one beheaded, another shot, the body of an activist was found floating in the Seine. Ignace Reiss, who had run the network of Soviet spies in Europe and then decided to defect to the Trotskyists, was found dead, his body riddled with bullets on a Swiss road outside Lausanne. In his Senate testimony, Zborowski admitted engineering the theft of Trotsky's papers and informing the Soviets about the whereabouts of several of these men, but denied complicity in the killings. (He insisted, despite evidence to the contrary, that he hadn't informed on Reiss.)

Soon after these deaths, Sedov took suddenly ill. He was hospitalized and died shortly thereafter at the age of 31. There were rumors of a poisoned orange, but nothing was ever proven. It is certainly the case that Zborowski had found him a Russian-run, almost certainly Soviet-infiltrated hospital, and informed his Soviet handlers of the location while hiding it from his fellow Trotskyists. Trotsky was warned in an anonymous letter from a former spy that a Jew named Mark with excellent Russian and a young family (Zborowski sometimes brought his son George with him to his clandestine meetings) had infiltrated his Paris headquarters and was responsible for its decimation. Moreover, the letter-writer warned, Trotsky himself was to be this Mark's next victim. Trotsky dismissed the note as Stalinist meddling. In fact, the letter was written by Alexander Orlov, a GPU agent who had helped recruit the infamous Cambridge spies, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, and Guy Burgess, but was now on the run from Stalin, and the letter appears to have been sincere.

Despite these rumors and with Sedov gone, Zborowski's star in the now-decimated movement began to rise. At the inaugural meeting of the Fourth International, held outside Paris in 1938, he was elected a member of its Central Committee, and its only Russian representative (Trotsky couldn't attend). It was there that he might have introduced a New York comrade, Sylvia Ageloff, to Jacques Mornard, alias Ramon Mercader, who used his relationship with Ageloff to get access to Trotsky and kill him two years later.

Soon afterwards, Europe was torn asunder. Zborowski and his wife managed to escape to the United States in 1941, with the help of one of Zborowski's few remaining Trotskyist friends, Lila Dallin, wife of David Dallin, a leading expert on Soviet espionage. Still a spy, Zborowski now reported on the anti-Soviet Russians he met at the Dallin's New York apartment. It was at the Dallin's that he managed to meet Victor Kravchenko—much as he had first managed to meet Sedov—and befriend him. Zborowski ended up helping Kravchenko edit his anti-Stalinist memoir, I Choose Freedom, all the while sending copies to Moscow, where Stalin himself annotated some of the pages.

Zborowski's first American job was at a factory but he was soon hired by Max Weinreich as a librarian at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and then brought under the benevolent wings of Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Now he started to win grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, research stints at Cornell, Harvard, and the American Jewish Committee. He worked with Marshall Sklare, compiling a reader of Jewish ethnography, and they collaborated on the Riverton Study, a highly regarded examination of post-war American Jewish life. Norman Podhoretz recalls dining with him during this period of his life, shortly before news of his espionage surfaced, and he gave the impression of a man of confidence and self-assurance.

It was much the same self-assurance that he brought to Mead's project, where, from the start, he exerted a decisive influence. It was, in fact, Zborowski who had persuaded Benedict to add Jews as a subject. At their weekly meetings, usually held at Mead's Greenwich Village house, they sat for hours at a time patching together a consensual understanding of some of the most elusive features of Judaism. Few, except for Zborowski, had more than a sketchy knowledge of Jewish life. A notation at the close of the session held on December 7, 1947 reads, "A discussion then ensued concerning ‘authority' [in Jewish communal life] and . . . whether or not it meant respect or fear. The general consensus . . . was that it was respect, rather than fear." By mid-1949, support from the Navy had dried up and the group was still unclear about how to construct the book's argument. "I just don't trust our impressions give a valid picture," stated Elizabeth Herzog, who would become Zborowski's co-author, at a meeting in mid-1949. Half-jokingly, Herzog proposed that the book be entitled "Now I Understand My Mother."

Confusion remained as to how to weigh the significance of modern versus traditional trends, or whether to discuss the many dozens of towns and cities mentioned in the interviews they'd conducted. By the late 19th-century, Jews in the region were increasingly clustered in large cities like Warsaw, Kiev, Minsk, and Odessa, or middle-sized towns, like Zborowski's Uman, as well as shtetls. It was Zborowski who put an end to this confusion by imposing a definitive, if spurious, structure on their study. This was done most decisively in an otherwise rambling session in the summer of 1949, devoted, as it happens, mostly to prostitution, which unsurprisingly did not make its way into the book. ("Did prostitutes," asked someone, "observe ritual rites [and go] to the mikvah?") The following exchange would set the book on its course:

Mark Zborowski: I vaguely remember streets reserved for Jewish prostitutes and
others for non-Jewish prostitutes in Lemberg.
Ruth Landes: But Lemberg is not a shtetl.
Naomi Chaitman: Yes.
Natalie F. Joffe: In Chortkov.
Margaret Mead: How big is Chortkov?
Zborowski: Population of about 15,000.
Mead: That's a city!
Zborowski: The shtetl can be any size, if it's big there can be sub-groups. But there
is only the Jewish community. It's not a place, it's a state of mind. The problem of size
s so different. You can't use words ‘smaller' and ‘bigger.'
Joffe: It's interesting how informants time and again talk about the shtetl.
Elizabeth Herzog: Did people living there call it a ‘shtetl'?
Zborowski: No, ‘shtot.' But the esprit was shtetl and the organization was shtetl. It's not size at all.

Chortkov was, in fact, much smaller than Zborowski said it was. He often spoke at the meetings with more authority than knowledge. (Scholarly reviews of Life is with People would later note many such errors, some of them howlers.)

Still, Zborowski exerted decisive influence on all aspects of the book, none more than on its emphasis on social status. On rereading Life is with People, it is striking how pivotal this theme is to its portrait of Jewish life. Social stratification is, of course, a central theme in the social sciences, but it was Zborowski who thrust the issue into the heart of the group's deliberations with an interest that seemed anything but dispassionate. At nearly every meeting of the group there was close analysis of the impact on religious and cultural life of "sheyne" and "proste" yidn. The index heading in Life is with People for "social stratification" lists sixteen subheadings, and the book lavishes no fewer than seven pages on who sits closest to the Eastern Wall in the synagogue (no wonder it was picked up on by the writers of Fiddler on the Roof).

Hence, we find close analysis of how sheyne yidn walk, pray, raise their voices, curse (they don't), divorce (not often), why they prefer commerce to manual labor, how they clean their homes. "To call a house ‘sheyn' means, not that its outward aspect is pleasing, but that the household is orderly, dignified, harmonious. . . . Obscene language, on the other hand, is referred to as ‘ugly' words." Status is born of a medley of factors that include money, of course, but also pedigree, learning, and comportment. Self-restraint is a commodity known best to the sheyne; the bad, unrestrained behavior of the proste can come perilously close to that of gentiles.

In the midst of this tepid, even cloying, book, then, is a surprisingly perceptive view of social gradations in Jewish culture, a difficult topic to pin-down yet one of critical importance, as one of the more original historians of Eastern European and American Jewish life has recently reminded us. Eli Lederhendler's new book, Jewish Immigrants and American Capitalism: From Caste to Class, makes a persuasive case for the impact of mounting uncertainty about social stratification as one of the community's most pressing, debilitating concerns. Its importance as an influence in the migration of millions of Jews from Eastern Europe has, as Lederhendler argues, been underestimated:

The social crisis in east European Jewry was the result of a protracted process going
back at least to the 1850s, and entailed a gradual weakening of economic and social
distinctions between petty trades and small artisans, and between artisans and laborers.
Simultaneously, there was a widening gap between a very small, favored minority at the
top and, below them, a population of several million of the underemployed, underfed, and
under-statused. If the last years of the nineteenth century seem qualitatively different from
what had come before, it is because of cumulative effects of decades of social dislocation
capped by newly imposed government restrictions . . . brought about the loss of class itself.

Lederhendler's insight is the product of hard historical labor, and keen analytical skill. Zborowski's insights were, it seems, mostly intuitive.

True, much of Life is with People is an exercise in avoidance in its portrait of a way of life that Zborowski knew to be darker and more complex than the bright, Chagall-like hues in which he painted it. The book's title is drawn from a chapter on the pleasures of community in a world where all knew everything about everyone else—"there are no secrets in the shtetl"—which was just the sort of place Zborowski would have deplored. Yet, embedded inside the book, too, is a story about class and status, sheyne and proste Yiden, that is probably as sincere as he would ever tell.

When Norman Podhoretz first heard that Zborowski was a spy he dismissed it as nonsense because at their meal Zborowski sounded like a Stalinist. Why, he asked himself, would he express such views openly if he was a spy? Disentangling truth from falsehood in the life of someone like Zborowski can never be done with anything close to certainty. His espionage career became known only because of the testimony of Alexander Orlov—the same informant who had contacted Trotsky years earlier. At first, Zborowski denied the charges, but once he learned of the evidence against him he admitted only to what the government already knew. He lied under oath before a Senate subcommittee, saying that his spying had come to an end in 1937—long before he came to the States. Later he claimed he couldn't recognize a Soviet agent with whom he met at least fifty times because he was, as Zborowski put it, "too insignificant" to remember. He lied to Margaret Mead, a stalwart friend to the end, telling her he was forced to work for the Soviets because they threatened his Russian relatives. Years later, Mead's daughter, Catherine Bateson, repeated the same story to me, which she had continued to believe. Much of the anthropological community supported him. One prominent anthropologist confronted Ignace Reiss' wife at one of Zborowski's trials and declared piously to her, "In this country we are against human sacrifice." (Reiss was the would-be GPU defector who was gunned down on a country road outside Lausanne in 1937.) Charged with perjury, Zborowski was eventually convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, in 1963. He was released after less than two for good behavior.

Soon after his release from Danbury prison in 1965, Mark Zborowski had already become a figure to be reckoned with in San Francisco's eager, messy world of experimental medicine, a patchwork of clinics and institutes marked by vast aspiration, and spotty oversight. Especially then, San Francisco was a place for new beginnings. Zborowski, Sorbonne-trained, a friend of the fabled anthropologist Margaret Mead, and the author of the by-then standard work on Eastern European Jewish life, stood out as a man of solidity and learning, a well-credentialed European refugee. With Mead's support, he had been hired as a medical anthropologist by Mt. Zion Hospital, a well-regarded private institution in the city's Fillmore district. Eventually, he became the co-director of its new Pain Center and wrote a book entitled People in Pain, a study of the intersection of medicine and culture in the lives of patients from different ethnic backgrounds (its chapter on Jews describes a people with unquenchable passion for complaint). The book solidified his clinical standing despite reviews, which ranged from equivocal to awful.

Zborowski remained something of an exotic, cosmopolitan presence: his Russian accent retained its thickness, he smoked incessantly, starting a new cigarette before the old one burned out, and nearly every evening he and Regina would begin their scotch. Although his son George had moved to Israel as an adult, he rarely visited him, complaining that the cuisine was terrible and that it was impossible to find a good drink. He tended to be known affectionately but also distantly as Dr. Z, and left the inaccurate impression that he had earned a doctorate in France. He and Regina resisted putting down permanent roots, rented and never bought, describing themselves as "Wandering Jews" though they lived in San Francisco for the last two and a half decades of their lives.

A graduate student who had worked closely with him, Kitty Corbett, now an anthropologist at Simon Fraser University, told me of a conversation they had late in his life and after she'd learned that he quit smoking. She asked if this was hard, given the extent of his habit. Zborowski replied that his doctor had ordered him to do so because of heart problems and he had stopped the same day. She prodded him a bit more—hadn't it been difficult? He stared at her with the searching, fierce look he adopted when forced to say more about himself than he cared to reveal and then answered, "I have a self-image as a hero. And with a self-image as a hero, you can do what you do, and you never look back. You just move forward."


Steven J. Zipperstein is Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. His most recent book is Rosenfeld’s Lives: Fame, Oblivion, and the Furies of Writing (Yale University Press), and he is at work on a cultural history of Russian Jewry in the 19th- and 20th-centuries.
Old May 3rd, 2011 #27
Mike Parker
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,311
Mike Parker

Morton Sobell (left) at a visit in East Germany in 1976

Figure in Rosenberg Case Admits to Soviet Spying

Published: September 11, 2008

In 1951, Morton Sobell was tried and convicted with Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on espionage charges. He served more than 18 years in Alcatraz and other federal prisons, traveled to Cuba and Vietnam after his release in 1969 and became an advocate for progressive causes.

Through it all, he maintained his innocence.

But on Thursday, Mr. Sobell, 91, dramatically reversed himself, shedding new light on a case that still fans smoldering political passions. In an interview, he admitted for the first time that he had been a Soviet spy.

And he implicated his fellow defendant Julius Rosenberg, in a conspiracy that delivered to the Soviets classified military and industrial information and what the American government described as the secret to the atomic bomb.

In the interview with The New York Times, Mr. Sobell, who lives in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, was asked whether, as an electrical engineer, he turned over military secrets to the Soviets during World War II when they were considered allies of the United States and were bearing the brunt of Nazi brutality. Was he, in fact, a spy?

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, call it that,” he replied. “I never thought of it as that in those terms.”

Mr. Sobell also concurred in what has become a consensus among historians: that Ethel Rosenberg, who was executed with her husband, was aware of Julius’s espionage, but did not actively participate. “She knew what he was doing,” he said, “but what was she guilty of? Of being Julius’s wife.”

Mr. Sobell made his revelations on Thursday as the National Archives, in response to a lawsuit from the nonprofit National Security Archive, historians and journalists, released most of the grand jury testimony in the espionage conspiracy case against him and the Rosenbergs.

Coupled with some of that grand jury testimony, Mr. Sobell’s admission bolsters what has become a widely held view among scholars: that Mr. Rosenberg was, indeed, guilty of spying, but that his wife was at most a bit player in the conspiracy and may have been framed by complicit prosecutors.

The revelations on Thursday “teach us what people will do to get a conviction,” said Bruce Craig, a historian and the former director of the National Coalition for History, a nonprofit educational organization. “They took somebody who they basically felt was guilty and by hook or crook they were going to get a jury to find him guilty.”

The Rosenbergs’ younger son, Robert Meeropol, described Mr. Sobell’s confession Thursday as “powerful,” but said he wanted to hear it firsthand. “I’ve always said that was a possibility,” Mr. Meeropol said, referring to the question of his father’s guilt. “This is certainly evidence that would corroborate that possibility as a reality.”

In the interview, Mr. Sobell drew a distinction between atomic espionage and the details of radar and artillery devices that he said he stole for the Russians. “What I did was simply defensive, an aircraft gun,” he said. “This was defensive. You cannot plead that what you did was only defensive stuff, but there’s a big difference between giving that and stuff that could be used to attack our country.”

(One device mentioned specifically by Mr. Sobell, however, the SCR 584 radar, is believed by military experts to have been used against American aircraft in Korea and Vietnam.)

Echoing a consensus among scientists, Mr. Sobell also maintained that the sketches and other atomic bomb details that the government said were passed along to Julius Rosenberg by Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, were of little value to the Soviets, except to corroborate what they had already gleaned from other moles. Mr. Greenglass was an Army machinist at Los Alamos, N.M., where the weapon was being built.

“What he gave them was junk,” Mr. Sobell said of Julius Rosenberg, his classmate at City College of New York in the 1930s.

The charge was conspiracy, though, which meant that the government had to prove only that the Rosenbergs were intent on delivering military secrets to a foreign power. “His intentions might have been to be a spy,” Mr. Sobell added.

After David Greenglass was arrested, Mr. Sobell fled to Mexico and lived under false names until he was captured — kidnapped, he maintained — and returned to the United States in August 1950. He said he was innocent, but his lawyer advised him not to testify at his trial. He was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment and was released in 1969. The Rosenbergs were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing in 1953 after President Dwight D. Eisenhower turned down an appeal for clemency.

In an interview for a 2001 book by this reporter, “The Brother,” Mr. Greenglass acknowledged that he had lied when he testified that his sister had typed his notes about the bomb — the single most incriminating evidence against her. His allegation emerged months after Mr. Greenglass and his wife testified before the grand jury and only weeks before the 1951 trial.

Government prosecutors later acknowledged that they had hoped that a conviction and the possibility of a death sentence against Ethel Rosenberg would persuade her husband to confess and implicate others, including some agents known to investigators through secretly intercepted Soviet cables.

That strategy failed, said William P. Rogers, who was the deputy attorney general at the time. “She called our bluff,” he said in “The Brother.”

The grand jury testimony released on Thursday by the National Archives appeared to poke even more holes in the case against Ethel Rosenberg, who was 34 and the mother of two young sons when she appeared before the grand jury and was arrested on the courthouse steps after her testimony.

Bowing to David Greenglass’s objections, a federal judge declined to release his testimony. But the transcripts released on Thursday reveal that his wife, Ruth, in her grand jury appearance, never mentioned typing by Ethel Rosenberg, said she transcribed Mr. Greenglass’s notes in longhand on at least one occasion herself and placed Ethel Rosenberg out of earshot during several important conversations.

“It means the grand jury testimony by Ruth Greenglass directly contradicts the charge against Ethel Rosenberg that put her in the electric chair,” said Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a nonprofit group based at George Washington University that challenges government secrecy.

Ronald Radosh, a scholar of the case and a plaintiff in the suit to release the grand jury minutes, said the testimony “confirms what we always suspected, that they manufactured the typing story at the last minute.”

Still, the grand jury transcripts indicate that Mrs. Rosenberg was aware of the conspiracy. Spying was broached the first time by her husband in 1944 at the Rosenbergs’ Knickerbocker Village apartment in Lower Manhattan, Mrs. Greenglass testified. “I was horrified,” she said, but added that Mrs. Rosenberg “urged me to talk to David. She felt that even if I was against it, I should at least discuss it with him and hear what he had to say.”

Mrs. Greenglass, who died earlier this year, said her sister-in-law also was in the kitchen when Julius bisected the side of a Jell-O box that a courier would use as a signal to retrieve atomic secrets from David Greenglass.

But David C. Vladeck, the lawyer who argued for the grand jury transcripts to be released, said they had inconsistencies with the trial testimony that might have been used to undermine prosecution witnesses.

“Imagine if the Rosenbergs had a good lawyer,” he said.

Among other things, Harry Gold, a confessed courier for the spy ring, told the grand jury that “everything I have done for the past 15 years, practically all of my adult life, was based on lies and deceptions.” He said he had met Julius Rosenberg, which contradicted his other accounts. And he does not invoke before the grand jury the damning password, “I come from Julius,” that he mentioned during the trial.

The nearly 1,000 pages of grand jury transcripts are peppered with aggressive, sometimes belligerent jousting by prosecutors with witnesses, insights into how they defended themselves, and factoids that aficionados of the case are likely to parse for years.

James Kilsheimer, the only surviving prosecutor of the Rosenberg-Sobell case, said on Thursday, “We always thought Sobell was guilty, and we knew that Julius was.” He said that the trial testimony about Ethel’s typing was not inconsistent with what Ruth Greenglass told the grand jury but was developed by him “during the pretrial process.”

Mr. Sobell, who was never implicated in atomic espionage, has been ailing, but says his long-term memory is sound. He was interviewed a number of times over the summer by Walter and Miriam Schneir, who wrote a damning indictment of the Rosenberg prosecution years ago, but who, on the basis of decoded Soviet cables and other information, have since reconsidered their verdict that Julius was completely innocent. In those interviews, Mr. Sobell has implicated himself in espionage.

“Do I believe Morty? Yes,” Mr. Schneir, who is writing a magazine article about Mr. Sobell, said on Thursday. “The details that he’s given us so far we’ve been able to check the peripheral parts, and they check out.”

Most of the protagonists in the case, Mr. Sobell included, were committed Communists at the time they spied for the Soviets. “Now, I know it was an illusion,” Mr. Sobell said. “I was taken in.”

Robert Meeropol, the Rosenbergs’ son, said that even if he were to accept Mr. Sobell’s verdict, “It’s not the end of what happened to my mother and it’s not the end of understanding what happened to due process.”

Morton Sobell

Morton Sobell (born April 11, 1917) is a former spy for the Soviet Union. Sobell was an American engineer working for General Electric and Reeves Electronics on military and government contracts. He was found guilty of spying for the Soviets (along with Julius Rosenberg at his 1951 espionage trial), and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was released in 1969 after spending 17 years and 9 months in Alcatraz and other high security prisons.

After proclaiming his innocence for over half a century, Sobell admitted spying for the Soviets, and implicated Julius Rosenberg, in an interview with the New York Times published on September 11, 2008.[1]


Morton Sobell was born into a Jewish family in New York City. He attended the City College of New York where he received a degree in engineering[2] and later married Helen Levitov (1918–2002).[3] He worked in Washington, D.C. for the Navy Bureau of Ordnance and in Schenectady, New York, for the General Electric Company.

After being accused of espionage, he and his family fled to Mexico on June 22, 1950. He fled with his wife Helen, infant son Mark Sobell, and Helen's daughter from her previous marriage, Sydney. Sobell tried to travel to Europe, but without proper papers he was not able to leave. On August 16, 1950, Sobell and his family were abducted by armed men, taken to the United States border and turned over to the FBI.[3] The FBI arrested him for conspiring with Julius Rosenberg to violate espionage laws. He was found guilty along with the Rosenbergs, and sentenced to 30 years. He was initially sent to Alcatraz, until the prison closed in 1963. He was released in 1969 after serving 17 years and 9 months.[4]

Sobell as a political cause

Sobell's supposed innocence became a cause among progressive intellectuals who organized a Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell.[5][6][7] In 1978 the Corporation for Public Broadcasting produced a television special maintaining Sobell's innocence.[8] The Monthly Review maintained that the government had presented "absolutely no proof" of Sobell's guilt, but had tried him merely "to give the impression that an extensive spy ring had been in operation."[9] Bertrand Russell campaigned to overturn Sobell's conviction saying that his prison sentence was a grave miscarriage of justice against an innocent man.[10][11]

In 1974 Sobell published a book, On Doing Time in which he maintained that he was innocent and that his conviction was a case of justice being subverted to serve political goals.[12][13] After his release from prison, Sobell went on the speaker circuit, regaling audiences with his account of being falsely prosecuted and convicted by the federal government.[14]

In September 2008, at age 91, he told The New York Times that he did turn over non-nuclear military secrets to the Soviets during World War II. This was the first time he publicly admitted guilt.[15]

Morton_Sobell Morton_Sobell
Old May 3rd, 2011 #28
Mike Parker
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,311
Mike Parker

A Virtual Spy : DOSSIER: The Secret History of Armand Hammer. By Edward J. Epstein (Random House: $30, 418 pp.)

October 27, 1996|BILL BOYARSKY | Bill Boyarsky is a Times columnist and author of two biographies of Ronald Reagan published by Random House

Nowhere in America are life and artifice intertwined as they are in Los Angeles. Wealth--and the ostentatious spending of it--assure entree into a transient high society created by early 20th century economic pirates and now dominated by Hollywood. Our history is marked by stories of the newly rich who quickly rose to political and economic power, then ended up in prison. When Dr. Armand Hammer moved here in the '50s, marrying his third wife, Frances, and moving into her Holmby Hills home, upper-crust Angelenos didn't look beyond the color of his money and his tall tales. Even though he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for his part in the Watergate scandal for illegally contributing $54,000 to Richard M. Nixon's political funds, his influence continued to grow.

Armand Hammer and Los Angeles were a perfect match. For money and smooth talk are the passports to this city, a place, like the old frontier, where the newly rich discard their old lives and reinvent themselves.

In "Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer," Edward Jay Epstein's fascinating, painstakingly researched book, Hammer's old life is revealed in fascinating detail, exposing him as the liar and conniver that he was.

Among Epstein's more shocking revelations is that Hammer acted as a virtual spy for the Soviet Union, a conduit for money that financed Communist espionage operations. This will no doubt come as a shock to the Angeleno pooh-bahs--some of them rock-ribbed, Joe McCarthy-loving right wingers--who bowed and scraped before Hammer, hoping for an invitation or, more likely, a donation to a favorite cause.

The whole story is laid out in "Dossier." Epstein's sources are rock solid: the Soviet Commissariat of Foreign Trade; a top official's report to Lenin; the archives of the Comintern, the Kremlin organization in charge of the international communist conspiracy; various American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, which kept Hammer and his family under surveillance from the early part of the century until almost up to his death in 1990.

From these sources, Epstein discovered that in 1921 the Soviet secret police, the Cheka, gave Hammer "$75,000 to secretly take back with him to New York. This money, which would be the equivalent of $600,000 today, was to be distributed to underground agents of the Comintern. . . . [Hammer] departed Russia with a new burden of secrets--his commitment to using his family's company to help finance Soviet espionage in America."

When I used to write about Occidental Petroleum Corp., I always figured Hammer, who headed the international oil company, was some kind of a Soviet spy.

It was an improbable theory. Hammer was the leading light of the stuffy conservative Los Angeles cultural and philanthropic scene. I remember interviewing him when he was trying to drill for oil off Pacific Palisades, a project violently opposed by residents, environmentalists and just about everyone who enjoyed the beach. So desperate was he for favorable publicity that he even consented to talk to me, a reporter from City Hall. I found him to be a crafty old charmer who reminisced entertainingly about his friendship with Lenin and other leaders of what then-President Ronald Reagan termed the "evil empire."

The Lenin connection made me suspicious, as did Doc Hammer's past. His father was an old Bolshevik who had come to the United States from his native Russia. Armand Hammer was feted whenever he visited Moscow. He was even tight with the Stalin crowd, the evil empire's most evil rulers. The Russians cut him in on big business deals. What explanation was there except that Hammer was playing for the other team?

From that connection flowed other business deals, some profitable for Hammer, others not, but all of them of great use to the Soviet Union. When workers at Hammer's Russian asbestos mine went on strike in 1922 over poor working conditions, he called in the Cheka, which suppressed the strike. When a railroad station boss demanded a bribe to move food to the mine, the Cheka stepped in again and, as Hammer liked to boast, the station commandant was shot.

His relationship with the Soviet secret police is just one--and for me the most interesting--revelation in a book that is a model of biographical research. Sometimes, "Dossier" is overweight with detail, but that can't be avoided. Hammer's life was built on layers of deceit, and Epstein uncovers them, one by one. When finished, he has provided a painful look at the corruptibility of government and the gullibility of the business, economic and social elite.

Deception came easy to Hammer, Epstein reveals, and there were so many lies they can't be listed in the space allocated to this review. But I have some favorites:

* Hammer insisted that his mistress, the art consultant to the Armand Hammer Foundation, change her name, appearance and voice so that Hammer's wife, Frances, who was suspicious of the relationship, would not recognize her.

* Although Hammer, who studied at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons as a youth, reveled in the title of doctor, he left unsaid the fact that a woman died after he performed an illegal abortion on her in 1919. His father, in whose office Hammer was working, took the fall for him and went to prison.

* Hammer was Jewish but denied his heritage most of his life. Dealing with the Soviets, he was an atheist. When developing oil fields in Muslim Libya, he was a Unitarian. Only when death neared did Hammer return to Judaism and, in fact, schedule a lavish bar mitzvah ceremony, but he died before it took place.

* The doctor portrayed himself as a great art connoisseur and financed the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center in Westwood to house his art collection. But Epstein reveals Hammer's "cynical manipulation of the authenticity of works of arts," including the faking of supposed originals from the Faberge workshops in Russia. "To him," writes Epstein, "collecting was a confidence game in which he supplied the necessary authentication, which took the form of a label, genuine or fake."

Hammer loved talking about himself as an international businessman, above politics. When I interviewed him about his Palisades drilling scheme, he spoke in sweeping terms of the global oil shortage. What I didn't know but learned from reading Epstein's book was that the FBI was investigating Hammer at the time for engaging in "a conspiracy to bribe members of the Los Angeles City Council" to support drilling. The investigators, however, couldn't dig up enough evidence to present the case to the grand jury.

Above politics? Hammer was a master manipulator of politicians. Albert Gore Sr., father of the vice president, was made a partner in a Hammer cattle-breeding business while in the House of Representatives and "made a substantial profit," Epstein writes. He tells how the senior Gore went to work for Occidental Petroleum when he left the Senate after a congressional career marked by several helpful moves on behalf of Hammer.

Another helper was Rep. Jimmy Roosevelt (D-California). Hammer was a silent partner in Roosevelt's insurance business, Epstein said, and he offered to steer corporate business Roosevelt's way. But all this was subtle compared to what Hammer did overseas, bribing his way into the Libyan oil concessions that vaulted Occidental into the big time of the international oil trade and, possibly, giving payoffs to some of his Russian pals, according to Epstein.

Master spies have master cover stories, and Hammer's was the best. He hired journalists, including the legendary Walter Duranty of the New York Times and Bob Considine of Hearst, to write puff biographies. Occidental's public relations department sent the books to journalists who were writing about Hammer, Epstein reveals, and "his assertions thus passed into the clip files and archives of credible publications and, through repetition, attained the status of quasi-fact. Eventually, life, as it often does, imitated artifice. As people came to believe the Hammer legend, they treated the man with deference and sought his favor."

Probably nowhere was Hammer treated with more deference than in Los Angeles. All the rich and powerful, the politicians and cultural leaders and the rest who humbled themselves before him should read this book. They will learn an old frontier lesson that I am sure Hammer knew: Beware of smooth-talking strangers, flashing big bills and promising wonderful gifts.
Old May 3rd, 2011 #29
Mike Parker
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Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is known mainly as the US-born compiler of Parliamentary Profiles, the journal on British MPs' interests and voting traits. Roth is also a contributing obituary editor for The Guardian, and a confidant of leftwing activists, in particular Guardian journalists David Leigh & Mark Hollingsworth, and former Labour MP (now Lord) Dale Campbell-Savours.

Apart from all of the above having key roles in The Guardian's 'cash for questions' affair, over the years Roth, Leigh, Hollingsworth and Campbell-Savours have also demonstrated an abiding common interest in matters relating to the British and American intelligence services.

In his 1999 book Venona: the greatest secret of the cold war author Nigel West (aka former Conservative MP Rupert Allason) reveals that Roth is actually the former U.S. Naval Intelligence officer Lieutenant Andrew Roth, who fled a Grand Jury indictment issued in August 1948 after he was caught by the FBI passing classified documents to a Russian spy named Philip Jaffe, who edited a magazine entitled Amerasia based in offices on 225 Fifth Avenue, New York. Roth only escaped immediate incarceration because the FBI had used illicit surveillance methods.

In 1948 Roth fled the US Navy after being caught passing secrets to the Russians, whereupon he settled in England to work for The Guardian. He subsequently became a confidant of Left-wing journalists and Labour MP Dale Campbell-Savours.

Shortly after settling in England Roth was taken on by The Guardian as the parliamentary correspondent for its sister paper The Manchester Evening News. In tandem Roth published a political newsletter entitled "Westminster Confidential", which in 1963 broke the sensational story that the Conservative Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, had shared the favours of a prostitute with a Russian Naval Intelligence officer by the name of Eugene Ivanov. Given his own contacts with the Soviets it is open to speculation as to how Roth came by the story.

But of all his activities Andrew Roth is most famous for producing Parliamentary Profiles, listing all MPs' registered interests, political hobby-horses, and tittle-tattle. In this regard Roth also compiles and supplies detailed dossiers on MPs for clients to special order as a sideline. Most interestingly, research undertaken during 1994 of the KGB's archives in Lubyanka Square, Moscow, revealed that Roth had supplied the KGB during the 1960s with at least one such dossier on a British MP -- a 9,000 word profile of the Labour MP and publisher Robert Maxwell. Though Roth later admitted supplying the dossier, he denied knowing his client's identity.

Roth's crucial involvement in The Guardian's 'cash for questions' campaign began following the publication of Adam Raphael's Observer article of April 1989 implying that lobbyist Ian Greer paid MPs to table questions at £200 a time. This prompted Roth to make inquiries, whereupon he discovered that Greer had given commission payments to the chairman of the Conservative backbench trade and industry committee, Michael Grylls MP, for introducing new clients to his lobbying company. Roth subsequently developed the hypothesis that Greer's commission payments were a cover for passing bribes to Tory MPs to reward them for delivering parliamentary services, such as tabling parliamentary questions, in support of his clients.

Accordingly, in the next issue of Parliamentary Profiles published in November 1989, Roth insinuated that Michael Grylls's commission payments from Ian Greer were really bribes to support the very clients whom Grylls had introduced to Greer. According to Roth's letter to Sir Gordon Downey, following publication Dale Campbell-Savours visited him, whereupon Roth convinced him of his theory, following which the Labour MP then persuaded his fellow members of the Members' Interests' Committee that Ian Greer's commission payments to Grylls should be investigated.

On 3 April 1990 Ian Greer appeared before the committee to answer questions whereupon Dale Campbell-Savours immediately suggested that his commission payments were actually to reward MPs for 'delivering parliamentary services'. Greer denied the insinuation but acknowledged giving introductory commissions to two other MPs besides Grylls. Campbell-Savours then barracked Greer with a stream of questions in an attempt to elicit the names of the two other MPs, but Greer refused to provide them on the grounds that it was not his position to do so.

Roth's theory that Greer's commissions were bribes subsequently became the bedrock of The Guardian's original 'cash for questions' article of 20 October 1994, accusing Greer of paying MPs Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith, and provided the theme for the book on the affair written by David Leigh, Sleaze: the corruption of Parliament.

Most tellingly, after Tim Smith resigned his ministerial post as a consequence of The Guardian's article, in the next issue of the New Statesman Roth boasted that Smith's resignation proved that he was one of the two unnamed MPs whom Greer had acknowledged giving commissions. In other words, Roth had surmised that Smith's resignation was confirmation that a) Smith had received a commission from Greer and b) the commission was really a bribe to table questions.

In fact, Tim Smith had not received a commission payment from Ian Greer. However, Roth and The Guardian did not discover this until two years later, just ten days before the first due day of Neil Hamilton's and Ian Greer's libel actions. The news caused mayhem with The Guardian's planned defence for the trial, and prompted the last-minute coercion of three close employees of Mohamed Al Fayed into testifying to a new allegation that they had processed 'cash in envelopes' for the lobbyist and the MP [see "The concise true story of the 'cash for questions' affair" and "The brainwashing of a democratic state", both in Section Two].

Old May 3rd, 2011 #30
Mike Parker
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Solomon Adler

Solomon Adler (or Sol Adler) was born in Britain and became a U.S. citizen in 1936, when he obtained employment in the United States Department of the Treasury. Adler also was a Soviet spy who supplied information to the Silvermaster espionage ring.

Adler served in China and shared a house with Chi Ch’ao ting and "China hand" John Service. From China, Adler sent back reports opposing President Franklin Roosevelt's gold loan program of $200 million to help the Nationalist Chinese Government stabilize its currency in 1943. Secretary Harry Dexter White and Frank Coe supported this view (to de-stabilize the anti-Communist government of Chiang Kai-Shek). Hyperinflation in China amounted to more than 1000% per year between 1943 and 1945, weakening the standing of the Nationalist government domestically in China. This helped the Communists eventually to come to power in China, delivering hundreds of millions of people into their hands.

Adler is referenced in Venona decrypts #14, 14 January 1945, New York to Moscow. His code name in Soviet intelligence and in the Venona papers is "Sachs", and directly relates to the delivery of information about China.

By 1950, Adler was the subject of a Loyalty of Government Employee investigation. Adler resigned just prior to a decision by the Civil Service Commission and Treasury Department. Thereafter, Adler returned to Britain, and when his passport expired in three years, he was denaturalized and lost his American citizenship.

At some point in the 1950's Adler emigrated to the People's Republic of China. Adler, Frank Coe, and Sydney Rittenberg worked together in China translating Chairman Mao's works into English. He worked for twenty years for the Chinese Communist Party's Central External Liaison Department, an agency involved in foreign espionage. A photograph shows him with Henshen Chen, a senior Maoist official who had been an intelligence operative in the United States from the late 1930s till 1949. Chen wrote in his memoirs that he used the cover as an editor for the journal Pacific Affairs and worked as a researcher at the Institute of Pacific Relations, and had covert liaisons with the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA).

Adler died in China on August 4th, 1994.


Solomon Adler: The Chinese Economy (London, Routledge & Paul 1957)
Joan Robinson, Sol Adler: China: an economic perspective (Foreword by Harold Wilson; London, Fabian International Bureau 1958)
Sol Adler: A Talk to Comrades of the English Section for the Translation of Volume V of Chairman Mao's Selected Works (Guānyú "Máo xuǎn" dì-wǔ juǎn fānyì wèntí de bàogào 关于《毛选》第五卷翻译问题的报告; Beijing, Foreign Languages Press 1978).

Solomon Adler

Solomon Adler (August 6, 1909 — August 4, 1994) was an economist who worked in the U. S. Treasury Department, serving as Treasury representative in China during World War II. He was identified by Whittaker Chambers and Elizabeth Bentley as a Soviet intelligence source and resigned from the Treasury Department in 1950. After several years teaching at Cambridge University in England, he returned to China in the 1950s and was a resident there from the 1960s until his death, working as a translator, economic advisor, and possibly with the Central External Liaison Department, a Chinese intelligence agency.


Solomon Adler was born on 6 August 1909 in Leeds, England. The Adler family was originally from Karelitz, Byelorussia, moving to Leeds in 1900. Solomon Adler was the fifth of ten children; the oldest was Saul Adler, who became a well-known Israeli parasitologist.[1] Adler studied economics at Oxford and University College, London. He came to the United States in 1935 to do research. In 1936 he was hired at the Works Progress Administration's National Research Project, but soon moved to the Treasury Department's Division of Monetary Research and Statistics, where he worked with Harry Dexter White for the next several years.[2]

He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1940. In 1941 he was posted to China, where he remained as Treasury representative until 1948. His reports from China to Treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau during the war years were widely circulated and played an important role in shaping American wartime economic policy toward China.[3]

In 1949, Adler was the subject of a Loyalty of Government Employees investigation. He resigned before the case was resolved and returned to Britain, where he taught for several years at Cambridge University. When his American passport expired after three years, he was denaturalized and lost his American citizenship.[4] Adler moved to China by 1960.[5] In addition to his work on economics, Adler was a member of the group translating Mao Zedong's works into English.[6]

When the United States reestablished diplomatic contacts with China in 1971, Adler renewed his American citizenship. He died in Beijing on August 4, 1994, two days before his 85th birthday.

Espionage claims

In 1939, Whittaker Chambers identified Adler to then-Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle as a member of an underground Communist group in Washington, D.C., the Ware group. Chambers correctly identified Adler as then serving in the General Counsel's Office at the Treasury Department, from which, Chambers said, Adler supplied weekly reports to the American Communist party.[7][8] In 1945, Elizabeth Bentley identified Adler as a member of the Silvermaster group.[9] A 1948 memo written by Anatoly Gorsky, a former NKVD rezident in Washington D.C., identified Adler as a Soviet agent designated "Sax."[10] This agent, transliterated "Sachs (Saks)" appears in the Venona decrypts supplying information about the Chinese Communist through both Gorsky and American Communist Party head Earl Browder.

In addition to his contacts with U.S. espionage groups, while serving as Treasury attache in China in 1944, Adler shared a house with Chinese Communist secret agent Chi Ch'ao-ting[11] and State Department officer John Stewart Service, who was arrested the following year in the Amerasia case.

Together with Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and V. Frank Coe, Director of the Treasury's Division of Monetary Research, Adler strongly opposed a gold loan program of $200 million to help the Nationalist Chinese Government control the inflation that took hold in unoccupied China during World War II. Inflation in China between 1943 and 1945 was more than 1,000% per year, weakening the Nationalist government in China. This inflation helped the Communists eventually come to power in China, and in later years White, Coe, and Adler were accused of having deliberately fostered the Chinese inflation by obstructing the stabilization loan.[12]

According to a Chinese work published in 1983, from at least 1963 on Adler worked for China's Central External Liaison Department, an agency involved in foreign espionage.[13]. Adler's apartment in Beijing was also provided to Adler by the Liaison Department, which would indicate that the Department was Adler's work unit.[14]

Solomon_Adler Solomon_Adler
Old May 4th, 2011 #31
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

Leopold Trepper

Leopold Trepper (February 23, 1904 - January 19, 1982) was an organizer of the Soviet spy ring Rote Kapelle (Red Orchestra) prior to and during World War II.

Leopold Trepper was born to a Jewish family on February 23, 1904, in Nowy Targ, Poland (part of Austria-Hungary in that time). His family moved to Vienna, Austria, when he was child. After the October Revolution he joined the Bolsheviks and worked in the Galician mines. In 1923, he organized a strike in Kraków and was imprisoned for eight months.

Trepper moved from Poland to Palestine in 1924 as a member of the Zionist socialist movement Hashomer Hatzair. He joined the Palestine Communist Party and worked against the British forces in Palestine. He was identified as a communist agent and expelled in 1929. He went to France and worked for an underground political organization called Rabcors until French intelligence broke it up in 1932.

Trepper escaped to Moscow and worked as a GRU agent for the next six years, traveling between Moscow and Paris. He escaped the Stalinist purges with support from Soviet military intelligence, one of the few forces still relatively immune from Stalin's influence and where the influence of old Bolsheviks remained strong.

In 1938, Trepper was sent to organize and coordinate an intelligence network in Nazi-occupied Europe, based in Belgium. The Nazis named it the Red Orchestra (Die Rote Kapelle). Prior to the German attack on the Soviet Union, he sent information about German troop transfers from other fronts for Operation Barbarossa through a Soviet military attaché in Vichy France. Eventually, the Gestapo uncovered the network and Trepper fled to France.

In France, Trepper established another network, but eventually the Abwehr tracked him down. They arrested Trepper on November 16, 1942 from a dentist's chair.[citation needed] The Gestapo did not force him to betray most of his contacts, but treated him leniently in an attempt to make him a double agent in Paris, but the GRU eventually figured out that he had been turned because Trepper managed to inform them by secret hints within his communications.

Eventually in 1943, Trepper escaped and went underground. He emerged with the French Resistance after the liberation of Paris. He later claimed that he had contacted the French communist resistance during his imprisonment by Germans.

The Soviets took him to Russia but instead of rewarding him, they locked him up in Lubyanka prison. He vigorously defended his position and avoided execution for unknown reasons, but remained in prison until 1955. Before that, he was personally interrogated by NKVD chief Viktor Abakumov. After his release, he returned to Poland to his wife and three sons. He became a head of the Jewish Cultural Society.

After the Six Day War, anti-semitism increased in Poland and Trepper decided to try to immigrate to Israel. Initially, the Polish government refused permission until international protests forced Poland to allow a number of Jews to leave for Israel. He settled in Jerusalem in 1974. In 1975, he published his autobiography, The Great Game. A few years before, a book about the Red Orchestra containing interviews with both Soviets and Nazis had appeared, written by Gilles Perrault.

Leopold Trepper died - a convinced communist revolutionary - in Jerusalem in 1982. His funeral was attended by the highest echelons of the Israeli army, including Defence Minister Ariel Sharon.

In the epilogue to The Great Game, Trepper wrote,

I do not regret the commitment of my youth, I do not regret the paths I have taken. In Denmark, in the fall of 1973, a young man asked me in a public meeting, "Haven't you sacrificed you life for nothing?" I replied, "No." "No" on one condition: that people understand the lesson of my life as a communist and a revolutionary, and do not turn themselves over to a deified party.

Leopold_Trepper Leopold_Trepper
Old May 4th, 2011 #32
Mike Parker
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Golos, Jacob (1889-1943)

A Russian revolutionary, a founding member of the CPUSA and member of its inner circle and a long-time agent of Soviet intelligence, whose cover name was “Sound,” or “Zvuk” in Russian; his assumed name, Golos, means “voice.”

Jacob Golos was born on April 24, 1889 in Ekaterinoslavl (now Dnepropetrovsk), in a working-class Jewish family. His real name was Yakov [in English, Jacob] Reisen – the English transliteration of the name as it appears on the cover of his Soviet Communist party “transfer” file [Рейзен]. However, in the United States Golos’s real name is spelled as Raisin, as it appears in his American passport issued in October 1923. 1 The name of Jacob’s father was David Reisen, however, in the biographical forms, which Jacob Golos filled in Moscow in various years he gave his patronymics as Naumovich, Samoilovich and signed under the personal history he wrote in Moscow in 1926, oddly as S. Naumovich. 2 It is difficult to say when Jacob changed his name, Reisen, to Golos. His only son Milton (Dmitry) born in the USA in 1923, had the name Raisin in his birth certificate, however, since a very early age he remembered his father and himself as Golos. 3

Jacob had two more brothers and three sisters, but the family was not poor. Although Golos always indicated his “social origin” as “working class,” in Russia his father for some time worked as a shop-assistant [Russian, “prikazchik.”] Jacob studied at a city secondary school and since the age of 13, simultaneously worked at a print shop. After his graduation from school, he prepared himself for external examinations, which enabled him to graduate from gymnasium (a secondary and high school in pre-revolutionary Russia, which had a 5% admittance barrier for Jewish students.) 4

Golos joined the Russian revolutionary movement as a teenager, and became a member of the Russian Social-Democratic Party (RSDRP) in 1904. As he would later write in his personal history, he began to study Marxism in his underground organization and continued his studies in prison and in Siberian exile. He took an active part in the first Russian revolution of 1905-1907 and was a member of the first “Soviet” [“Sovet”] of working and soldier deputies in his native city. In December 1905, the general strike in Ekaterinoslavl erupted into an armed uprising, which was defeated by the end of that month. In 1906, Jacob organized an underground print shop in which he was arrested in the last days of the same year. He was tried by court martial and sentenced to eight years of hard labor, which was changed to a perennial exile to Yakutia, in the Far North; however, he managed to settle near Zhigalovo railway station on the Lena River. After about two years, the party helped Jacob to escape. From Siberia, he made his way to Japan and later to China, where he spent about two years. 5

In 1909 Jacob came to San Francisco, where he found work as a pressman and in 1917-1919 also as a fruit packer. He soon joined a Socialist Russian club and later initiated an organization to assist Russian political prisoners. Around 1912, most of Jacob’s family members immigrated to the USA and settled in the Bronx borough of New York. Jacob joined the Socialist Party of America in 1915 (in the above cited personal history he wrote that he “transferred from the RSDRP”) and became active in its left wing. In the same year he became a naturalized citizen. According to his own description, in the Socialist Party he “held important positions and took an active part in the organization of the Communist Party of America.” 6 From 1917 to 1919, Golos lived in California, where he worked for fruit picking and packing firms – and served as a functionary of the California regional committee of the Socialist Party. In September 1919, at the charter convention of the future Communist Party in Chicago, he represented California, thus becoming the founding member of the American Communist Party (which later became CPUSA), and “since then attended almost all party conventions.” 7

Jacob moved to New York, where he worked at a print shop. In the fall of 1948, the FBI New York Office would find among Golos’s personal effects his membership card in New York Printing Pressmen’s Union dated 1920 and issued to Joe N. Raisin. 8 He also joined the Russian Section of the party district organization. From 1919 to 1925, according to his own description, Golos served as a member of the section’s central committee, took part in the work of several Russian party publications and was a member of the party regional organization. In 1921-1922, Jacob worked at the party’s Chicago headquarters as a regional organizer and in other capacities. In 1922-1923, he worked in the same capacities in the party organization in the state of Michigan. Since 1922 or 1923, he became a full-time party functionary. In his personal history written in Moscow in 1926, Golos indicated that he had an “education at a party school abroad,” probably, meaning some party training in early 1920s. 9

In 1923, on party orders, Golos returned to New York where he became Communist party’s section organizer and an organizer of party cells. But more importantly, the party appointed him as secretary of the Central Bureau of the Society for Technical Aid to Soviet Russia, which was organized in May 1919 on the basis of the engineering department [“Techotdel”] of the so-called Martens Bureau, an unofficial mission of Soviet Russia in the USA in 1919-1920 headed by a Russian émigré, revolutionary and engineer, Ludwig Martens. (The mission’s engineering department was headed by another Russian émigré and engineer, Arthur Adams, who among other things began registering American workers and engineers who might be willing to go to Russia.) 10

By that time, Jacob Reisen was already using the name Golos, which appears among two more names under a “Message of Greetings to Soviet Russia” sent to Moscow by the Society’s second convention. 11 By 1923, the Society had affiliates in 58 cities with a few thousand members. It had already sent to Russia several agricultural communes, two communes of construction workers and one of miners, as well as several groups of highly qualified workers and experts, who brought along tractors and other equipment, as well as badly needed seeds and food. American workers and engineers helped to organize the First Moscow Electrical Engineering Factory, Moscow Tool Factory, Moscow Garment Factory No 36 named after the Third International (commonly known as Comintern) and other enterprises.

In 1926, Golos’s services were requested for one of the largest of such international undertakings, known as the Autonomous Industrial Colony “Kuzbass” [AIC “Kuzbass”], established in late 1921 in the Kuznetsky coalfield region to use foreign machinery and advanced technologies for an accelerated reconstruction of Russian economy. In early 1926, its founder and director, Sebald J. Rutgers, a Dutch engineer and Marxist, invited Golos to AIC “Kuzbass” as its business manager to help mend the rapidly deteriorating relations with the Soviet entrenching bureaucracy. Following the decisions by the Central Committees of the VCP (b), CPUSA and Comintern, in late April, 1926 Golos left New York for Moscow, accompanied by his wife Celia and their little son. On May 15 Golos began work as business manager of “Kuzbass.” 12 Golos worked at “Kuzbass” for almost a year. That was the final period of its existence: “the little Siberian international”, as it was called by Rutgers, did not fit in with the concept of forced industrialization of the country planned by Stalin.

Following the de facto liquidation of “Kuzbass” in 1927, Golos returned to Moscow, where he was offered managerial work at one of Moscow publishing houses. There is no documentation in support of an account by Golos’s biographer, writer Theodore Gladkov, that in that period the OGPU got interested in his organizational talents and somehow facilitated his return to New York. Anyway, in September 1928, Jay Lovestone, the secretary of the CPUSA, sent a letter to the VCP (b) Central Committee with a request “to detach Comrade Golos in the disposal of the Central Committee for party work in America.” For some reason, the Soviets procrastinated with their decision until late December, when the Central Committee of the CPUSA requested from the Central Committee of VCP (b) “to expedite” the return of Golos. This time, according to the notation on the Russian translation of the CPUSA request, the “exit permit” was immediately granted. 13

Golos returned to New York in 1929 and settled with his family in the Bronx borough of New York City. He resumed his work at the party’s Russian section and became business manager (or an office manager by another description) of its “Novi Mir” magazine. 14 In the spring of 1930, Golos became part of the party’s “machinery for investigations” that was being organized at the time with the responsibility over investigating a number of labor unions, including Textile and Marine Workers, as well as ICOR and World Tourists Inc. (a tourist agency established in 1927 with CPUSA funds.) 15 In the end of the year, Golos also became member of the party’s Anti-Militarist Committee. 16

In the same year, Golos’s name appeared for the first time in the operational documents of the INO OGPU. According to the account of Golos’s life based on the reading of his case file by the KGB foreign intelligence veteran, Major-General Julius Kobyakov, at that time Golos was already referred to as “our reliable man in the USA.”

According to Alexander Vassiliev notes, Golos’s initial contact with the Soviet intelligence was “the Soviet ‘illegal’ Chivin (‘Smith’) who was a station chief of the OGPU special operations group headed by Jacob Serebryansky and ultimately had not returned to the USSR.” 17 The trouble is that according to the available information, Serebraynsky “got down to building an independent agent network in various countries of the world for sabotage operations in case of war,” only since mid-1930s; with this purpose, he arrived in the USA in 1932. However, “the OGPU special operations group headed by Jacob Serebryansky” known in Russia under its official abbreviation, SGON, was organized only on June 13, 1934 as part of NKVD and not of OGPU – followed by the organization of “independent stations in 12 major countries of Europe, Asia and America.” 18

Alternatively, Kobyakov described an intelligence officer “who established the first operational contact with Golos” as an “illegal,” who periodically visited the USA “to establish illegal communication channels, documentation and covers for illegal agents.” Kobyakov did not identify the “illegal” whom he called “Gardi,” however, the above cited particulars fit in with the description of Abram [Abraham] Ossipovich Einhorn (also known under his operational pseudonym, “Taras”, the Soviet spymaster, who worked in the USA from 1930 to 1934 under an alias of a businessman), which is provided in the second volume of the semi-official history of the Russian foreign intelligence. Particularly, Einhorn is credited with “establishing a regular communication line with America (live, illegal)” and obtaining “American and Canadian documents … for our illegal intelligence.” The latter description also mentioned Einhorn’s trips to China and Japan during the period of his work in the USA. 19

In 2005, Einhorn was firmly identified as Golos’s initial Soviet intelligence contact by Golos’s Russian biographer, Teodor [Theodore] Gladkov (however, without an indication of his sources.) By Gladkov’s account, Einhorn approached Golos in the spring of 1930 by producing the material password that was arranged with Golos in Moscow – an envelope with a blue tie with white polka dots, which Golos “had left behind” at the Moscow National Hotel. According to Gladkov’s account, Einhorn “not only established the first contact with Golos – but brought an important assignment from the Center. Documents! The INO needed authentic American documents, primarily passports for foreign travel.” 20

Vassiliev sourced the story of Golos’s recruitment by a “Smith”/”Chivin” to an NKVD reference dated January 26, 1937. Likely, that was an ex post facto substitute for the name of the real recruiter, Einhorn, to save Golos from charges of association with the “enemy of the people”: as of the date of this reference, Einhorn was already under the NKVD investigation to be arrested in less than two months. According to KGB veteran, Colonel Igor Damaskin, that was a trick used at the time by some of the Center’s operatives to save valuable agents. Damaskin cited the case file of Kitty Harris, another agent recruited by Einhorn in early 1930s: someone had made a notation: “By whom [she was] recruited – unknown.” 21

Pretty soon, Golos managed to establish a continuous supply of authentic American naturalization papers and birth certificates to obtain US passports for legalization of Soviet illegal operatives primarily in Europe and Asia, but later in both Northern and Southern America. However, “operational relationships with Golos” were finally documented only in January 1933 by a report submitted to Arthur Artuzov, the head of the INO. 22

By that time, Golos was heading the above mentioned World Tourist with an office in the landmark “Flatiron” building, which he turned into a rather successful business enterprise of a special kind. Under Golos’s management, World Tourists continued its original business of sending delegations and individuals to the USSR to attend various Comintern events and as tourists. Golos-run business enterprise supplied money to fund some of the CPUSA activities. It provided American documentation for CPUSA and Comintern functionaries to ensure their safe travel across the countries and continents.

Gradually, Golos’s cooperation with the Soviet intelligence expanded to include spotting promising information sources, many of whom for years would stay under the delusion that they were providing information for the CPUSA and the Comintern. In late 1934, Golos met his new Soviet contact – Dr. Rabinovich, who arrived in the USA in September of that year as a representative to the Red Cross and, simultaneously, as the INO’s operative with the operational cover name “Luch” (“Beam”). The latter’s functions were reportedly limited to receiving information from Golos and transferring the Center’s wish lists. The contact with Rabinovich (who appears under his second operational pseudonym, “Harry”, used since 1937, both in Julius Kobyakov’s account of Golos’s file and in Alexander Vassiliev’s notes on apparently the same file. 23

Since 1932, in his capacity as the manager of World Tourist, Golos visited the Soviet Union almost every year, as a rule, for the celebration of the anniversaries of the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917. In the summer of 1936 he moved his wife, Celia, and son, Milton, to Moscow, explaining it by his desire to give his son “a good Soviet education.” In 1937, Celia and Milton (whose name was changed to Dmitry) entered into the Soviet citizenship. Now alone in New York, Golos moved out from his Bronx apartment to a hotel in Manhattan, and moved part of his archive to his sister’s home. That archive would be discovered by the FBI in October, 1948. 24

In November of 1937, Golos came to Moscow to take part in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. In Moscow, he was invited to the INO headquarters, where he met its head, Abram Slutsky, with whom he discussed the situation in the USA and the prospects for further work. 25

After the break of the Civil War in Spain, Golos got involved into sending American volunteers to Spain. Considerable part of American volunteers received their travel documents through Golos’s firm, World Tourists, Inc. Many of them were travelling under assumed names with documents provided by Golos. Among them was a young man named Morris Cohen, who sailed to Spain with the passport in the name of Israel Altman. In Spain, Morris would be recruited into the Soviet intelligence – among a few more American volunteers, who were likely spotted by Golos. 26

By that time, Golos had turned into an indispensable asset of the INO’s New York station – through his increasing involvement in the work on the Trotskyites, in spotting and/or recruitment of new important sources of information and finding reliable Communists for technical work at the station. Among other things, in Alexander Vassiliev’s notes on Golos’s case file, he is credited with taking part in the involvement of a source “Maurice” at the Department of Justice, and in finding ‘Knocker’ (later ‘X’) who became the most devoted agent of the Soviet intelligence. 27 Golos was also responsible for maintaining a permanent political link to the CPUSA. According to Peter Gutzeit, the INO “legal” station chief in the USA from 1934 to 1938, “when the station needed reliable and devoted people, we turned to ‘Zvuk,’ and he selected the necessary people. There have not been any failures during all the years of our contact with him. There have never been any suspicions or doubts in his respect.. … ‘Zvuk’ has not received any payment from us. However, when due to financial difficulties, he turned unable to pay salaries to his associates, on leaving the USA I left an instruction to give him 100-150 dollars a month.” Gutzeit wrote this reference in an NKVD prison cell. 28

By that time the INO had learned about the FBI interest in Golos’s activities. The Soviets faced a dilemma: Golos was their most important asset in the United States – and, simultaneously, a potential weak link in the whole chain. At the time, the INO head resolved, “Although, in general, we avoid people who are actively working in the [Communist] party, but since we have been in contact with Golos for a long time, we can use him with care.” For NKVD that meant suspicion, investigations – and more references filed in Golos’s case file. In 1990s, while studying Golos’s file, KGB foreign intelligence veteran Julius Kobyakov discovered a reference dated January 1937, signed by a GB Captain, Tomchin, describing Golos as a “foreign agent.” In April, 1938 a GB Lieutenant, named Raissa Sobol, added a notation, “The source ‘Zvuk’ was known to the following individuals, whom by this time we have arrested: Samsonov, Tomchin, Karin, Lebedinsky, Livent-Levint, Berlin.” In a few months this list would be rewritten in another handwriting, which added the name of Sobol herself. Later, another GB Lieutenant, named Pshenichnyi, would write, “the enemies of the people, Passov, Schpiegelglass, Grafpen, Kaminsky, Sobol, Gutzeit were interested in ‘Zvuk’.” 29 By that time, most of the operations in the United States were suspended and the sources put on ice: the shock wave of purges had left almost no operatives in the field.

In October 1939, the FBI made a search in the office of World Tourists, which ascertained its violation of the so-called Voorhis Act on registration of foreign agents. The Center panicked and suggested that Golos should flee to the Soviet Union, but the Central Committee of the CPUSA decided that Golos had to face the court and plead guilty – to save the party from more trouble. In Moscow, the trial was a high priority: on March 5, 1940 the NKVD head, Lavrenty Beria reported to Stalin, Molotov and Voroshilov on the World Tourist trial, which was to open in New York. Golos pleaded guilty, and in March 1940 was sentenced to a $1,000 fine and 4 to 12 months imprisonment and put on probation. 30

Around that time, the Center, where the places of seasoned operatives who had perished in purges of 1937-1938, were being taken by a crop of young recruits, faced the difficult task of picking up pieces. For some of them, understanding the situation with Golos turned an impossible task. One of these operatives resolved that Golos was “a hidden Menshevik and Trotskyite, who had joined the Communist Party to disintegrate it from within.” Another one found Golos guilty of being “developed” by the FBI. Two young operatives insisted that Golos had to be immediately isolated from the Soviet operations, summoned to the USSR and arrested. 31 The attempts to lure Golos to Moscow continued through the first half of 1940, and only by early 1941 an opinion that Golos was not an enemy of the Soviet people had prevailed.

By 1943, Golos had developed a huge network of Communist information sources, most of whom had no idea that the information they were providing was going any further than to Earl Browder, the head of the CPUSA. Beginning in 1942, Soviet operatives tried to identify Golos’s sources, split his network into several groups and put these groups in direct contact with Soviet operatives. However, despite pressure on the part of Moscow, Golos resisted this transfer of power, and it was not completed until his sudden death in late November 1943. Just before he died, Golos was nominated for the Red Star Order award. The award was cancelled with his death.
Old May 4th, 2011 #33
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker
Default Deadly Illusions: The KGB Orlov Dossier Reveals Stalin's Master Spy (9780517588505): Oleg Tsarev: Books Deadly Illusions: The KGB Orlov Dossier Reveals Stalin's Master Spy (9780517588505): Oleg Tsarev: Books

From Publishers Weekly

Soviet master spy Alexander Orlov (1895-1973), who defected to the U.S. in 1952 to denounce Stalin's crimes, was eulogized in the U.S. Senate for helping America fight the Cold War. But this astonishing report--an unprecedented collaboration between British historian Costello and former KGB officer Tsarev, press consultant to the Russian Intelligence Service--persuasively argues that Orlov played a game of wits with the CIA and FBI, feeding them half-truths and trivialities while concealing the identities of former colleagues and Soviet agents he had recruited. Using a trove of declassified Russian intelligence files and FBI and CIA documents, the authors establish that Orlov masterminded the notorious Cambridge spy ring and the recruitment of British moles Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. They also reveal that KGB agents held secret meetings with Orlov in 1969 and 1971, inviting him to return to Moscow as a hero. This newsworthy book reads like a spy thriller. Photos.

From Kirkus Reviews

An absorbing and persuasive argument that a celebrated Soviet turncoat duped the US when it gave him shelter from his stormy past. Drawing on still-secret KGB archives, Costello (Ten Days to Destiny, 1991, etc.) and Tsarev (a former Soviet state-security officer) relate the tale of Alexander Orlov, one of the highest- ranking operatives ever to defect from the USSR. A Byelorussian Jew, Orlov caught the attention of Feliks Dzerzhinsky (founder of the Soviet secret police) for his guerrilla activities during and after WW I. Orlov proved a natural spy and, according to his 17- volume Kremlin file, played a leading role in the creation of the UK's Cambridge network (Kim Philby et al.) as well as the Berlin section of the ``Red Orchestra,'' a band of underground agents whose feats helped determine the course of WW II and, early on, its cold war aftermath. Having run afoul of Stalin, however, Orlov fled Spain (where he had been posted as Rezidentura) in 1938 to escape assassination. Finding a safe haven in the US, he made a splash during the early 1950's with a sensational book on Stalin's crimes. Though he subsequently slipped out of the limelight, Orlov was reckoned a splendid catch by the intelligence officials and lawmakers who constantly debriefed him. But as Costello and Tsarev make clear, the former spy was more refugee than apostate, never betraying, for example, any of the 60-odd moles of whom he had personal knowledge--knowledge that kept KGB hit men at bay. On the evidence of his dossier, moreover, Orlov was considered a hero of the Soviet Union well before his death in 1973. Nor was he held in less esteem by America's establishment, which eulogized him in the Congressional Record. The stranger-than-fiction account of a master spy who lived to a ripe old age by playing both ends against the middle. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs)
Old May 5th, 2011 #34
Mike Parker
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Ethel Rosenberg
1915 – 1953

Ethel Rosenberg’s Jewish identity was forged not by any ties to traditional Judaism but by her political radicalism. Indeed, when she and her husband, Julius, were charged with espionage, attempts were made by their fellow "leftists" to link their prosecution with antisemitism. But the established Jewish community, fearing any association with Jewish radicalism, rejected this charge. The couple was convicted on March 29, 1951, and sentenced to death, the only two American civilians to be executed for espionage-related activity during the Cold War.

by Lisa Kogen

Few Jewish American women evoke as varied and passionate a response as Ethel Rosenberg. To some she was an arch-villain, to others a crass ideologue, and yet to others a hapless victim. Convicted and executed on June 19, 1953, with her husband Julius Rosenberg, for conspiracy to divulge atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, Rosenberg was only the second woman in the United States to be executed by the federal government.

The trial and execution of the Rosenbergs was a direct outgrowth of the political and social climate of the early 1950s. The increasing hostility and hysterics of Cold War politics assumed its most virulent form in the anticommunist witch-hunts of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Subcommittee on Investigations. Jews from various walks of life were particularly targeted because of their disproportionately large affiliation and/or sympathies with leftist politics during the 1930s and 1940s. The Jewish establishment’s fear of anti-Semitic backlash in the wake of anticommunist sentiment resulted in a further distancing between itself and the accused. And finally, the escalating casualties in the Korean War created a highly charged political atmosphere of distrust and obsessive fear of communism, and the need to ascribe blame for post-war gains by the communist bloc.

When conferring the death penalty on the Rosenbergs, Judge Irving Kaufman described the defendants crime as worse than murder ... causing the communist aggression in Korea with resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but what that [sic] millions more, innocent people may pay the price of your treason....

Esther Ethel (Greenglass) Rosenberg was born on September 28, 1915, in the squalor and poverty of New York’s Lower East Side, the first-born child of Barney and Tessie (Feit) Greenglass. The two-room, cold-water tenement apartment where they lived with Barney Greenglass’s eight-year-old son, Sammy, from his first marriage was located at 64 Sheriff Street, half a block from the Williamsburg Bridge. Barney Greenglass, an immigrant from Russia, had a sewing machine repair shop in the front room of their apartment. Tessie Greenglass, according to Rosenberg’s biographer Ilene Philipson, was a dour, embittered woman who inexplicably resented her only daughter. Ethel would maintain a troubled and conflict-ridden relationship with her mother throughout her life. Two other brothers, Bernard and David, followed, two and a half and six years younger than Ethel, respectively.

Ethel attended neighborhood schools, proving a more diligent and successful student than her brothers. At Seward Park High School, although shy and often reticent, she showed early promise as an actor, and starred in several school theatrical productions by the time of her graduation in 1931. With her eyes on broader horizons than the Lower East Side, she opted for all college preparatory courses rather than the secretarial curriculum of most of the other female students.

However, when she graduated from high school at the beginning of the Depression, she decided to go to work to assist with family expenses. She nevertheless maintained her theater activities with the experimental theater at the Clark Settlement House. During this time, she also began studying music seriously and was eventually invited to join the prestigious Schola Cantorum, which sometimes performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House. Through the end of 1931, she was intent upon making a career for herself in music or theater. Radical politics, although widespread and eagerly embraced by Jews in New York City, were not part of the Greenglass family’s world.

Ethel’s introduction to leftist radicalism came with her first job at the National New York Packing and Shipping Company, located at West 36th Street. She held this job for three and a half years, and the experience introduced her, for the first time, to non-Jews, underpaid and exploited workers, union organizers, and active members of the Communist Party. She soon found coworkers who shared her love of music and theater, with whom she spent her evenings, and her days were filled with discussion of radical political philosophy. She discovered herself to be in sympathy with the party’s ideological opposition to fascism, racism, and antisemitism, its support of unionism, and its idealization of the Soviet experiment. In the early 1930s, many American radicals still viewed Stalinist Russia as a noble and successful attempt to improve government. Jewish disillusionment would come only with the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 1939 and with news of Stalinist anti-Semitic purges.

In August 1935, the workers of the Shipping Clerk’s Union called a general strike. Ethel was the only woman on the four-person strike committee. At the conclusion of the strike, she and the other leaders of the strike committee were fired. They appealed to the newly formed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and were subsequently vindicated by the NLRB for their union activities.

Still hoping for a career in singing and theater, she focused her energies on entertaining at Popular Front activities. These included public demonstrations that supported relief for the needy, union organizations, and antifascist forces in the Spanish Civil War. In December 1936, while singing for a Seaman’s Union benefit, Ethel was introduced to Julius Rosenberg, the man who would soon become her husband and change the course of her life.

Julius Rosenberg, also the son of immigrant parents, was an engineering student at City College and an ardent communist. As a child growing up on the Lower East Side, he zealously embraced Judaism and wanted to study for the rabbinate. While a student at City College, which was a hotbed of radical Jewish politics, Julius eagerly exchanged his religious fervor for political zealotry.

Julius and Ethel married on June 18, 1939. They had two sons, Michael in 1943 and Robert in 1947. During the early years of their marriage, they lived in an apartment in the Knickerbocker Village on the Lower East Side. Julius Rosenberg worked first as a civilian for the United States Signal Corps and later for Emerson Radio and Phonographic Company. While he continued his communist activities, including recruitment of coworkers, Ethel Rosenberg committed herself wholeheartedly to raising her two small children, abandoning all interest in politics and the theater.

The sequence of events leading to the arrest of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg began, like falling dominoes, with the arrest in February 1950 of Klaus Fuchs, a German-born physicist who had worked on the Manhattan Project and was then residing in England. Fuchs named his American courier, Raymond Harry Gold, who in turn identified his unnamed contact in Albuquerque as a young, dark-haired machinist working at Los Alamos. This young machinist was David Greenglass, Ethel Rosenberg’s youngest brother.

David Greenglass’s wife, Ruth, was also implicated by Gold. To ensure his wife’s immunity from imprisonment, Greenglass led the FBI to his brother-in-law Julius Rosenberg. Julius Rosenberg was arrested on June 16, 1950, and on July 17 Ethel Rosenberg was arrested by the FBI, never to return home.

It is well documented that the government’s case against Ethel Rosenberg was tenuous, and recently decoded KGB documents confirm that her role in an espionage network was negligible at best. Analysts of the case now agree that Ethel Rosenberg was arrested in order to force her husband to continue the chain of disclosures. Julius Rosenberg’s refusal forced the government’s hand, and Ethel Rosenberg assumed her husband’s posture of maintaining their innocence and refused to admit any knowledge of espionage activities. At a February 1951 meeting of the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, United States attorney Myles Lane stated: The case is not strong against Mrs. Rosenberg. But for the purpose of acting as a deterrent, I think it is very important that she be convicted, too, and given a stiff sentence.

The high-profile case began in March 1951 in the district court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. To ensure that the trial would not be delegitimized as an anti-Semitic charade, all of the government’s players, Judge Irving Kaufman, and the prosecutors Irving Saypol and Roy Cohn were Jewish. Both Saypol and Cohn would prove themselves to be loyal American Jews, earning reputations for successfully prosecuting communists. Of the twelve randomly selected jurors, however, not one was Jewish.

David Greenglass, the government’s key witness, did not hesitate to present very damaging testimony concerning his sister’s role in the transfer of Greenglass crudely drawn implosion-type lens design to a Soviet courier. Ethel Rosenberg’s own performance under cross-examination caused irreparable damage to her own defense. In addition to her frequent invocations of the Fifth Amendment, her cool, dispassionate responses to even her own brother’s accusations were interpreted as superciliousness and disdain for the proceedings. Her refusal to show emotion during the reading of the guilty verdict and the pronouncement of the death penalty only confirmed the belief of the government, press, and supporters of the verdict that she was a fanatical ideologue, emotionless, and devoid of womanly and maternal instincts. She was accused of being more committed to communist ideology than to her own children. Ethel Rosenberg’s refusal to accommodate gender convention and dissolve into a hysterical or weeping victim suggested to many, including President Dwight Eisenhower and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, that she was in fact the dominant force in the spy network. Cartoons and illustrations of the Rosenbergs often depicted the diminutive Ethel Rosenberg, barely reaching five feet in her high heels, as towering over her bespectacled, stoop-shouldered husband.

The Rosenbergs were moved to Sing Sing prison to await the appeals that their attorney, Emmanuel Bloch, filed. The United States Court of Appeals rejected the first appeal in February 1952. The United States Supreme Court turned down the subsequent application for writ of certiorari, although Justice Felix Frankfurter dissented on the grounds that the Rosenbergs were tried for conspiracy but sentenced for treason.

While the appeals were in progress, supporters of the Rosenbergs began to reach a wide audience in the court of public opinion. The National Committee to Secure Justice for the Rosenbergs was gaining momentum in the United States and abroad. While most of the pro-Rosenberg forces were leftist-leaning organizations, nonleftist support was beginning to question the excessive penalty.

The issue of antisemitism was a constant undercurrent during the trial and its aftermath. As support for the Rosenbergs rose within the ranks of leftist organizations, there were renewed attempts by the Rosenberg defenders to link antisemitism with the Rosenbergs prosecution. The established Jewish community, fearing that an association with Jewish radicalism might result in an anti-Semitic backlash, rejected this charge. Jewish leaders and intellectuals, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Civil Liberties Union, with its large Jewish membership, publicly endorsed the guilty verdict.

In a last-minute attempt to have the case heard again before the Supreme Court, Rosenberg attorneys presented enough new argumentation that Justice Douglas granted a stay of execution on the court’s last day before its summer recess. They were elated by the Douglas stay of execution, fully confident that over the summer the pro-Rosenberg momentum would be able to yield enough worldwide support for clemency. However, in a nearly unprecedented move, Chief Justice Fred Vinson reconvened the court to annul Justice Douglas’s stay. Massive rallies in Times Square, petitions, letters, marches, and a last-minute appeal to President Eisenhower by Michael Rosenberg could not forestall the government’s haste to execute the Rosenbergs. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed shortly after 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 18, 1953. Like her husband, Ethel Rosenberg died quietly, with dignity, and to her last breath maintained her innocence and love for her children.

Thousands of mourners came to honor Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, but not one of Ethel’s family came, including her mother, who never forgave her daughter for involving her younger brother David in her communist activities.

Ethel Rosenberg’s Jewish identity was forged not by her childhood ties to traditional Judaism but by her political radicalism. As was common with Jewish radicals, the abandonment of religious belief and affiliation was a necessary step in the assumption of a transcendent universalist ideology. The prison letters Rosenberg wrote suggest that, while she had an adequate understanding and appreciation of Jewish values and customs, she first and foremost saw herself as a martyr for political oppression.

Few legal cases in United States history have raised as many questions as the Rosenbergs. Regardless of questions concerning the guilt or innocence of the accused, legal scholars now agree that some of the actions on the part of government players, from ex-parte discussions between Judge Kaufman and the prosecution to Chief Justice Vinson’s politicizing of the final appeal, would today have seriously compromised the integrity of the government’s case.

At the end of the twentieth century, with the terrors of McCarthyism a distant historical nightmare, many Americans still believe that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were guilty because they were un-American. Others believe them guilty although the punishment did not fit the crime. And many believe even more strongly than before that they were the hapless victims of gross governmental misconduct.
Old May 5th, 2011 #35
Mike Parker
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Mike Parker

Silvermaster Spy Ring

Nathan Silvermaster was amongst the main players of a Communist spy ring operating within the United States and specifically within the Federal government. Silvermaster was born in Odessa, Russia in 1898 and lived in China for a while before moving to the United States where he attended the University of Washington, Seattle and then the University of California at Berkeley. He became a naturalized citizen in 1926 and was active in a number of communist organizations.

Silvermaster worked for the Farm Security Administration and then the Board of Economic Warfare in 1942. Objections were raised to his being assigned to the second position because of concerns over him being a security risk because of his suspected communist affiliation.

In July 1942, the U.S. Civil Service Commision recommended "Cancel eligibilities... and bar him for the remainder of the National Emergency" (World War II). Silvermaster vehemently denied any communist affiliation and appealed the commission's recommendation to the Under Secretary of War, Robert Patterson. White House advisor Lauchlin Currie and Harry White, the Assitant to the Secretary of the Treasury intervened on Silvermaster's behalf. White contacted Patterson directl,y telling him that the allegations against Silvermaster were baseless and Currie personally phoned Patterson, urging a reconsideration of the matter (the Venona intercepts would later make clear that both White and Currie were active Soviet agents). Silvermaster also had the support of his supervisor, Calvin Baldwin, the head of the Farm Security Administration, who, while not a spy, was a secret Communist. Patterson, relying on these recommendations, overruled the commission and allowed Silvermaster to join the Board of Economic Warfare. In 1942, he became an economist for the War Production Board and was able to pass significant quantities of information related to war production of weaponry , machinery and arms.

The ring is called the Silvermaster Spy Ring based on the FBI's Silvermaster file. The file was compiled after former Soviet-agent Elizabeth Bentley began providing evidence to the FBI. She designated Silvermaster as the most significant Washington contact that she had. The ring was really a network of spies working within the high echelons of the United States Federal government. While not reporting to or operating under the head of the ring, they passed along information gained through the access gained through their individual positions. Most were employed by the Department of Treasury, but other worked in the Commerce Department, the Office of Strategic Services, the Army Air Force and the White House. Of the number of cables intercepting in the Verona intercept, 1% of them related to the Silvermaster ring.

The FBI had planned to turn Bentley and use her as a double-agent in order to obtain further information that could be used to arrest the spies without having to reveal the existence of the Venona cable. Unfortunately, it was inadvertently leaked that Bentley was talking to the FBI. Instead, the FBI began developing a picture of the network based on Bentley's contacts with dozens of government officials and following the trail of links between them. The links and list of contacts were compiled over three years and became known as the Silvermaster file.

Among prominent members of the ring were White (who would later serve as the head of the International Monetary Fund), Currie, Solomon Adler, Norman Bursler, Frank Coe, Bela Gold, Sonia Gold, Irving Kaplan, George Silverman, William Henry Taylor, William Ullman, and Anatole Boris Volkov.

Nathan Gregory Silvermaster

Nathan Gregory Silvermaster (November 27, 1898 – October 7, 1964), an economist with the United States War Production Board (WPB) during World War II, was the head of a large ring of Communist spies in the U.S. government.[1] It is from him that the FBI Silvermaster File [2], documenting the Bureau's investigation into Communist penetration of the Federal government during the Cold War, takes its name. His wife, Helen and stepson, Anatole Volkov, were members of his ring.

He was identified as a Soviet agent in the WPB operating under the code names Pel[3], Pal, “Paul”[4] in the Venona decrypts; and as “Robert” both in Venona[5] and independently by defecting Soviet intelligence courier Elizabeth Bentley.[6]

Early years

Silvermaster was born of a Jewish family in Odessa, Russia (present-day Odessa, Ukraine) in 1898. He moved with his family to China, where he learned to speak perfect English with a British accent. He emigrated to the United States and earned his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle (where he was “stated to be a known Communist”) and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where his thesis was entitled Lenin’s Economic Thought Prior to the October Revolution. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1926. He was reported to be in contact with a very large number of Communist Party USA officials, and was active in a number of Communist front groups.[7]


While nominally remaining on the employment rolls of the Farm Security Administration, Silvermaster arranged in 1942 to be detailed to the Board of Economic Warfare. The transfer, however, triggered objections from military counter-intelligence who suspected he was a hidden Communist and regarded him as a security risk. On July 16, 1942 the U.S. Civil Service Commission recommended "Cancel eligibilities ... and bar him for the duration of the National Emergency."[citation needed]


Silvermaster denied any Communist links and appealed to Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson to overrule the security officials. Both White House advisor Lauchlin Currie (identified in Venona as the Soviet agent operating under the cover name “Page”[8]) and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White (identified in Venona as the Soviet agent operating under the cover names “Lawyer”[9]; “Jurist”[8]; “Richard”[10]) intervened on his behalf. Silvermaster subsequently received two promotions and pay raises.

War Production Board

At the War Production Board, Silvermaster was able to provide the Soviet Union with a large amount of data on arms, aircraft, and shipping production. In June 1943, Silvermaster sent a War Production Board report on arms production in the United States, including bombers, pursuit planes, tanks, propelled guns, howitzers, radar and submarines, sub chasers, and the like, to Soviet intelligence.[11] Then, in December 1944, the New York MGB[12] office cabled another Silvermaster report stating: "(Silvermaster) has sent us a 50-page Top Secret War Production Board report ... on arms production in the U.S."[13]

Silvermaster was associated with Harry Dexter White at the Bretton Woods conference, and his testimony before the US Senate Internal Security Subcommittee covers "175 pages of interrogation and exhibits" regarding his espionage activities in the U.S.[citation needed]


He died on October 7, 1964, aged 65, possibly in Harvey Cedars, New Jersey.[14][15]


August 1935 to November 1938 Farm Security Administration
November 1938 to July 1940 Maritime Labor Board
July 1940 to December 1944 U.S. Department of Agriculture
1942 to 1945 U.S. Department of Treasury
mid 1945 Reconstruction Finance Corporation (became the War Assets Corporation)
March 1946 resigned from government

Silvermaster group

The Silvermaster spy ring operated primarily in the Department of the Treasury but also had contacts in the Army Air Force and in the White House. Sixty-one of the Venona cables concern the activities of the Silvermaster spy ring. This represents 1% of the total (approx 6,000 cables) and 3% of the (2,000) translated/partially translated VENONA cables.

Nathan Gregory Silvermaster, Chief Planning Technician, Procurement Division, United States Department of the Treasury; Chief Economist, War Assets Administration; Director of the Labor Division, Farm Security Administration; Board of Economic Warfare; Reconstruction Finance Corporation Department of Commerce
Helen Silvermaster, wife
Anatole Boris Volkov, stepson
Solomon Adler aka Schlomer Adler, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Norman Chandler Bursler, United States Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division
Frank Coe, Assistant Director, Division of Monetary Research, Treasury Department; Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador in London; Assistant to the Executive Director, Board of Economic Warfare; Assistant Administrator, Foreign Economic Administration
Lauchlin Currie, Administrative Assistant to President Roosevelt; Deputy Administrator of Foreign Economic Administration; Special Representative to China
Bela Gold, Assistant Head of Program Surveys, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, United States Department of Agriculture; Senate Subcommittee on War Mobilization; Office of Economic Programs in Foreign Economic Administration
Sonia Steinman Gold, Division of Monetary Research U.S. Treasury Department; U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Interstate Migration; U.S. Bureau of Employment Security
Irving Kaplan, Foreign Funds Control and Division of Monetary Research, United States Department of the Treasury Foreign Economic Administration; chief advisor to the Military Government of Germany
George Silverman, civilian Chief Production Specialist, Material Division, Army Air Force Air Staff, War Department, Pentagon
William Henry Taylor, Assistant Director of the Middle East Division of Monetary Research, United States Department of Treasury
William "Lud" Ullman, delegate to United Nations Charter meeting and Bretton Woods conference; Division of Monetary Research, Department of Treasury; Material and Services Division, Air Corps Headquarters, Pentagon
Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; Head of the International Monetary Fund

Nathan_Gregory_Silvermaster Nathan_Gregory_Silvermaster
Old May 6th, 2011 #36
Mike Parker
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,311
Mike Parker

No Foreign Dissem

The head of a famous Soviet wartime spy net now collects geographic intelligence in Budapest.


Louis Thomas1

Part I
Highlights of a Remarkable Career

Alexander (Sandor) Rado, Alexander Foote's chief in the Swiss-based "Rote Drei" net that in 1941-43 supplied Moscow with detailed information on German order of battle, now plays a leading role in Soviet Bloc mapping programs and has shown exceptional zeal in collecting geographic intelligence on the West. His activity in intelligence, mapping, and related fields has lasted nearly 50 years and may earn him a place in the pantheon of major intelligence figures of the times.2

Rado was born in Ujpest, Hungary, in 1899 of wealthy Jewish parents. While a student, reportedly a brilliant one, at the Budapest gymnasium he joined a socialist group whose members included Matyas Rakosi and Erno Gero. He became one of the first members of the Hungarian Communist Party when it was formed in November 1918. He took an active part in the Bela Kun uprising, 1918-1919, serving as political commissar in Ferenc Munnich's division. Forced to leave Hungary when the short-lived Communist government was ousted in 1919, he went to Austria and later to Germany.

Geographer in Germany

In the fall of 1919 Rado started academic work at the University of Jena, changing his field of study from law to geography and cartography. Continuing his Communist activities, he was in touch with Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, founders of the German Communist movement. Through the influence of German and Hungarian friends he was brought to Moscow at the end of 1919 to work in the Secretariat of the Comintern. He performed well and enjoyed the sponsorship of several leaders, among them Comintern president Zinoviev. At age 20 or 21 he was made director of a Soviet intelligence and )ropaganda office located at Haparanda, Sweden, on the Finnish fronier, and subsequently b2 held a similar position in Vienna. In late 1922 or in 1923 he resumed his studies at the University of Jena, vhere he continued until 1925.

While in Moscow in 1919 Rado had met Helene Jansen, an avid German Communist then working as second or third secretary to Lenin. He himself had at least one talk with Lenin.) In 1923 or 1924 he married her in Moscow and she joined him in Germany while he completed his studies. Thereafter she participated extensively in his intelligence activities. The Soviets regarded them as Soviet citizens,although Rado, holding a valid Hungarian passport, could also claim Hungarian citizenship. He seems to have received financial support from the USSR continuously from 1919 on.

In 1925, upon completing his studies at Jena, Rado was trained n the USSR for service with Soviet military intelligence and then settled in Berlin. He was assigned to a Soviet intelligence network concerned mainly with German politics and industrial development. To establish his cover he worked for the German publishing firm Meyer's Lexicon, and later he was employed as a cartographer preparing air charts for Lufthansa. While with Lufthansa he reportedly studied photogrammetry and traveled several hundred thousand miles throughout the world.

Rado prepared and published in Berlin in 1928 a German-language guide to the USSR and in 1929 an Arbeiteratlas des Imperialismus, the Communist slant of which did not seem to affect his standing with Lufthansa. In the early 1930's he did air chart work in Stockholm for Aerotransport, a Scandinavian Airlines predecessor then affiliated with Lufthansa. This work gave him some access to defense secrets of Sweden and possibly other countries—secrets which, it may be assumed, soon found their way to Moscow.

The Rados made a trip to Moscow in 1931, presumably for briefing and orientation. Upon returning to Germany in 1932, he accepted employment as a geographer for Almanac de Gotha in Berlin, a position he held until 1933. During this period be wrote geographic articles for a number of journals and became a fellow of several geographical societies, including the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain.

Paris Enterprise

In 1933 Rado moved with his family (sons were born in 1925 and 1930) to Paris, where he founded, with Soviet financial backing, a press agency known as Inpress, specializing in maps and geographic data related to current events. Soviet operations against Germany would be more secure if the directing center were outside the target country. Inpress employed some 16 people, including four or five agents using the firm as cover. Communications for the network were handled through couriers whom Rado would meet in France and Spain or later, after the start of the Spanish Civil War, in the Scandinavian countries, especially Finland. Particularly sensitive information was sometimes transmitted through the Soviet embassy in Paris. High-level Soviet officials such as Litvinov and Molotov are reported to have conferred clandestinely with Rado when passing through Paris.

In early 1936 Rado was called to the USSR for consultation. Since Inpress had not become self-sustaining financially, it was decided that the firm should be closed down and Rado moved to another assignment. Rado, however, asked to be released from intelligence work. and the Soviets agreed, on condition that he and his family resettle in the USSR. He returned to Paris to close down Inpress and to discuss the Soviet proposal with his wife.

But before they had decided what to do, Rado is said to have been approached by German officials and asked to undertake a special assignment for them. Mussolini had requested the Germans to recommend an expert to assist Italy in the solution of some geographic and cartographic problems; Rado was to pose as a German officer and take the job. He did so, spending some 8 months on it while his family remained in Paris. His findings were sent to Mussolini, to the Germans, and gratuitously to the Russians. Why German officials of Nazi persuasion should have sought out Rado for the Italian assignment remains a mystery.

Change of Station

Rado's personal contact with the Fascists in Italy, the rise of Nazism in Germany, and the trend of the Spanish Civil War convinced him, it is reported, that he should continue his work for Soviet military intelligence. He was assigned to direct and expand a small Red Army intelligence network operating in Switzerland against Germany. He proceeded to Geneva with his family, including Helene's mother, in late 1936, ostensibly to take a position with the League of Nations International Labor Office, in which there were at that time many Communist sympathizers. After several months of working full time for ILO, he became its part-time consultant and devoted his main energies to his intelligence work and the development of cover for it.

In 1936 or 1937, with Soviet funds and having a Swiss citizen as silent partner, Rado organized Geopress, a news agency specializing as Inpress had in maps and geographic background data. Geopress was more successful than Inpress because of better organization and the increased demand for news maps in the advancing shadows of World War II. As cover for an intelligence operation it proved ideal. Its normal activity—news collection and dissemination—provided justification for contacts with businessmen, officials, diplomats, journalists, and military leaders, some of whom became intelligence sources. It also justified a large volume of telephone and telegraph traffic, extensive postal business, and the maintenance of a courier system.

While building up his Geopress cover Rado also developed his sources, organized communications, and summarized for transmission the reports collected by his growing network. And he even found time to maintain through publications his image as an internationally known geographer. A left-slanted Atlas of Today and Tomorrow, prepared jointly by Rado and Marthe Rajchman, was published in London (1937) by Victor Gollancz Ltd.

War Service

As resident director of the Switzerland network, Rado held the secret Red Army rank of Major General; he was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1943. A description of the apparatus he administered was first made public in 1949 in Alexander Foote's Handbook for Spies, and interest in it has recently been revived by a flurry of speculation and controversy, chiefly among French and German researchers, about how its prime source "Lucy" (Rudolph Rössler) got such prompt access to the secrets of the German high command. Moscow, Foote declares, largely fought the war on Rbssler's messages. But in 1941, when Rossler first made contact with Rado, Moscow was extremely suspicious and advised Rado to have nothing to do with him. Rado, in what must surely rank as the most important decision of his life, nevertheless went ahead and paid Rbssler, insisting that his information was authentic and vital, an evaluation later accepted by Moscow. Foote, de facto number two man in the network and no Rado admirer, calls this one of Rado's few independent acts during the war.

The network had many troubles. Prominent among them were the difficulty of getting funds from Moscow to Switzerland, Moscow's pathological suspicion of the British, rivalry between Red Army intelligence and other Soviet services, the security of personnel inherited from other networks, and a serious personality clash between Rado and Foote. Rado thought Foote misused network funds, was overly cautious and "hard to work with." Foote thought the same of Rado. Nevertheless, they accomplished much with the knowledge and tacit approval of officially neutral Switzerland. German pressure on the Swiss rather than independent Swiss initiative brought about the breakup of the net.

Rado's main participation in the work of his apparatus ended in 1943. Compromised and forced to hide out, he and his wife spent several months at a safe house, while their sons remained with their grandmother in Geneva. Their exit to France was finally arranged by the Nicole organization of Swiss Communists.

Foote believed that Rados did nothing but hide out until their exit. Another version holds that during this period Rado tried to reestablish contact with Moscow through the British embassy, there being no Soviet-Swiss diplomatic contact at the time, and then through the Chinese embassy. Finally, communication via Chungking proving too slow and unreliable, he attempted to get a new transmitter built in Liechtenstein with funds from Swiss businessmen who were to be repaid and rewarded with large orders from the USSR after the war. Although the Liechtenstein transmitter never got into operation, the Swiss financial backers presented their claims when diplomatic relations between Switzerland and the USSR were established in 1946. Soviet diplomats, however, disclaimed any knowledge of Rado and his wartime activities, and the claims were not paid.

In 1944 the Rados contacted friends in the French Resistance and spent five or six months working with the Maquis in southern France, for which they were later awarded the Legion of Honor by the French Government. They did not attempt to report to the Soviets until Paris was liberated in 1944, when they made contact with the Soviet military attaché there. The Nicole organization brought their boys to Paris to rejoin them. Helene's mother remained in Geneva to liquidate the household.


Alexander Foote, only recently freed from a Swiss jail, reached Paris about the same time as the Rados. The two men were interrogated individually by the Soviets regarding the last days of the network. With a more complete and current picture of the situation in Switzerland, Foote's antagonistic opinions evidently prevailed when his account was weighed against Rado's. Both were ordered to report to Moscow for consultation.

Apprehensive about the fate that might await him in the USSR, Rado considered declining Moscow's invitation. It is reported that Helene finally persuaded him to go, arguing that he had done his best with the Switzerland network under difficult conditions and so had nothing to fear from the Soviets. In January 1945, still somewhat dubious, he and Foote left Paris on a Soviet aircraft bound for Moscow via Cairo. After talking at length with Foote, Rado's doubts again got the upper hand and he left the flight in Cairo.

He was soon picked up by the British-directed Egyptian police, who were puzzled and uncertain as to how he should be handled. A censor's information card, passed at the time to OSS representatives in Cairo, sums up what seems to be the story he first told his captors:

24 Feb. 1945


During the German occupation of Hungary, lived in Geneva where published geographical maps for the Allied Governments until 1943; discovered by the GESTAPO and consequently his relatives in Hungary were murdered/ went with family to Paris in September 1944 and continued his work/summoned to Russia to report on his activities with the Free French Organization and left on 8 Jan. 1945 by special plane for Moscow/suspecting a trap, he got off the plane in Cairo where he remained/received no news from his wife in Paris and suspects that she might have been deported/he was formerly a Fellow of the Geographical Society in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Rome and Washington, D.C.

OFFICE OF CENSORSHIP, Egypt, 11 April 1945

He had apparently decided that his interests would be best served by painting himself as a victim of persecution and devoted to the Allied cause while holding to a minimum revelations that might increase the ire of Moscow. The result was a mixture of truths, halftruths, lies, and distortions.

After some local maneuvering Rado made a direct effort to defect to the British but was turned down. Also to no avail was his legal resistance to Soviet extradition. He was handed over to the Soviets and flown to Moscow in the summer of 1945. Confined to Lubyanka prison for a year and a half, he was eventually charged with espionage in favor of the West, letting code keys fall into enemy hands, misuse of network funds, and failure to keep his network functioning. He was sentenced without trial to 15 years' imprisonment and stripped of rank and honors.

A hostile attitude on the part of Beria may have figured importantly in the disposition of Rado's case. During the war Beria reportedly sent his son to Switzerland to work in Rado's net in order to keep him out of front-line.- army duty. The son, a playboy type, wasted network funds, jeopardized security, and did no useful work. Rado had him recalled to the USSR, where he was eventually killed serving with the Red Army; and for this his father blamed Rado.

Reports on Rado's period of forced labor in the USSR are few and somewhat contradictory. In early 1947 he was apparently moved from Lubyanka to a coal mine in Siberia. In a short time he became labor manager of the mine and thus was not subjected to hard physical work. He was soon shifted to Kuchino, near Moscow, the site of a geophysical observatory. According to one interpretation, the move to Kuchino was the result of an error; officials reviewing his papers saw that he had transmitted intelligence by radio and so thought him a radio technician. At Kuchino he was put to work on map and chart problems connected with the development of a navigation system and possibly missile guidance. He made noteworthy contributions, apparently, for he soon became a "prisoner with privileges," entitled to a private apartment and access to Western publications. It is conceivable that the "error" which brought him to Kuchino was the result of string-pulling by friends.

In 1946, while still in Lubyanka prison, Rado had been pressured into writing his wife in Paris and suggesting that she and them sons follow him to the USSR. Helene, suspecting that the letter had been written under duress, declined; the Soviets then directly urged her to come. Other letters of Rado's to members of his family were not forwarded to them, and their letters were not delivered to him in the Soviet Union. In 1948 or 1949, Helene, still in Paris, obtained a divorce of convenience in the hope that it would discourage further Soviet attempts to make her return to the USSR.

Rehabilitation and Return

Rado was released from prison in 1954, his sentence being reduced by work credits. The amnesty that followed Stalin's death, along with the intervention of friends and the fall of Beria, may have expedited the release. For perhaps a year he remained in the USSR working, ironing out his citizenship status (the Soviets now consider him a dual citizen), obtaining documentation, and weighing alternative plans for his future. There are a number of contradictions in reports on him during this period. One account says he worked as a geographic expert for the KGB. Another report states that he was a translator and cartographer for the Soviet Academy of Sciences, a position he obtained through Professor N. N. Baranskiy, whom he had met while a prisoner.

His negotiations with the Soviets, at any rate, were not smooth. At one point he was offered his choice of professorships in the USSR; at another Soviet officials wanted to send him to Siberia. It was reportedly only through the intercession of Hungarian Ambassador Ferenc Munnich, an old friend from the Bela Kun period, that the way was finally cleared for Rado to return to Hungary. Khrushchev is said to have sent a telegram to the Hungarian Communist Party vouching for him on the eve of his return.

According to one report, Rado reentered his native land in July 1955; yet his name is listed as a member of the editorial board of the Hungarian journal Geodézia és Kartográfia in its first issue for 1955. Either the reported date is incorrect or he began participating in Hungarian mapping affairs before leaving the USSR. In either case, his appointment to membership on the journal's editorial board was remarkably fast for one who had not spent a day in Hungary since 1919.

A considerable number of Hungarians who had been prisoners in the USSR returned at about the same time as Rado, so that his arrival in Budapest attracted little attention. He found to his surprise that his sister, Elizabeth Klein, was living in Budapest with her son; the Soviets had told him that none of his relatives in Hungary survived the war. At first he worked as cartographic editor of an encyclopedia but soon discovered many old friends in high places who wanted to use his talents and experience. Rakosi and his deputy Gero, whom he had known since 1916, reportedly offered him the position of chief of intelligence and he refused, claiming he did not want to get mixed up in "dirty work."

He worked briefly for the Ministry of Foreign Trade, then returned to his encyclopedia job, and finally, still in 1955, accepted a position as deputy chief of the Allami Földmérési és Térképészeti Hivatal (State Survey and Cartographic Office) with specific duties as head of the Cartographic Department. This continues to be his main official position, except that in the spring of 1967 the previously autonomous AFTH was put under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and its name changed to the Orszagos Földúgyi és Térképészeti Hivatal (National Land and Cartographic Office). Other posts Rado holds or has held include a professorship at the Karl Marx University of Economic Science, numerous editorships, and the chairmanship of many committees and commissions.

Shortly after his return to Hungary and unaware of Helene's divorce, he wrote her in Paris suggesting that she join him but that their sons, French citizens, remain in France; if they entered Hungary they might be treated as Hungarian citizens and denied egress. Helene, ill with cancer, was thus reunited with Rado in 1956. She died in Budapest in 1958.

Rado reportedly took no part in the Hungarian revolt of 1956, but it seems more by luck than by design. At one point in the power struggle the principal figures on both sides, Imre Nagy on the one and two Soviet generals on the other, were old friends of his. He thought he might be able to bring them together to work out a modus vivendi. To this end he attempted to see Nagy but was unable to reach him, and there the matter ended.

After the revolt the Soviets showed a new and favorable interest in Rado. To their appreciation of his mapping and intelligence knowhow had been added the important fact that he did not take part in the uprising or attempt to leave Hungary while it was in progress. It is reported that he was appointed Chairman of the Warsaw Pact Committee on Mapping and Geodesy in 1957. While this specific has not been confirmed, there is much evidence that at about this time his power and prestige increased greatly, that he was accepted by the Soviets as he had not been before, and that he began making short trips to the USSR at approximately six-month intervals.

A U.S. official in touch with Rado and other Hungarian geographers and cartographers in 1959 noted that the younger men coming up in the mapping organizations were being drawn from the Karl Marx University of Economic Science, where Rado taught Communist theory, the geography of the Soviet Union, and economic geography and presumably exercised some screening authority. In 1959 he married a librarian at the University, Erzebet Bokor. Fortyish and the holder of a doctorate, she shares many of his professional interests and has accompanied him on trips to the West.

A source who worked with Rado in the 1950's noted in 1963 that he seemed very well satisfied with his situation. He was better dressed than in the past and had a chauffeur-driven limousine at his disposal.

Rado has written or edited many articles, books, and maps and has received honorary degrees and prizes. Noteworthy among the latter is a 1963 Kossuth Prize, Class III, for "achievements in organizing and raising the scientific standards of civilian cartography in Hungary." A deliberate effort has been made to establish him as an internationally recognized geographer. He has represented Hungary at several international meetings and has made numerous trips to the West, a, sign that he enjoys Soviet confidence. Ii is noteworthy that he has been willing to interpret the Bloc line on such sticky matters as the role of Albania in the Socialist camp, the China-India boundary, and the Oder-Neisse question both at international meetings and in unclassified publications. On several occasions he has been observed in extended conversation with K. A. Salishchev, a key figure in Soviet mapping.

Since 1956 Rado's influence has been projected into an ever-widening circle of activities. He is an administrator and coordinator of mapping programs, a cartographer, a teacher, a scholar, an editor, a propagandist, a diplomat, an intelligence collector, a security officer, and a still-alert old man who derives much enjoyment from his present position of power and the opportunities he now has to carry out his ideas and programs.

Old May 14th, 2011 #37
Mike Parker
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Mike Parker

Obituary: Professor Jurgen Kuczynski

David Childs

Wednesday, 13 August 1997

Jurgen Kuczynski was a remarkable member of the remarkable Jewish Central European intelligentsia of the inter-war period. Like many of them he turned to Marxism as an answer to the ethnic and national rivalries, and economic and political chaos which followed the First World War. Many of them subsequently saw Stalin's version of Communism as the God that failed, and returned their Party cards. Kuczynski did not.

Born in 1904, in Elberfeld, Germany, the son of a banker, Rene Kuczynski, he studied philosophy, finance and statistics at the universities of Berlin, Erlangen and Heidelberg, gaining a doctorate in economics in 1925. Between 1926 and 1929 he extended his theoretical and practical experience in the United States, doing postgraduate studies at the Brooking Institute followed by work as head of the economic department of the American Federation of Labor, the main US trade union body.

Kuczynski joined the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1930 working as economics editor of the paper Die Rote Fahne ("The Red Flag") until it was banned by the Nazis in 1933. He remained in Germany until 1936 as part of the Communist underground. He then gained entry into Britain, where he headed the KPD emigre organisation. He also worked with R. Palme Dutt on the Labour Monthly, which, of course, had nothing to do with the Labour Party and was totally on Moscow's line. As with Dutt and other true believers, the Soviet Union was Kuczynski's true homeland, and he did not hesitate to follow his sister Ursula, "Sonia", into espionage activity for Moscow.

It was through Jurgen that the fellow refugee Klaus Fuchs was put in touch with the Soviet military intelligence service (GRU) and started his career as an atom spy. Sonia became Fuchs's GRU controller. Their meetings took place in Banbury, where she lived as a refugee. Meanwhile Jurgen himself was becoming active in the secret world. Between 1944-45 he served in the US army air force with the rank of colonel. His job was as part of a team of analysts conducting the Strategic Bombing Survey. He passed on the results of their labours to Soviet intelligence.

In 1945 Kuczynski returned to Berlin, living to begin with in the American Sector of the city. He joined the Communist-dominated Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) when it was established in 1946. However, the SED felt his talents could best be used in the various front organisations and in the academic sphere. He was appointed professor at the Humboldt University in 1946, where he founded the Institute for Economic History. He was a founding member of the League of Culture (Kultur Bund) and headed its group in the East German parliament for some years. He served as the President of the Society for the Study of the Culture of the Soviet Union, 1947-50, telling his members, "He who hates and despises human progress as it is manifested in the Soviet Union is himself odious and contemptible."

This heavy emphasis on Soviet culture, embracing all aspects of society, was one of the biggest mistakes the Soviet occupation authorities and their German helpers made. Kuczynski claimed later to have been removed from the presidency as part of the Stalinist purge of those in Western exile and Zionists.

Although he had occasional brushes with the SED leadership, he does not appear to have ever been in serious danger unlike some other Jewish Communists. He prospered both under Walter Ulbricht and his successor as head of the SED, Erich Honecker. From 1955 to 1968 he was Director of the Institute for the History of Economic Science of the (East) German Academy of Sciences. In 1964 Ulbricht saw to it that the Humboldt University awarded him an honorary doctorate.

When Honecker replaced Ulbricht as first secretary of the SED in May 1971 Kuczynski became his adviser of external economic affairs. It is impossible to assess to what extent his advice played any part in the decline and fall of the state (GDR) both had helped to create. In the final years of the GDR Kuczynski kept up his intellectual and practical interests. He helped to found a freethinkers' body in the 1980s.

Many of Kuczynski's admirers will remember him for one or several or many of his publications. He appears to have been a compulsive writer with nearly 4,000 titles attributed to him. His memoirs appeared in 1973 and, 10 years later, Dialogue with My Great-Grandson, which attempted a critique of Stalinism. In 1992 he published a somewhat self-mocking volume calling himself "a true party-line dissident". Outside Germany he will be better known for his works on economic history, including his History of the Working Class under Capitalism in some 40 volumes. When "the change" came in the GDR in 1989-90 he was ready to side with those who wanted a reformed, but still independent, GDR.

Disappointed by the failure of the reformers to halt the collapse of the Communist system both at home and later in the Soviet Union, Jurgen Kuczynski still found strength to fight on. He joined the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) which superseded the SED. He did, however, acknowledge that in many of his interpretations he had been wrong.

Jurgen Kuczynski, historian: born Elberfeld, Germany 19 September 1904; Professor of Economic History, Humboldt University 1946-70 (Emeritus); married Marguerite Steinfeld (deceased; two sons, one daughter); died 6 August 1997.
Old May 14th, 2011 #38
Mike Parker
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Mike Parker

I.F. Stone, Soviet Agent—Case Closed

John Earl Haynes — May 2009

When new information about Americans who had cooperated with the Soviet KGB began to emerge in the 1990s, no individual case generated as much controversy as that of the journalist I.F. Stone, who had long been installed in the pantheon of left-wing heroes as a symbol of rectitude and a teller of truth to power before his death in 1989. Charges about Stone’s connections with the KGB have been swirling about for more than a decade, prompting cries of outrage among his passionate followers. Until now, the evidence was equivocal and subject to different interpretations. No longer.

In the early 1990s, one of us—Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB officer turned Russian journalist—was given authorized access to the files of the SVR (the successor spy agency to the KGB in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union) to pursue research for a book that was eventually published in 1998 under the title The Haunted Wood.1 By the time of publication, Vassiliev, fearing retribution from hard-line Communists and nationalists angered by revelations of secrets, had moved permanently to Great Britain. He left his original notebooks, containing more than 1,100 pages of detailed notes and lengthy quotations, with friends in Moscow. They were filled with details about people and issues that did not fit the parameters of The Haunted Wood or whose significance Vassiliev did not then realize.


Retrieved by Vassiliev in 2002, the notebooks offer the most complete look at Soviet espionage in America we have yet had or will obtain until the likely far-off day when Russian authorities open the KGB’s archives for independent research, eclipsing even the several thousand KGB cables partially decoded by the U.S. National Security Agency in the Venona project and released in 1995. They are the basis for our new book, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America.2 And they provide startling new evidence about Stone’s ties to Soviet intelligence.


Born Isidor Feinstein in Philadelphia in 1907 to Jewish immigrants from Russia, Stone dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania to become a journalist. After several years as the youngest editorial writer for a major metropolitan newspaper, the Philadelphia Record, he moved to the New York Post with instructions from its owner, J. David Stern, to transform the paper into a champion of New Deal liberalism. Stone was, however, more than just a New Deal liberal. His sympathy for Soviet communism was obvious. In June 1933, he declared that a “Soviet America” was “the one way out that could make a real difference to the working classes” and insisted that FDR’s New Deal was not reforming America but leading it to fascism, a view that then reflected the position of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA).

In New York, Stone also became a contributor to the Soviet-aligned Nation and New Republic. He was a presence in the Popular Front, an effort by the CPUSA to make common cause with other left-wing groups. Although Stone had briefly been a member of the Socialist Party in the early 1930s, he soon had a reputation as a fervent pro-Communist, although he never joined the CPUSA. His biographer, Myra MacPherson, later conceded that Stone had possessed a romantic view of Communism and viewed “party members as lined up on the correct side of historical developments, unlike fascists or even members of the smaller left-wing sects.” While occasionally critical of aspects of Stalin’s purges, Stone felt that because of the battle against fascism, it was too important to risk fracturing the Popular Front by openly denouncing Stalin or the Soviet Union. He was a signer of the statement, published just days before the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, defending the USSR and its progress toward democracy and denying it shared any commonalities with Nazi Germany.

After Stern finally fired him from the Post for his excessively pro-Soviet views, Stone moved to the Nation. Briefly shaken by the Nazi-Soviet Pact, he momentarily pulled back from his Communist alliances, writing an angry denunciation of the agreement and taking part in a short-lived effort by several other disillusioned members of the Popular Front and former Communists to build a new radical group critical of the American Communist Party’s role as a tool of Soviet foreign policy.

In 1940 he moved to PM, the left-wing New York daily. There, he reverted to his earlier attitudes and became a stalwart of the paper’s pro-Communist faction. His uncritical support of Soviet and Communist policies continued until the Stalin era came to an end with the dictator’s death in 1953. A year earlier, Stone wrote The Hidden History of the Korean War, in which he promoted the falsehood that South Korea had sparked the war by invading the Communist North. A few years after PM folded in 1948, Stone created his own muckraking newsletter, I. F. Stone’s Weekly, which gained a wide audience on the Left. Although he was occasionally critical of aspects of Soviet policy, it was not until the mid-1950s that he lost his illusions about the Soviet regime, writing a denunciation that cost his newsletter a substantial portion of its readership.

In the 1960s, Stone’s angry condemnation of American foreign policy found a receptive audience among both the old pro-Soviet left and the younger New Left. Stone learned classical Greek in his retirement and wrote a book on Socrates and Athens, part of his lifelong obsession with issues of dissent. When he died in 1989, his reputation as a fiercely independent curmudgeon seemed secure.


The first report of Stone’s possible ties to the KGB came in 1992, when Oleg Kalugin, a retired KGB general, told a British journalist, “We had an agent—a well-known American journalist—with a good reputation, who severed his ties with us after 1956. I myself convinced him to resume them. But in 1968, after the invasion of Czechoslovakia . . . he said he would never again take any money from us.”

Herbert Romerstein, a former staff member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, quoted an unidentified KGB source as saying that the journalist in question was Stone. The British journalist then interviewed Kalugin again, and he admitted that he had been referring to Stone but denied that Stone was a controlled agent. In a 1994 autobiography, Kalugin characterized Stone as a fellow traveler (someone with Communist Party beliefs but not membership) “who had made no secret of his admiration for the Soviet system” before the mid-1950s. When he was asked to reestablish contact with Stone, Kalugin wrote, KGB headquarters in Moscow “never said that [Stone] had been an agent of our intelligence service, but rather that he was a man with whom we had regular contact.”

Kalugin’s careful parsing of Stone’s precise relationship to the KGB and the hints he offered of an earlier relationship with Soviet intelligence made the discovery of Stone-related materials in the KGB cables deciphered by the Venona project in the mid-1990s the occasion for an uproar. Four cables mentioned Stone. Two were entirely benign. A 1943 message from the GRU, or Soviet military intelligence, merely reported that someone with GRU connections had been in Washington and talked with several correspondents, including Stone. A KGB message dated December 1944 mentioned Stone along with several other journalists who had contacts with military leaders.

The other two, both from 1944, were more suggestive. On September 13, the KGB New York station sent a message to Moscow that Vladimir Pravdin, a KGB officer working under cover as a correspondent for TASS, the Soviet news agency, had been trying to contact “Pancake” in Washington, but that Pancake had been refusing to meet, citing a busy schedule. Samuel Krafsur, an American KGB agent code-named “Ide” who worked for TASS in the building that housed Stone’s office, had tried to “sound him out but Pancake did not react.” An October 23 message then reported that Pravdin had succeeded in meeting with Stone:

P. [Pancake/Stone] said that he had noticed our attempts to contact him, particularly the attempts of Ide [Krafsur] and of people of the Trust [USSR Embassy], but he had reacted negatively fearing the consequences. At the same time he implied that the attempts at rapprochement had been made with insufficient caution and by people who were insufficiently responsible. To Sergey’s [Pravdin’s] reply that naturally we did not want to subject him to unpleasant complications, Pancake gave him to understand that he was not refusing his aid but one should consider that he had three children and did not want to attract the attention of the Hut [FBI]. To Sergey’s question how he considered it advisable to maintain liaison P. replied that he would be glad to meet but he rarely visited Tyre [New York].

While Stone earned a good living, the message added, “he would not be averse to having a supplementary income.”

Taken together, these messages were suggestive but not conclusive. Unquestionably, the KGB had wanted to establish a covert relationship with Stone and had been willing to pay him, but what exactly it had in mind was left unstated. Another implication was that Stone feared a connection with the KGB could attract FBI attention and jeopardize his career—but that otherwise, he was not averse to a relationship. There was no firm evidence that Stone had agreed to cooperate with the KGB, although Kalugin’s revelation that he had been ordered to reestablish contact with Stone in the 1960s made it clear that Stone must have had some understanding of who was cultivating him.


The controversy about Stone continued to simmer in the ensuing decade, fueled in part by charges by the conservative columnist Robert Novak and the controversialist Ann Coulter that he was a paid agent and a Soviet spy. In 2006, MacPherson’s biography of Stone charged that “neocons” had launched these slanderous attacks on him since they “have a vested interest in portraying Stone as a paid Kremlin stooge because he remains an icon to those who despise all that the far right espoused.” MacPherson also attempted to demonstrate that there was no reason to assume Pancake was Stone; that even if he had been Pancake, he had done nothing more than meet with a Soviet correspondent; and that his only reason for doing so with reluctance was the nefarious behavior of the FBI, which was terrorizing anyone who dared meet with a Russian.

MacPherson’s book set off a round of accusations. Paul Berman, a left-wing anti-Communist writer, dismissed her whitewashing of Stone, noting that Stone’s own writing displayed a long history of glorifying the Soviet Union until the 1950s and that the mere fact of Stone’s having had no access to official secrets and not having stolen anything for the USSR did not mean the KGB would not have valued his cooperation.

Eric Alterman, a onetime Stone protégé, called the Stone-KGB stories “smears,” “phony,” and “pathetic,” dismissing the whole contretemps as “an almost entirely bogus controversy over whether Stone ever willingly spied for the Russians or cooperated with the KGB in any way. He did not.”

KGB archival documents tell a different story.


The first mention of Stone comes in a KGB New York station report of April 13, 1936. It mentions “Pancake (Liberal’s lead)—Isidor Feinstein [as Stone was then known], a commentator for the New York Post.” “Liberal” was Frank Palmer, who was part of the same New York community of pro-Communist radical journalists. He had also been an agent of the KGB New York station for several years. This note indicated that Palmer had suggested his bosses look at Isidor Feinstein. The New York station further reported in May 1936: “Relations with Pancake have entered the channel of normal operational work. He went to Washington on assignment for his newspaper. Connections in the State Dep. and Congress.” By stating that its relationship with Stone had entered “the channel of normal operational work,” the KGB New York station was reporting that Stone had become a fully active agent. Over the next several years, documents recorded in Vassiliev’s notebooks make clear, Stone worked closely with the KGB.


One might ask why the KGB would recruit a journalist like Stone, then an editorial writer for the New York Post, with no access to government or industrial secrets. In fact, the KGB recruited a great many journalists. A 1941 internal KGB summary report broke down the occupations of Americans working for the spy agency in the prior decade. Twenty-two were journalists, a profession outnumbered only by engineers (forty-nine) and dwarfing economists (four) and professors (eight). While journalists rarely had direct access to technical secrets or classified documents in the way engineers, scientists, or government officials did, the espionage enterprise encompasses more than the classic spy who physically steals a document.

The KGB recruited journalists in part for their access to inside information and sources on politics and policy, insights into personalities, and confidential and non-public information that never made it into published stories. Certain journalistic working habits also lent themselves to intelligence tasks. By profession, journalists ask questions and probe; what might seem intrusive or suspect if done by anyone else is their normal modus operandi. Consequently, the KGB often used journalists as talent spotters for persons who did have access to sensitive information, and made use of them to gather background information that would help in evaluating candidates for recruitment.

The flexibility of their work also made journalists desirable as couriers and agent handlers (the liaisons between KGB officers and their American sources). There was also much less risk that a journalist having contact with a government official or engineer would attract the attention of security officials than would a KGB officer under Soviet diplomatic cover. And even if security officials did notice such a meeting, it would be much easier to provide a benign explanation for contact with a pesky American journalist than with a Soviet diplomat. Additionally, the KGB could use journalists for “active measures”—the planting of a story in the press or giving a slant to a story that served KGB goals.

Stone assisted Soviet intelligence on a number of such tasks: talent spotting, acting as a courier by relaying information to other agents, and providing private journalistic tidbits and data the KGB found interesting. In May 1936, for example, the KGB New York station told Moscow:

Pancake reported that Karl Von Wiegand works in Berlin as a correspondent for the Hearst agency “Universal Service.” He had been ordered to maintain friendly relations with Hitler, which was supposedly dictated by the fact that the German press was buying the agency’s information. Hearst is in a deal with German industry to supply the latter with a large consignment of copper. Wiegand does not agree with Hearst’s policy. He turned to Pancake’s boss for advice.

Commenting on Stone’s work as a KGB talent spotter and recruiter, the KGB New York station reported, “Pancake established contact with Dodd. We wanted to recruit him [Dodd] and put him to work on the State Dep. line. Pancake should tell Dodd that he has the means to connect him with an anti-Fascist organization in Berlin.” William A. Dodd, Jr., was the son of the U.S. ambassador to Germany and an aspiring Popular Front activist with political ambitions. The KGB did recruit him, and Stone briefly functioned as Dodd’s intermediary with the KGB, providing him with a contact in Berlin when he went to join his father at the embassy. Stone also passed on to the KGB some information Dodd picked up from the American military attaché in Berlin about possible German military moves against the USSR and the name of a suspected pro-Nazi embassy employee.

There is only one other reference to I.F. Stone’s cooperation with the KGB in the 1930s, a note listing him as one of the New York station’s agents in late 1938.

Stone next pops up in a 1944 KGB report on Victor Perlo (cover name “Raid”), head of a network of Soviet sources in Washington during World War II. “In 1942–43,” the report said, “R. [Raid/Perlo] secretly helped Pancake compile materials for various exposés by the latter.” (Perlo was at that time a mid-level economist at the advisory Council of National Defense.) Similarly, a 1945 report about Stanley Graze, a secret Communist and a valued KGB source, noted that in 1943 Graze’s wife had been “Pancake’s personal secretary, maintaining ties with the latter’s informants in government agencies.”

These 1944 and 1945 notes do not indicate that Stone was an active KGB agent or even in direct contact with it after 1938, and given Stone’s initial anger over the Nazi-Soviet Pact, it is likely that he broke relations with the KGB in late 1939.

Still, Stone had quickly reverted to a pro-Soviet position and, as his links to Victor Perlo and Mrs. Stanley Graze demonstrate, he remained in intimate touch with the Communist underground in Washington in World War II and continued to be viewed by the KGB in a benign light.

In this context, it is evident that Vladimir Pravdin’s October 1944 approach to Stone—which came to light in the Venona documents—was not an initial recruitment attempt but an effort to reestablish the agent relationship that the KGB had had with Stone in 1936-38.

Only one other document in Vassiliev’s notebooks bears on this question, and it has to do with Harry Truman. The Soviets knew little about Truman when he succeeded to the presidency, and in June 1945 Moscow Center told Pravdin, then chief of the New York KGB station:

Right now the cultivation of Truman’s inner circle becomes exceptionally important. This is one of the Station’s main tasks. To fulfill this task, the following agent capabilities need to be put to the most effective use: 1. In journalistic circles—Ide, Grin, Pancake . . . Bumblebee. Through these people focus on covering the principal newspaper syndicates and the financial-political groups that are behind them; their relationships with Truman, the pressure exerted on him, etc.

Of the four journalists listed, “Ide”/Samuel Krafsur and “Grin”/John Spivak were unambiguously KGB agents. However, “Bumblebee” was not. He was none other than Walter Lippmann, the most prominent opinion columnist of the day. Lippmann knew Pravdin only as a Soviet journalist with whom he traded insights and information.

As for Stone, given Pravdin’s effort to rerecruit him in 1944, he could not have been under the illusion that the Soviet was a mere working journalist. Still, because of Lippmann’s inclusion in the list, this message makes it impossible to determine the nature of Stone’s relationship to the KGB in 1945.

The documentary record shows that I.F. Stone consciously cooperated with Soviet intelligence from 1936 through 1938. An effort was made by Soviet intelligence to reestablish that relationship in 1944-45; we do not know whether that effort succeeded.

To put it plainly, from 1936 to 1939 I.F. Stone was a Soviet spy.

That Stone chose never to reveal this part of his life strongly suggests that he knew just how incompatible it would be with his public image as a courageous and independent journalist. His admirers, who have so strenuously denied even the possibility of such an alliance, have no choice now but to reevaluate his legacy.



1 Vassiliev’s co-author was Allen Weinstein.

2 They will soon be available at the Library of Congress, and scans of the notebooks and translations will be accessible on the website of the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center.


About the Author

John Earl Haynes is a historian at the Library of Congress.
Old July 19th, 2011 #39
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 8,095
jewsign "Jew Hollywood Producer Was an Israeli Nuclear Agent'

According to a new biography, the Jew Arnon Milchan,
close friend of Israeli prime ministers and Hollywood stars, was recruited by Shimon Peres to purchase equipment for Israel's alleged nuclear program.

israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan was a longtime weapons dealer and Israeli intelligence agent who purchased equipment for Israel's alleged nuclear program, a new biography claims.

The book, “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan,” written by Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, recounts Milchan's life story, from his days as a boy in Rehovot through his friendships with Israeli prime ministers, U.S. presidents and Hollywood stars.

The Jew Milchan's services to the Israeli security industry have been made public before, but he has always denied or refused to acknowledge them. This is the first time Milchan confirms these claims, albeit indirectly.

Even though the authors claim to have written an unofficial biography, Milchan agreed to meet with them, answer their questions and correct their mistakes. One of the major sources for the book was Israeli President Shimon Peres, a close friend of Milchan.

"I am the one who recruited him," Peres is quoted as saying.

This occurred in the 1960's, when Peres was Deputy Minister of Defense. The relationship continued in the 1970's, when Peres became Minister of Defense. He recruited Milchan as an agent for Lakam, an acronym for 'Science Liaison Bureau.' Lakam is the name of a secret unit in the defense ministry that was tasked with purchasing equipment, namely technological parts and materials for Israel's alleged nuclear program.

Since its founding in the mid-1950's, the agency was headed by the Jew Benjamin Blumberg. Blumberg was fired in 1978 by Defense Minister Ezer Weizman following the Likud's party rise to power. Weizman claimed that Lakam was involved in illegal money transfers to different bodies, including the Labor Party.

Blumberg was Milchan's friend, and used him (as well as other Israeli businessmen) to set up straw companies around the world, and to open secret bank accounts for financing the nuclear plant in Dimona and other Israeli security industries.

The basis for Milchan's secret actions was the family firm Milchan Brothers, which represented foreign chemical companies in Israel since before independence.

Last edited by littlefieldjohn; July 19th, 2011 at 04:05 PM.
Old January 12th, 2012 #40
Mike Parker
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,311
Mike Parker

Great Russian Female Spies. Elizabeth (Gorskaya) Zarubina

Published by Atanova Lydia on July 11, 2010 in USA & Canada

An essay about Zarubins, family of secret service agents.

Perhaps, Elisabeth (Gorskaya) Zarubina is the most titled Soviet secret service woman – colonel. More than six decades she worked in Austria, Turkey, Denmark, France, USA under different surnames and nicks. Without overstatement life of this amazing woman full of unusual secrets and adventures could become a great help for scenario writers to create a hundred-series block baster.

Elisabeth was born in 1900 in the North Bukovina, Romania in a family of the large estate forest economy manager. Graduated from the Chernovtsy niversity she continued studying in Paris. Spoken fluently 5 languages she regarded Russain her native. Then she began to work an interpreter in the Soviet Embassy in Vien. Future colleagues from the USPG Foreign Department paid attention to the energetic girl vehement Soviet Russsia adherent, and in 1925 Elisabeth Gorskaya became an agent of the External Search of USSR.

In 1929 Elisabeth married future outstanding secret service agent Vasily Zarubin and took his surname. Besides in the same year Political Bureau commissioned to examine, if it’s right to say, Elisabeth’s fidelity.

This amazing woman possessed truly rare talent – was always affable and witty, could well dispose people towards her and charm talkers. This allowed her to gain valuable people over research and create adherents groups.

In France Zarubins formed the outbranching net attracted many valuable informational sources. They became joint-owners of the advertising bureau.

Vardo (alternately Elisabeth’snick) occasionally got acquainted with two women and they started working with her for Foreign Office. Truly good information was gained from former tsar general Pavel Dyakonov, a person of astonishing destiny. He transpassed the French Army General Staff data about ‘fifth column’ fascist directed generals and officers prepared by Russian search. The action succeeded and played a great role in French-German relations deterioration.

Perhaps the starlight moment for Zarubins was their destination to Germany when Hitler possessed the state power. The majority of illegals were Jews so they had to leave the country. Zarubins were missioned to re-establish the illegal residence in one week term. They did impossible – not only rebuilt the residence, but also gave it a chance to breathe – gained many new effective information sources. The lion’s share of work was put on fragile Vardo’s shoulders because Vasily didn’t speak German.

Willy Leman convinced antifascist was in exclusive credit of Gestapo, all the time promoted to the next ranks and duties. The most part of documents and daily Gestapo revisals used to be printed in two copies for Himmler and Heydrich, but passed Leman’s hands before get to the point. Eventually he was commissioned a secret service military supply and got an access to the most hidden sacred mysteries of Hitler Germany.

By his convictions Leman became the Soviet research agent. Breitenbach (that was Willy’s nick) transmitted to Vardo so-much of important information that it’s been sent to Moscow with link messangers. Gestapo enciphering code was determined like that. Personally to Stalin and Voroshilov the detailed report about Verner’s rockets construction works was directed. Braitenbach transmitted to Moscow the description of different outfit kinds – guns, armoured forces, trench-howitzers.

Almost 8 years Vardo and Braitenbach used to work together. After Zarubins depart to Moscow Leman continued co-operation with Soviet investigation. On the 19th of June 1941 he reported that on the 22nd of June Hitler will unleash war against USSR. In December 1942 Willy Leman was arrested and secretly sentenced to military execution.

Vardo also had many other significant informers. In the most alarming time of June 1941 she Jewish had a mission to restore communications with illegals. She fulfilled this dangerous task with honour.

On the 29th of June a week after war beginning all the Soviet Embassy staff departed to Moscow. The way home through Turkey lingered a month. On the 12thof October in the heat of near Moscow battle Vasily Zarubin was unexpectedly invited to Kremlin. At night he met with Stalin.

Stalin was brief:

- Last time we had no any conflict of world interests with America. But it’s important and necessary to know about true intentions of the American government. We would like to see them our associates in struggle against Hitler. Your mission, comrade Zarubin, is not only to know about intentions of Americans and trace the events, but influence them through agents and other opportunities. Consult the fact, comrade Zarubin, that our country is invincible. I’ve heard that your wife is a good help. Try to keep her secure.

Elisabeth as a Jew was confided out of the investigative work to communicate and influence Jewish society in America. And she was successful in much. Under her influence in America many friends and simply attracted to USSR people popped forth. Zarubins successed to exert influence in Soviet Union favour on highly authoritative people in American government including the presidential encirclement through Jewish circles.

Zarubins activity in the US was extraordinary overall-rounded. Will tell you about one eminent event. Through the famous sculptor Konenkov’s wife Elisabeth became close with Albert Einstein, Oppenheimer and other outstanding scientists that worked on the atomic bomb creation. Zarubins understood that the question is about weapon able to change the world history, and inquired Moscow permission to make an effort to find the approach to famous physicists. They succeeded to fast-talk Oppenheimer known as the A-bomb father from communistic claims and to receive several young physicists in his laboratory. Among them was Klaus Fuchs that afterwards transported the A-bomb secrets to Moscow.

In 1944 unexpectedly Zarubins got recalled to Moscow. They became suspected in co-operation with American secret service. Half a year the denunciation of some co-worker Myronov as if Zarubins work for FBI has been examined. Subsequently Myronov occurred to be a schizo. Nevertheless Zarubins never got back to the US. Stalin though didn’t give worthy appraisal to the information about new secret weapon changing the world as it goes. Disbelief was much more important for him.

Vasily Zarubin was appointed the foreign reconnaissance vice-chief. Long years Elisabeth used to work beside her husband, executing dangerous tasks within the country and abroad.

In 1987 Elisabeth died. She was buried with military honours.

Read more:

dual loyalty, every jew a spy, jewish spies


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