"If I got three Purple Hearts for three scratches, I'd be embarrassed," said Ted Sampley, who fought in Vietnam and publishes U.S. Veteran Dispatch. He remembers soldiers turning away awards for minor injuries.
Mr. Kerry has said none of his Purple Heart injuries, only one of which removed him from the field for two days, was critical.
After his third Purple Heart, Mr. Kerry requested and was granted permission to return to the United States to work behind a desk in New York. Even while still a Navy man, he began traveling to antiwar rallies with leading war protesters such as Adam Walinsky, a former speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy.
"He was a guy who had been in the war," he said. "We spent a lot of time talking about the campaign, the presidential campaign and the Vietnam War."
Mr. Kerry has said he did not take part in the protests, but was intrigued by Mr. Walinsky's views about the war. The two men stayed in contact and "became reasonably good friends," Mr. Walinsky said.
Others were shocked by the Naval officer's association with the antiwar movement.
"He gets this cushy job in his hometown, goes around protesting the war, then asks to get out six months early," Mr. Sampley said. "What regulations were busted when Kerry as a Naval officer and still on the payroll was flying around protesting the war? And who had to stand in and fight for John Kerry after he left six months early?"
Undefined research to date. Adding to this thread, Fedora's find on David Mixner.
This is a research thread I started on Kerry. I know Mixner is involved further from reading the below interview. It fits into undefined areas to date.
None of which are definable for connecting as of yet.
Interview by Randy Shulman
Photography by Todd Franson
"You want a soundbite?"
David Mixner grins.
"I'll give you a soundbite. I'm a man who's devoted forty years of his life -- sometimes at great validation and sometimes at great pain -- to the struggle for freedom and human rights.
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"You know, when I was a child growing up," he continues, "we didn't have television, but we got Life magazine. And it opened the outside world to us. As a kid I said, 'I want to live the history of my times. I want to witness it.' And then I got to a second level where I said, 'God, if I could just meet and shake the hands of the people making the history of my times, I'd be happy.' And then I said to myself, 'If I could just be a tiny footnote in the history of my times.'
"So that's where I'm at now. A tiny, tiny footnote. But a magnificent life journey for myself."
Mixner is being modest. If anything, he's less a footnote than a frequent -- and some might say necessary -- headline. One of the great activists of our time -- both for gay rights and liberal-minded causes, such as nuclear disarmament and civil rights -- he has been a mover and shaker behind the scenes, a front man only when necessary. He has been arrested for civil disobedience well over a dozen times -- a fact of which he's extremely proud.
A big, garrulous man, with a robust laugh and a passion beyond measure, the author and political consultant, born in southern New Jersey on August 16, 1946, fell into the world of politics almost by accident. "I don't know why I got so much political success at such a young age," he says. He's never run for office ("Never will"), never accepted an political appointment, not even when his good friend Bill Clinton was living in the White House, and he has interests that reach far beyond the world of politics.
"I don't eat, breathe, sleep politics," he sighs. "I'm not a political junkie. I am a true disciple of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Pope John XXIII decreed that we were put here on this planet to help others. And that's what drives me."
That may be, but Mixner constantly steers himself back into the world of political activism, including a recent fight to help defeat the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate.
His personal politics were informed by his involvement in the civil rights movement and the anti-war demonstrations of the '60s and '70s. And though he didn't come out until the age of 30, he couldn't have timed it better -- just as the gay movement was beginning to take shape and define itself. At the prodding of his now-deceased partner, Peter Scott, Mixner took up the gay gauntlet.
For the past two years Mixner has called Washington his home, and he's been working on a new book entitled On the Edge, which offers his take on the current state of America. There's no publication date set as of yet, since the book has been on hold since January as Mixner fought tooth and nail to defeat the amendment. And now he's turned his attentions to John Kerry, to help put a new man in the White House and defeat what he calls "the most dangerous president" in our country's history.
METRO WEEKLY: I'd like to start with a bit of your own history, including your coming out.
DAVID MIXNER: I've been a political person for forty-four years -- started doing volunteer work for John F. Kennedy in 1960. My family were Irish-Catholic immigrants and it was an essential part of the Irish-Catholic experience to work for Kennedy if you were alive back then. I was heavily involved in the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. And I was head of the Vietnam Moratorium, which in the late sixties did all the big marches against the war in Vietnam. I got heavily involved in the campaigns of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Robert Kennedy for president. I became very prominent politically and nationally as a young person -- of course that was the age of youth back then, "The Summer of Love." I'd been to jail a couple of times by then for civil rights -- all for the right things. I was in the closet until I was thirty.
When I was thirty years old, Anita Bryant, who had started her campaign to remove and repeal all the gay and lesbian rights ordinances [in several cities], came to California and got on the ballot an initiative that would make it illegal for homosexuals to be schoolteachers. If discovered, they'd be put on trial. When the first polls came out, it was leading 75 to 25 percent. Our own community was heavily divided over whether we should even fight it -- Bryant had won in four cities [prior to California], everyone considered it a forgone conclusion. No straight political consultant would touch it. I had a lot of political experience at that point. And they kept coming to me and asking me to run it. I was still in the closet, and I knew that if I ran it, I'd have to come out. But I also felt that if I didn't do it, I could never live with myself.
MW: What had kept you in for so long?
MIXNER: Fear. Stark, raving fear. I grew up in the fifties, where if you were discovered to be gay, lobotomies were still an accepted form of therapy. I knew people who had had lobotomies and were put in institutions by their families. That was legal.
When I was growing up, the one kid in town who was obviously gay committed suicide at sixteen. And I remember sitting around the dinner table with my family -- I was sixteen, too -- and my family saying, "That family's better off that he's dead." That's from my mother and father -- loving, good people.
There were no gay community service centers, there were no Time magazine stories, the New York Times even refused to print the word. There was no movie of the week. So the only thing I ever read was about people in my town who were arrested in the park, and their lives were destroyed.
So I had achieved significant political success at an early age, and I thought if I came out, I'd lose it all. And guess what? I would have. When I came out in 1977, liberal Democrats returned checks to me, saying they couldn't accept my money any longer. I'd stopped being invited to Democratic Party meetings -- and these are people I'd worked with for ten years, people I'd been to jail with.
MW: They were turning their backs on you.
MIXNER: I don't even know if they were aware of how brutal it was, what they were doing.
MW: How did the Anita Bryant thing end up?
MIXNER: We won. We ran the campaign. We carried every county in California, except one. We took 54 percent of the vote, we got Ronald Reagan to come out against it. I met with Reagan. A closeted gay Republican got us a meeting, at great risk to his own political self. It was a delightful meeting -- I was treated in that meeting with more respect than almost any other elected official I've ever met with.
MW: What are your thoughts on the passing of Reagan?
MIXNER: This is where I always get myself in trouble. I come from an Irish Catholic family and when your worst enemy dies, you never say anything bad about him for a month. But a month's over. So let me put it very clearly: there's no question in my mind -- none -- that if Ronald Reagan had acted on AIDS like [his administration] did on Toxic Shock Syndrome and Legionnaire's Disease, most of my friends would still be alive today. Now what can you say about a man like that? These days we have to value our words as much as much as our actions, so I don't use angry words. But I think that calmly speaks for itself.
MW: Back to your coming out, what did the act itself do for you?
MIXER: I know the most important act of my life was coming out, no question about it. It redefined my life. And it enabled me to operate as a free man. It enabled me to no longer live in shame and fear of judgment. It removed an enormous fear from my life of blackmail of destruction. It made me part of one of the most magnificent tribes I've ever known in my generation. Extraordinary people who took care of their sick and dying and still staffed the barricades, fighting for liberty. I've never seen anything like it in my life. I've been involved in every kind of movement you can imagine, and this is one of the most magnificent stories around. One of the most magnificent tribes. I've seen courage like I have never seen courage in my life.
Some people think I'm too public with what I do, but how can you be comfortable when the President of the United States goes before the congress and wants to put an apartheid amendment in the Constitution that applies to you. That never lets you be comfortable. You constantly have to come to terms with your own self-hatred.
So how comfortable can you be? We are still legitimate fodder for the political cannons. And so, unfortunately, we can't become too comfortable until we get out of that firing range.
But we've taken historic steps forward. This defeat on the constitutional amendment was critical to us. We showed that we were able to muster the power to stop it dead in the Senate. Now, I don't like a lot of things that were said in the debate on the Senate floor -- we can find things that were wrong -- but what was important is that we stop it. Because, trust me, if this had ever gotten out of the Congress, I don't think we could have stopped it in the states. This was a major victory for us. A turning point. Is it over? Oh, hell no. Just when you think it's safe to go in the water
I mean, I wasn't planning to spend my year like this. I really wasn't. I have a book I'm writing. And everything was put on hold -- but that's as it should be in these times of crisis, when people of good conscience have to come to the fore. Silence is the greatest oppressor of all.
MW: In your line of activism, you have to roll with what comes up, don't you?
MIXNER: [Laughs.] Every time I think I have a certain path and everything planned out, a nice little calendar and a boyfriend picked out, some fucker comes along and starts demagoguing us. And my life's thrown into topsy-turvey. But a lot of people are all called upon. And a lot of people stepped to the front of this battle. There were a lot of disappointments. But the key thing is, we won. We won.
MW: In 1986, you conceived of the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, in which thousands marched across the country from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. It was one of your biggest non-gay ventures.
MIXNER: Yeah. And the biggest political failure of my life. It was, in some ways, a success, but not because of me.
MIXNER: Ego. Pure and simple. You start believing what people tell you at a young age. So instead of defining yourself and your own journey and the path that God has chosen for you, I started living the expectations of how people said they saw me. And my ego got out of control.
Fortunately, I directed my ego to a good cause -- nuclear disarmament. The concept of the March was good and the cause was good. But the decision-making apparatus within the organization was flawed because of my ego. And it failed in the way I had planned it. Now the wonderful, magnificent part about this story is that the marchers reorganized on their own and continued to walk across country, despite the burden I had placed on them.
It is without a doubt my biggest political failure and my biggest regret. Years later, I still get shaky every time I talk about it. But I have some pride in how I handled it. I didn't blame others. I didn't hold fundraisers afterwards to ask people to raise money -- I paid off four hundred and some thousand dollars worth of small debt on my own over the next five years. It got an enormous amount of attention at the time.
It could have succeeded if I hadn't wanted to be liked by everybody and had exerted strong leadership. And I realize now that all those people who were carrying me on their shoulders and calling me Moses, when the slightest hint of trouble arose, dropped me to the floor and called me Satan. It was a valuable lesson. Very humbling.
MW: In your estimation, where does gay political activism stand today?
MIXNER: Light years ahead of where we were. Let's just sort of walk through it. I was one of the founders of the first gay and lesbian political PACs in history. And that partially came out of the fact of me coming out and becoming a victim -- "God, they're returning my money and they're not letting me play anymore" and " I'm a has-been at 30." My partner, Peter Scott, said to me, "You can either be a victim or you can fight back. What's the thing they respect more than anything else?" And I said, "Money." And he said, "Well, let's just speak their language." So we formed the first gay and lesbian PAC in history, called MECLA -- the Municipal Elections Committee of Los Angeles. It was the organization that HRC modeled itself after. We had the first big political dinner in Los Angeles. I'll never forget -- it made $40,000, an all-time record. And we couldn't believe it. Now, the other night, I sat in an audience in New York, where the gay and lesbian community raised $1.8 million for John Kerry in one night. And five days beforehand, the gay and lesbian community in the back yard of Senator Edward Kennedy raised another $300,000 for the fight against the amendment. And HRC in the last six months has raised a million to fight the amendment. And the Log Cabin Republicans raised almost a million to fight the amendment. Start adding it up -- we've almost raised $25 million this year alone. And back then we were thrilled with forty-fucking-thousand dollars. So look at how far we've come, that's my point.
Through the Victory Fund and other organizations around the country, we now have hundreds of openly gay and lesbian elected officials, which I believe is the most important thing for us to focus on. Any place where we have someone on the floor like Barney Frank or Tammy Baldwin in Congress or Sheila Kuehl in the California legislature, peoples attitudes change on the floor. They find it hard to face them down. You can't hate someone you know.
MW: Kerry and Edwards have taken some heat for not showing up for the amendment vote.
MIXNER: Let me just be real honest: I was disappointed that John Kerry and John Edwards didn't show up and vote.
There's a certain point you reach a line and you say, "This is why I got in office, when I was an idealist and I believed that I could change the world. This is exactly the kind of moment that I saw other people not display courage when I was a young man and got in office to change." This was such a moment. This goes right up there with the Civil Rights Bill of '64 or the Voting Bill of '65. It was a historical moment for our community. Now, am I going to support George Bush? Hell, no. Am I going to shoot myself in the foot? Hell, no. I'm not that stupid. But I was disappointed. But we're going to be disappointed as long as we put our future in someone else's hands. I often say I spent the first twenty years of my political career waiting for the perfect candidate and the last twenty years understanding there won't be a perfect candidate.
I think we've matured as a community to the degree where we can understand that we will be disappointed or have differences with people in power. African-Americans learned this, the Jewish community learned this -- you can't place your freedom in other peoples' hands. You just can't. You can't abdicate your own responsibility, to cherish it, keep it and fight for it. Or you will inevitably be disappointed and angry. And so, until we truly get to that point, where we have control over our own tribe and our own destiny as a community, and are able to make our gifts to this society unchecked, without fear of retribution, we have to create our alliances. But we learn when there's differences, we don't have to destroy ourselves over them. We can just say, "Look, we were disappointed. You did the wrong thing." We should never be the ones to enable them to think they can duck and that's the right thing. We should never be the ones to give them permission to take a pass on our freedom. We've matured enough to know that we can say to them, "You were wrong, but we're going to work side by side because there's a greater evil at stake here."
Let me just say that I've been also very happy with a lot of things John Kerry's done on DOMA and on Don't Ask Don't Tell, where he was on our side when no one else was. On balance, I think he has a distinguished record. I have no problem supporting him. I will enthusiastically go to the polls and support him to get rid what I consider the most dangerous president in all my life.
MW: George W. Bush.
MIXNER: He's a dangerous, dangerous man. The most dangerous president I have ever seen in all my years. He makes Nixon look like a liberal. If someone said to me, what do you think is the most dangerous thing about George W. Bush, well, I mean, it's hard to pick. But I always come up with a few choice bits. The obvious one is the tribe that I'm part of and what he's doing to us. Our civil liberties are at stake, our separation of church and state is at stake, our Supreme Court is at stake. The ability of the president to go to war at choice is at stake. And pretty much the foreign policy of our country and disregard for the Geneva Accord is at stake. Our obligations to international treaties are at stake. I can't remember when all of this has been at stake in an election. Planned Parenthood. Family clinics in Africa who can't get money to distribute condoms for AIDS. It's genocidal. This man has no regard for centuries of knowledge and tradition and the journeys of people who have stood for human rights and dignity. He has just completely thrown all of that aside. He is one of the most rigid ideologues I've ever seen occupy the presidency.
MW: How do you feel about outing as a political tactic?
MIXNER: Let me just say, having worked in a number of state legislatures and campaigns, there's nothing more infuriating than coming up to a closeted person who's working against you. When you're working eighteen hours a day, seven days a week and suddenly you find out that the guy who's sending out the negative press release is a member of your tribe. It's like blacks for George Wallace -- I'm like "Huh?"
Now, having said that, and understanding how infuriating it has been in my life to come across those people, it's so very important that, given our journey -- especially with AIDS -- that we don't become them. If our ideas rest and fall on extortion and blackmail, then what are our ideas worth? I hope we would create an attractiveness that would be irresistible to any closeted gay person, that they'd want to join us eventually. I'm terrified that I'm gonna wake up some morning and some kid on the Hill is going to have killed himself. And then how are we going to feel about outing? We're playing with people's lives. We're making their decisions for their life journeys. It's not a small deal. I almost killed myself when I was blackmailed. I know the terror I felt, I know the fear. I really hope that in this time where we have great ideas of human rights and liberty and justice and equality to take to the American people, and also to maybe redefine for them what love is, that our ideas and our chances on victory do not rest on such anger.
The world is filled with hypocrites. That is just a fact of life. Now the question is, do we give them a forum? Is that our battle? To out people? Or is our battle equality, justice and liberty? Where do we put our energy? Do we jerk off and feel good that got rid of our anger by outing these people? Or do we focus on the battle?
MW: There's been a significant growth among the gay community of Republicans. What's your feeling about their value to our movement?
MIXNER: Let me just disclose here, I'm a militant Democrat, so this is not an unbiased opinion. I don't understand gay Republicans. But I do understand courage. And sometimes courage is nothing more than a lack of options. And I do understand that what Patrick Guerriero and the Log Cabin Republican Club did in taking on the whole Republican party -- not only nationally, but state by state where they were being kicked out left and right -- was an act of courage. And they did more for fighting this amendment than ninety percent of the people who badmouth them for being gay Republicans. They went out, they raised money, they ran ads, they delivered votes. They worked hard, they took heat, they were blasted, they were dragged through the gutter, they were banned from conventions, they were denied delegate seats. And they kept fighting against this amendment. They didn't blink. God bless 'em.
MW: You've known Bill Clinton for thirty-five years. What are your thoughts about his presidency and the gay community?
MIXNER: Bill Clinton will go down in history as one of the greatest presidents for this community, ever. Ever, ever, ever, ever. For the scope and the breadth of the changes he made in the agencies and the State Department. It was against the law for us to openly serve in the State department before he came in. People seem to forget that. Against the law. We could not work in the State Department. He made historical changes across the board. But he was far from perfect -- DOMA, Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
MW: Have you read the book?
MIXNER: No. Nine hundred pages of his life, are you kidding? I don't think so. I won't read nine-hundred pages of my life.
MW: DOMA is not addressed in it.
MIXNER: If I was him, I wouldn't want to mention it either.
MW: Shouldn't it be?
MIXNER: Oh, there we go about what should be in the world again. Shouldn't there be peace? Look, look, let's just be real honest about this. I think Bill Clinton is one of the greatest presidents in our history. You know, my mama and father had pictures of Franklin Roosevelt in our living room. And I predict that young gay people down the road will have pictures of Bill Clinton in their living rooms or on their desks. And it will be one of the great sources of pride, those pictures.
MW: So you feel that his overall legacy to this community is...
MIXNER: Is extraordinary. The executive order banning discrimination against our community in every agency except the military but including the civilian defense department. Allowing us to serve in the Peace Corps. Allowing us to serve in the Job Corps. Opening up appointments -- I think there were something like a hundred appointments [serving in his administration]. I mean, come on. In 1988, the [Democratic] Caucus wouldn't even accept our money. That's a sea change where I come from. Perfect? No. I can go through his record and find things left and right that I wish he had done differently. But you know what? People can go through my life and find things left and right that should have been done differently, including myself. So I'm not going to pretend I'm sitting here as some sort of all-knowing, all-wise thing who would have just done everything right. I look back at some of the decisions I should have made in my own life and go, "Holy crap, please don't let anyone notice them."
MW: You're not mentioned in the book. What are your feelings on that?
MIXNER: It doesn't bother me in the least. That's the case where your ego gets in your way again. And I got burned so bad through my ego [with the Peace March], I'm very careful about that stuff. I know what my friendship is with the president. I know our journey. He knows our journey. We're good friends. It's been a splendid journey. We don't need a book to validate it. It's not up for a vote whether it was real or not.
MW: Do you think Kerry could equal Clinton's legacy towards gays?
MIXNER: I don't want him to. I don't want him to even look back at that record. We're a whole different community than we were in the 1990s. I want him to have a whole different image of us. And I want us to force him to look at us differently. He's going to be tempted to look at what he knows. And what he knows is the community of the 1990s. But we're a whole different tribe now. And we cannot be the ones to push the Clinton analogy out there. We've got to say, "Oh, no, no, no, that was a decade ago, honey. Listen, Mary, it's a whole new world." It's not enough to be appointed deputy deputy deputy deputy. We want cabinet. We want money from the DNC for our Senate candidates.
Electing your own in the political process is still the most important thing. I've often said I didn't spend these last twenty some years fighting for someone to be the head of the gay and lesbian student alliance. I've been fighting for twenty years so they can be president. Of the United States. And I mean it. I don't know if I'll live to see it, but then I actually didn't think I'd live long enough to see a lot of the stuff I've seen. I've been caught by surprise by how much progress we've made. So who knows?
MW: With sodomy overturned and marriage working its way into the culture, what as you see it are the political tasks left undone for our community?
MIXNER: I'm going to recreate your question. I'm not going to make it just political tasks. I think the greatest challenge after coming out is repairing our damaged self-esteem and our self-hatred. Even now, after being out all these years, I sometimes find myself surprised at my own homophobia or that moment where I say, "Well, do I bring this up?" We're the one group, in a nation that says it values honesty more than anything else, that was encouraged to lie -- we were so bad, so evil, so dark that this society which values honesty more than anything else said, "Please, lie." And they're still saying it. George Bush is still saying it. I read a phrase today and I just started laughing -- he said, "I don't mind what they do, as long as they keep to themselves."
Our churches tell us to lie, our families tell us to lie. Every institution this society values has reinforced how bad we are. That has manifested itself in alcoholism or drugs or any number of other problems, but also in holding back our gifts and talent. Not going for the excellence all time. And so I think repairing that self-esteem and removing that self-hatred is our greatest task. And the way we do that is with role models. There are so many fields and so many professions that we don't have anyone out in.
I would imagine that there's a kid on a little league team now who knows he's gay, and there is not one male gay pro baseball player -- except those who have gotten out, like Billy Bean -- who's out and playing ball. Now, I can tell you what that kid believes. That if he wants to play baseball, he can't be out. I promise you that's what he believes. And he's going to grow up that way.
We've got an enormous amount of work ahead to create a safe world for us all where we can flourish as open, talented and gifted people. But we've lost a generation of mentors and role models to AIDS. We've skipped a whole generation. So we have to deal with that. And we've hardly even articulated that, let alone dealt with it. And I'm guilty of that -- I don't like to talk about it. But it is a fact that I have come to realize lately. During this constitutional amendment battle, I couldn't understand why some of these young people weren't fighting harder or were more scared. And then I realized -- they've never been in battle, or known anyone who had been in battle. Because [so many] had died in battle. So they haven't had anyone to teach them how to fight.
One of the great historical traditions since the Greeks and the Romans is the passing down of knowledge. And once I realized that, I realized this is something we have to come to terms with in the community. That we have to educate our young about our history, how to fight, how to be noble in battle, and how to never, ever give someone permission to use your freedom as a political football.
Vietnam Vets in Camp INTA
More than 1,000 American enlisted personnel and officers.
Where they were imprisoned and killed, and their records burned in the boiler room in the eastern suburb on Shakhtnaya Street.
But MORE are STILL being seen from witnesses. RUSSIAN witnesses.
Camps in the Area of Moscow
In 1947, while in pre-trial confinement in Potsdam, a Polish witness shared a cell with a U.S. Army sergeant, reportedly a gunner. The witness believed that the sergeant had unintentionally entered the Soviet Zone in Berlin by car and had been immediately arrested. The source described the American as a sturdy fellow, whose father was a farmer. The American gave the source an overcoat. They spoke German, although both spoke it very poorly. They met again at the Lubyanka Prison in Moscow at the turn of 1948. 1
A follow-up interview with the source revealed that in the winter of 1948-1949, he saw the same American in the Transit Prison at Sverdlovsk-Na-Urale. He waved at the American from afar and never saw the American again. Some time after this encounter, source heard from a French officer that the American was shot and killed while attempting to escape. 2
Monino Air Force Academy
During a series of interviews in 1996, a Soviet veteran who lived in Minsk claimed to have seen a U.S. POW in May or June 1953. The POW reportedly was a Korean War F-86D pilot whose plane had been forced to land. The pilot landed his plane undamaged, was captured, and his aircraft taken to Moscow. The incident occurred in the late spring of 1953. According to the witness--who served in An Dun, China, from December 1952 through February 1954--the pilot was sent to Moscow the day after his forced landing, "because Stalin wanted to speak with him." The witness said that his commander, Colonel Ivan Nikolayevich Kozhedub, interrogated the pilot. He believed the U.S. POW was not injured. The witness stated that the late General Vasiliy Kuzmich Sidorenkov had a picture of the American POW, which Sidorenkov showed to him years ago, declaring, "that's our American." He stated that the U.S. POW depicted in the photo was white, with light brown hair and blue or light brown eyes, was about five feet seven inches tall, and had a two and half inch scar above the right eye. The witness revealed that this pilot later became an instructor and taught at the Monino Air Force Academy in Moscow from 1953-58. The U.S. POW did not speak Russian and served at Monino under an assumed Russian name. He did not know the name and could not recall any other details about the U.S. POW, who reportedly taught air battle techniques and tactics and assisted the Soviets in figuring out a U.S. radar sight (radio-lokatsionniy pritsel). 3
Krasnaya Presnya Prison
In a letter to President Nixon, repatriated American John Noble reported that, inscribed in the wall of Krasnaya Presnya Prison in Moscow, he saw the name of a Major Roberts or Robbins, with his American address and the inscription, "I am sick and don't expect to live through this....". 4 In 1958 Mr. Noble reported this incident had occurred in Orsha Transit Prison. Inscribed on a cell wall in the transit prison in Orsha, Byelorussia, (where he was imprisoned prior to his confinement at Krasnaya Presnya) was the name Roberts, Robertson, or Robins followed by a date in mid-August 1950 and "Maj., U.S.A.". 5 [Major Frank A. Roberts, and Captains Robert Roberts and Edward Robbins, are among the 125 service members missing from WWII with the last name of Roberts or Robbins.]
Moscow Transit Prison
In 1954, a German returnee reported meeting an American Army or Air Force captain while detained in the Moscow Transit Prison in 1949. Source was imprisoned in one cell with 19 other German officers from February to April 1949. For three to five days in March another prisoner was placed in source's cell. This prisoner spoke broken German with an American accent and also spoke fluent Russian. He claimed to be a captain in the U.S. Army or Air Force. The Soviet Internal Security Forces reportedly arrested him in the USSR while operating as an agent. Source described him as 30-35 years old, five feet eleven inches tall, slim, athletic build, black hair, slender face with a straight nose and medium-sized ears. He was reticent, but energetic. He gave the impression of being well educated. Source had no further information about the man. 6
Camps in the Area of Vladimirskaya
A United Press release, dated 1 September 1955, reported that nine Austrians and one Italian were released from a Russian prison camp. The returnees reported that U.S. servicemen Wilfred Cumish [returned], Sidney Sparks [returned], Frederick Hopkins [returned], and Grisham [not returned] were in the same camp. 7 [Captain David Howard Grisham, USAF, went missing from the Korean War on 3 September 1950].
Camps in the Area of Mordovska
Several repatriated Iranian witnesses claimed that, at this location in 1953, they knew of an American, a Colonel Jackson, who had been reportedly kidnapped by the Soviets in Berlin. 8
In March 1955 a repatriated German POW informed U.S. Air Force debriefers that in June 1954, while interned in a prisoner of war camp awaiting repatriation to Germany, he met three alleged Americans who had arrived in the camp from Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg). One was approximately 43 years old, five feet nine inches tall, stout build, blond hair with gray streaks combed back, brownish-gray eyes, and a full face. Although born in Russia, his parents immigrated with him to the United States where they later became U.S. citizens. He claimed to be former a Military Policeman who accidentally crossed into the Soviet Sector of Berlin shortly after World War II. The second was described as approximately 30 years old, five feet one inch tall, with a stout build, blond curly hair, and gray eyes. He was called "Jolly", spoke German and worked at the camp dispensary. The third was described as a black man, 30 years old, five feet ten inches, and had a slim build. He did not speak German or Russian. The alleged Americans never received any packages from the Red Cross or any mail. On 27 December 1954, they told the German good-bye, stating that the Russian authorities had informed them they would be repatriated. The source had no further information about where the Russians transported the alleged Americans. 9
Potma Camp No. 18
An Estonian witness alleged that he met a U.S. POW from Korea in 1952. The POW's first name was Gary or Harry. The POW was still at the camp when the witness left in the autumn of 1953. 10
Potma Camp No. 19
A Polish witness was the chief of a work brigade in Camp No. 19 in Potma, working primarily in the forest. He claimed there were a few Americans among the 17 nationalities in his brigade. 11
Potma Camp No. 385
In 1960, a German source reported that while interned in the Soviet Union he met two American military personnel. Source met the first American in the autumn of 1957 at Potma Camp No. 385, Sub-camp No. 11 and last saw him in the autumn of 1959 in Sub-camp No. 7. The American was named Jack. He was a light-skinned African-American, 28-30 years old, six feet five or six feet six inches tall, and slender. Jack's mother was part Native American. He had lived in Saint Louis, Missouri. Jack had originally served with the U.S. Constabulary in Bad Hershfeld, Germany as a "First Sergeant." Jack showed source a photo of himself wearing a uniform with a 7th Army patch and Constabulary insignia. Source could not remember any rank insignia. After serving in Bad Hershfeld, Jack returned to the United States. At an unknown date Jack returned to Europe as a member of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). He was stationed at Celle Airfield during the Berlin airlift, and later with the Military Police in Berlin as a "Sergeant Major." Jack showed the source a second photograph of himself in an "Ike" jacket with Air Force staff sergeant stripes and airborne (parachute) insignia above the jacket pocket. The third photograph was of Jack in a military police uniform with a white garrison cap with visor, leggings, Sam Brown belt, and a .45 holster. In this picture, Jack was standing in front of a military police jeep with the Memorial Church in Berlin in the background. The United States Army Europe and USAFE emblem with "Highway Patrol" in the center appeared just below the windshield of the jeep. Reportedly, Jack went out one evening in Berlin and awoke the next morning in the custody of Soviet authorities in the town of Karlshorst. He was not allowed to write friends or relatives. 12
Source met the second alleged American in Sub-camp No. 11-1 in 1958. This individual claimed to have been a Marine who fought the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II. He was arrested in Manchuria around 1944 supposedly because he was of Russian heritage. He was between 36 and 38 years old. This individual was permitted to write and receive mail from New Jersey via an unknown location in Sweden.
A former German POW met an American prisoner, John Hansen, in August 1955, after having previously heard about him from another prisoner as early as 1953. John Hansen spoke both German and Russian and was described as five feet six inches tall, medium build with brown hair and gray eyes. 13 [SGT John Hansen, GM2C John Hansen, and 1LT John Hanson are missing from WWII. These three are among the 88 service members with the last name of Hansen or Hanson missing from WWII.]
Saransk Camp No. 8
In 1955, a CIA source reported meeting an American from Philadelphia who was a pilot during World War II. He was fairly tall, very strong, and approximately 30 years old with light brown hair and gray eyes. 14
Camps in the Area of Rostov
Novocherkassk Camp No. 1/421
During a 1947 interview, a former German POW reported that he met two American soldiers in POW Hospital 5351 located at Novocherkassk in September 1945. The Americans stayed at the hospital until February 1946, when they were transferred to an engine factory in the same town. The witness provided the names of five other sources that he claimed would be able to verify this information. The one source contacted did in fact verify the account as provided by the witness. 15
Camps in the Area of Kirov
Repatriated American William Marchuk received information from a German POW who was imprisoned in the Kirov camp. The German stated that he was in the camp together with nine American POWs, all captains and majors, who were Korean War aviators.< 16
Camps in the Area of Komi
A German source who was interned in a prisoner of war camp in Inta from January 1949 to September 1950 reported seeing an American pilot while on detached duty in a prisoner of war camp in Abez from May to November 1949. Among the prisoners was an American who was said to be a pilot shot down in World War II. The alleged American was still in Abez when the source left in November 1949. 17
Inta Camp No. 6
A Ukrainian witness in Topol-3 near Dnepropetrovsk stated that he was interned in Inta Camp No. 6 from 1949 through 1955. During that time, the camp held many foreigners of various nationalities. In 1952, a man who claimed to be an American, referred to as Leonid Teryashchenko (a pseudonym), was transferred to Inta. Teryashchenko's real name was never disclosed. His prisoner number had an additional slash and digit following the usual letter and three-digit sequence of the other prisoners. The witness frequently talked to Teryashchenko, who told the witness that he was imprisoned for political reasons. The witness described Teryashchenko as an athletic man with a large frame, a former boxer, approximately 30-33 years old. In late 1953 or early 1954 Teryashchenko committed suicide to avoid further torture. Teryashchenko overpowered one of the guards, took his weapon, and shot himself in the mouth. He was buried in a common grave in the camp (exact location unknown). 18
Inta Camp No. 3
A Polish witness recalled meeting two Americans in Camp No. 3 in Inta in 1954. They worked in his brigade, which was led by Wladyslaw Szyszko. He related that while they were building a bridge one of the Americans jumped into the Kosju River and drowned. 19
A Russian witness claimed that, from 1956 until 1975, the KGB maintained a facility on the shore of the river Inta. In 1965, people were brought to Inta from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, where they were imprisoned and killed, and their records burned in the boiler room in the eastern suburb on Shakhtnaya Street. More than 1,000 people ended up in the Inta prison, both American enlisted personnel and officers. The witness claimed that this information could be confirmed by Petr Ivanovich Kuznetsov, who reportedly worked as a driver for the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) for twenty years. He now lives on Mir Street in Inta. Efforts to contact Mr. Kuznetsov during a visit to Inta in October 2000 proved unsuccessful as Mr. Kuznetsov claimed that he was too ill to meet with USRJC representatives who traveled to Inta to speak with him. 20
A Polish witness reported two Americans in a camp in 1949-1950. 21
A CIA source reported in that in 1948 that he met an alleged American citizen who had Polish documents in the name of Fawitsky or Faveleki. The American refused to reveal his true name. He spoke German, Russian, French, and English fluently. Source stated Soviets had a photograph of the reported American in an U.S. enlisted man's uniform. Source last saw this man in Lubyanka Prison in 1951. 22
A Russian witness indicated that she had spent four years in the Inta "Minlag" camp complex (1952-1956). During that time, she heard reports of two American flyers in the Inta camp complex in the early 1950s, although she did not see them herself. Some of the women who worked in the central hospital said there were many foreigners in the camp, including two American pilots. According to these reports, the two men were shot down or forced down over Germany after having strayed over Soviet-occupied territory. One of the two was white, while the other had black skin (chernokozhiy). The witness said that these women told her the reputed Americans had been imprisoned since 1946. 23
Inta Mining Camp, Section No. 5
A CIA source reported in 1957 that while interned he became acquainted with an American citizen. This individual was named Jan (John) with a double family name - the first American, the second Polish. He was born in the United States of Polish and French extraction. Jan was a U.S. Army captain stationed in Berlin from 1946 to 1947. The Soviets arrested him in the Soviet Zone while he was visiting his girlfriend. Source last saw Jan in September 1953 at the eye, ear, and nose clinic of the Section No. 5, Barracks 27 hospital. 24
Inta Mining Camp No. 15
A Russian stated that he knew of two Americans in the Inta Gulag system who were detained at Mining Camp Number 15 (circa 1950). The two men were U.S. service members and went by the names of John and Michael. 25
A Lithuanian witness claimed to have met an American Major or Colonel on 15 or 16 February 1950. The American reportedly was captured in the Ukraine during WWII. The witness saw him on two occasions before being sent into exile. 26
Pechora Kozhva (Koschwa)
A German POW reportedly had direct contact with a U.S. Air Force Captain described as being five feet eleven inches tall, 28-33 years old, with reddish hair. The witness last saw him on 5 January 1950. The American claimed that at the end of WWII he was arrested for participating in an altercation at a Moscow restaurant. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. The American spoke broken German. 27
A German interned in Ukhta from 1947 to February 1950 reported meeting and developing a friendship based on an escape plot with an American citizen named James Stafford, who reportedly arrived in Ukhta in 1948. Stafford was born between 1910 and 1914 in Breslau, Germany, where his father worked for the city police. His father immigrated to the U.S. via Czechoslovakia in 1919. Stafford followed with his mother and sister in 1920. Stafford's mother was from Chemnitz, Germany. The family changed their surname from Lenz to Stafford and settled in San Francisco. Stafford attended school in San Francisco and married a South American woman who bore him a son. Stafford claimed to be an American intelligence operative. After six months training, in 1939 he was posted to his first assignment as a radio technician in Spain. During World War II he carried out various missions in Germany until German Counter Intelligence finally captured him in Helsinki. The Germans transported him to Tallinn for execution. When the Russians captured Tallinn, they freed him. The Russians arrested him in 1945 while he was attempting to escape to Finland with a group of Estonian civilians. He was first sent to a camp in Kirov, where he escaped and was recaptured before eventually being sent to Ukhta. Stafford was better known in the camp by his World War II cover name Kurt Nisslone or Nissloni. The Russians knew his American identity but had sentenced him under the name Nissloni Stafford. James Stafford was husky, five foot seven inches tall, 165 pounds, dark hair, gray-blue eyes, prominent cheekbones, short chin, and high forehead. He spoke fluent American English, German with a Silesian dialect, and Russian. Stafford was still in Ukhta when source was transported from camp in February 1950. The day before source departed Stafford requested if source ever returned to West Germany that he contact the nearest American intelligence office and report he had met Stafford in a Russian penal camp. Stafford told him "All you have to do is mention to them that you met K-226 Helsinki and they will know who I am". 28
An earlier report, most likely from the same source, reported almost the exact same information about James Stafford with the additional information that Stafford had worked in Helsinki as an American newspaper journalist and his journalist ID card No. was K-226. 29
Ukhta Camp No. 226/4
A German source interned in a Russian labor camp from January 1949 to December 1953 became acquainted with two alleged members of the U.S. Army who were transferred from the Soviet Prison in Hohenschoenhausen, East Germany to Ukhta Camp No. 226/4 in July 1948. Source had occasional conversations with these individuals between 16 January and 19 July 1949. Source reported meeting a U.S. Army major named Bob. He formerly resided in New York. Stationed in Berlin, the Soviets lured Bob into the Soviet Sector where he was arrested for espionage. Bob was approximately 28 years old, five feet eleven inches, squarely built with dark hair and bright eyes. The second American was an Army sergeant named Jack, approximately 22 years old, five feet three inches, slender, with thin fair hair, a "boxer's" nose, and sunken eyes. Source heard from other convicts that Bob and Jack were transferred to Siberia in autumn 1949. Source stated that a special camp for foreign convicts (Americans, English, French etc.) was located in Siberia. 30
Ust-Ukhta Camp No. 2, No. 3, and No. 14
A German source interned from December 1949 to June 1953 reported meeting two members of the U.S. Air Force. In December of 1949, while confined in Camp No. 3 source heard two individuals speaking English and asked them who they were. They responded that they were Americans who made a forced landing in Kharkov in 1949 when their four-engine bomber lost both right engines. One man was named Harry Rosenberg. Rosenberg showed the source a U.S. Air Force cap which he had in his pocket. It was a gray-blue overseas cap with an airman's U.S. insignia with a silver airman's wing insignia, and one silver horizontal bar. Harry was 26 years old, five feet seven inches, slim with black hair. He had a scar on his upper right arm and spoke some German. In camp he wore a bright blue airman's shirt without pockets. Sometimes he wore a brown-green shirt with two pockets closed with buttons. He wore Russian work clothes in the winter. Source did not recall the second mans name. He was five feet nine inches, blond, slim, broad-shouldered, and lame in the right leg. He wore similar clothes to Harry Rosenberg's but also had a plain beige tie. Both men were reportedly from New York State. In January 1950 source and the two airmen were transferred to Camp No. 14. In March or April 1950 Harry Rosenberg escaped, making it as far as Kotlas before being caught and returned to Camp No. 14. He was placed in a special prison as punishment. Source was placed in the same prison with Rosenberg a few days later. Ten days later source was released from the special prison back into Camp No. 14. Harry Rosenberg was transferred to the disciplinary barracks in Camp No. 2. In the summer of 1950 a prison gang murdered the second American while robbing him. Source along with three Russian prisoners buried the American in a cemetery containing five thousand graves located 1.24 miles from Camp No. 14. They placed a wooden cross with the letters U.S. made of copper on the grave. Soon after this incident source was transferred to Camp No. 2 where he once again spoke with Harry Rosenberg. In autumn 1951 source saw Harry Rosenberg being escorted through the camp gate by two soldiers. They exchanged a few words. Rosenberg stated he was going to Moscow. This was the last time source saw or heard of Harry Rosenberg. 31
A witness met and spoke with a group of eleven American prisoners in December 1946, at Vorkuta. All were flyers, one was black, and they included both officers and enlisted men. They were kept in a small barracks separated from the rest of the camp and surrounded by barbed wire. The witness claimed these might have been part of a group of American pilots coerced into staying in the Soviet Union after WWII. These pilots claimed to have flown missions against Nazi targets using airfields in the Soviet Union. 32
A German witness reported meeting U.S. Air Force member Bob (last name unknown), in July 1951. Bob had been stationed in Berlin as a U.S. Air Force bombardier. While visiting his girlfriend in the Soviet Sector in 1948 or 1949, he was arrested and sent to Vorkuta. He previously lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spoke only English. Bob was 30-35 years old, five feet eight inches tall, and had dark hair. 33
A source that had been imprisoned in Vorkuta reported meeting an American with the last name "Cox," whose physical description matched that of a West Point cadet named Richard Alvin Cox, who mysteriously disappeared from the U.S. Military Academy on 14 January 1950. 34
However, further investigation and analysis of the primary source document (NBG Team, 7051st Air INTSERON, 7050th Air INTSERGU Air Intelligence Information Report IR-255-56 dated 18 December 1956) 35 indicated the individual named "Cox" encountered by the source was probably Private Homer H. Cox, a U.S. military policeman who was detained by Soviet authorities in East Germany in September 1949. Private Cox was detained in Vorkuta and released on 29 December 1953. 36 He returned to his home state of Oklahoma, and died of pneumonia in 1954. 37
The primary source document stated: COX, first name unknown, from CHICHASHA (3501N/9755E) OKLAHOMA, 30-35 years old, blond, five feet eight inches tall. Source heard from fellow prisoners that this man deserted his military unit in West Germany.
A Lithuanian witness in Vilnius stated that while a prisoner in a camp in Vorkuta he met a prisoner who claimed to be a U.S. WWII pilot named John. 38
A woman from Kiev reported that during interviews with former prisoners in the Vorkuta and Berlag camps, several claimed to have seen American pilots. The pilots were shot down during the Korean War. 39
The son of a Soviet engineer stationed at Vorkuta stated that of the several thousand persons in that camp complex, there were two black American soldiers, an American major, and several British citizens, as well as "other Europeans." 40
In 1962, while living in Vorkuta, a Russian journalist stated that he conducted an expose on the KGB, presumably to highlight its good work at protecting the borders of the Soviet Union. To present his findings, the reporter held a press conference with several KGB officers in attendance. The journalist asked the officers whether there were any U.S. servicemen in Vorkuta. He reported that one KGB officer commented, "Of course we have American prisoners from the Korean War here in Vorkuta." When asked to expound on this, the officer demurred, indicating that he did not want to discuss the issue any further. 41
A female source, who was imprisoned in Vorkuta and Ukhta from December 1947 until December 1953, reported the presence of American or British, and French male prisoners in Vorkuta. Other female prisoners, who spoke French and English, told this to source in March 1953 while working at an excavation site in Vorkuta. The English-speaking male prisoners were supposedly airmen who had been arrested after bailing out of their aircraft. 42
A CIA source reported in 1955 that among the prisoners in Vorkuta was an American citizen named Walter Kovalik. Kovalik was born in 1921. He was missing his right arm. Kovalik was arrested in Mongolia on an unknown date. He gave his address as 4406 South Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. His sister Mrs. Frank (Katherina) Sarna lived at the same address. 43
A female Austrian returnee interned from 1946 to 1955 reported meeting an American colonel in Vorkuta. In 1946, source met the alleged American, Colonel Davison, in the Soviet prison located in the basement of a building at Tolbuchkinstrasse 48, Vienna in 1946. The Prison Commander was Lt. Colonel Dobrovolsky. Source's interrogator was named Ivan Ivanovich Petrov. Colonel Davison's case was handled by Colonel Ponomorev, a member of the Soviet element of the Vienna Inter-Allied Command. Colonel Davison was interrogated by a Major Orlov. Davison was approximately 48 years old, and came from Ohio. He was arrested in February 1946 at the Hotel Erzherzog Rainer in IV (Soviet) Bezirk of Vienna after being set-up by an Estonian dancer and Soviet agent named Helena Leit. Source later met Davison in Vorkuta in 1947. When source left Vorkuta in 1950, Davison was ill in the camp hospital. In 1953 in Verkhne-Uralsk source learned from two other American prisoners (see p. 28) that Davison was out of the hospital and still in Vorkuta. 44
Vorkuta Camp No. 1
A CIA source stated in 1954 that a person who claimed to be an American flyer had been in Vorkuta since 1948. 45
Vorkuta Camp No. 1, 9/10, and 11
A German source was interned in Vorkuta from July 1950 to June 1953. On numerous occasions he spoke with a fellow prisoner who claimed to be an American. The prisoner claimed to be a U.S. Army corporal named Bill Matthiuk, a member of the U.S. Occupation Forces in Berlin. He was arrested in Potsdam in 1948 after falling asleep on a train. At the time, he was twenty-five or 26 years old, stout, dark blond with bushy eyebrows. Source last saw him in December 1952. 46 [This is possibly Private William T. Marchuk, U.S. Army. Private Marchuk was reported absent without leave 1 February 1949 in Berlin. He was imprisoned in Vorkuta and other camps in the Soviet Union until his release to U.S. authorities on 8 January 1955.]
Vorkuta Camp No. 3
Repatriated American John Noble reported that shortly after his arrival at Camp No. 3, he had spoken with a Yugoslavian national. The Yugoslav told him that several months before, an American Navy reconnaissance plane had been downed by the Soviets over the Baltic Sea and that eight of the ten crewmembers had survived. The survivors were being held in the Vorkuta area. However, they were told that the United States Government had accepted the official Soviet statement declaring them dead. This effectively doomed their chances of ever returning to America. Noble was never able to identify the survivors by name. However, he heard repeatedly from other inmates who were transferred from one camp to another that Americans were held in the same camps from which the transferees had come. 47
Vorkuta Camp No. 6
A German witness reported that he knew a U.S. Major Schwartz from 1951 until 1952. Schwartz had been stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, when Soviet security police in Kassel, West Germany, kidnapped him in 1949. The American, last seen by the witness in 1952, spoke Russian and English. He was described as being 51 to 56 years old, five feet ten inches to six feet tall, 165 to 175 pounds, dark hair, dark complexion with protruding teeth and a missing upper front tooth.48
Vorkuta Camp No. 6
A returned German reported that, while interned from March 1950 to January 1954 he occasionally conversed with prisoners who claimed to be U.S. citizens. In early 1953 source met a colonel in the U.S. Army, approximately 50 years old, five feet eleven inches, slender with gray hair. He claimed the Russians kidnapped him in the Russian Sector of Vienna in 1948, while he was making a trip by car with his girlfriend. Source stated this prisoner was still in Camp No.6 when he left Vorkuta in January 1954. Once in January of 1954 at the tailor's shop, source met an alleged U.S. Army soldier named Joe, approximately 40 years old, five feet seven inches, slender, with dark blonde hair. Joe had a scar over his right eye and limped on his right leg. He was sentenced to five years hard labor in 1945 and had been "free" since 1950. He lived in exile in the Vorkuta area with a Russian woman. Joe worked as the head of the bath-house for Coal Mine No. 29. 49
Vorkuta Camp No. 9
An Austrian journalist imprisoned in various camps from 1948 until 1954, claimed to have known a naturalized American, Colonel Brandenfels, in Vorkuta in 1951. (Brandenfels was reportedly the name he used before becoming an American citizen.) The American had been stationed in Berlin after WWII and was picked up in a bar in the Soviet Zone. 50
Vorkuta Camp No. 9
While detained in labor camp Number 9 in 1952, a former German POW heard from camp guards and officers rumors of Americans detained in Vorkuta. In early 1952, the camp's security officer, Fedor Nikolayevich Kolesnikov, told the source he had seen the American officers. The source also spoke with the Chief of State Security for Vorkuta, Mishanov, who acknowledged Kolesnikov's statement. The source reported that seven American military prisoners were reportedly detained in the Vorkut Mekhanicheskiy Zavod (The Vorkuta Mechanical Factory) Camp Complex, camp number 23 or 25 - one lieutenant colonel, two majors, two captains, and two civilian engineers. Another American prisoner was detained in Camp No. 9 and worked in Coal Mine No. 8. Source remembers the latter American's name as Johnny Thomson or Johnny Chemson. This American prisoner told the source that he had been the first engineer of an American vessel anchored at Port Author, USSR (no timeframe reported). The engineer went on a short errand ashore, was arrested for illegally entering the harbor area, and sentenced to six to seven years in the Vorkuta Gulag. Source doubted whether the Soviet authorities would release him after he completed his sentence. He believed that the engineer would have been forcibly settled somewhere in the Urals. Source also noted that the Soviet authorities seemed proud of having American officers in custody. 51
Vorkuta Camp No. 13
A German interned from November 1950 to June 1953 reported meeting an American soldier while working in Coal Mine No. 13. In November of 1950 source became acquainted with a man named Frank who claimed to have been an army sergeant in the Berlin motor pool. In early 1949 Frank had been at a restaurant in Berlin-Neukoelln near the border of the U.S.-Soviet sectors. He decided to return home via a short cut through the Soviet Sector. Russian soldiers arrested him while still in the U.S. zone. He was sent to Vorkuta in October 1950 and was transferred to an unknown labor camp in November 1951. Frank was 27 to 30, six feet tall, dark hair, olive skin, broad-shouldered with athletic build. He spoke German with an American accent and Russian. His parents were allegedly Russian. 52
Vorkuta Camp No. 223/III
A German Returnee who was interned from June 1950 to December 1953 reported meeting a man who claimed to be an officer in the U.S. Army. From 1951 to the summer of 1952 the source occasionally spoke with a prisoner who worked as the camp bookkeeper. He spoke fluent English as well as German, French, and Russian. He claimed to be a U.S. Army colonel who at one time was the military attaché in Leningrad. Source described him as approximately 35 years old, five feet eleven inches, slender, with blonde hair and blue eyes. He had a twisted mouth. He left Vorkuta in the summer of 1952. 53
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 1
A Polish witness arrived at Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 1 in 1950. Other prisoners showed him an American Colonel. He appeared about 60 years old, was quite tall, broad-shouldered, and pale. He wore a quilted jacket and did not converse with other prisoners. After some time the camp administration summoned the Colonel, returned his gold ring and watch, and released him from Vorkuta. 54
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 1
A Polish witness claimed to have met an American pilot in the summer of 1946. They could not understand each other, but the witness was able to understand that the pilot "fell down" from a plane. He was tall (six feet), fine-figured, dark-skinned, with an oval face. He looked robust. The witness saw him in the camp for a few days, and did not know what became of the American. 55
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 1
A Polish source who was at this camp in 1954 heard that an American colonel downed over East Germany (near Berlin) was among a group of prisoners who arrived that year. 56
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 6
A Polish witness recalled that an American arrived at the camp around June of 1953. Other prisoners told the witness that the American was a pilot from a spy plane downed by the Soviets. The American was approximately 40 years old, over six feet tall with an oval face and a shaved head, wearing a quilted jacket (like everybody else). His Russian was very poor. The witness saw him while the Polish prisoners were being prepared for release. 57
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 6
In 1954 this Polish witness came into contact with an American and had a short conversation with him (The source's English was poor and the American could not speak Russian). The American stated that he was a colonel in the U.S. Army, captured in Vienna by Soviet agents. He looked about 40 years old, of medium height, thickset, with dark or auburn hair. The witness left the camp in 1953 [sic] and did not know what happened to the American. 58
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 7
A Polish witness reported that he met an American colonel, kidnapped in Berlin. The American recounted that at first he had been sent to Moscow (Lubyanka Prison). He was originally sentenced to death, but the sentence was somehow commuted to 25 years' imprisonment. He was sent to Vorkuta and worked in Coal Mine No. 7, where the source first met him. The witness met him a second time between May and June 1954 in prison in Tayshet, while being moved from Tayshet to Krasnoyarsk. The American told the witness that, after the uprising in Coal Mine No. 7 in Vorkuta in 1953, he had been sentenced to death because of his participation in the uprising. However his sentence was commuted to 10 years in a camp somewhere in the Irkutsk District. The American was of average height with blond hair and was about 45 years old. 59
Vorkuta Mine No. 9
A German witness met a U.S. Navy Ensign named Sobeloff [Sobelev], reportedly captured in China in 1948, when Communist forces took control of the country. Sobeloff claimed to have been the Captain of a U.S. vessel at the time of his capture. He was Russian by birth, but a U.S. citizen. He was last seen at Vorkuta Mine No. 9 in November 1955. 60
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 11
A Polish witness was moved from Coal Mine No. 9/10 to Coal Mine No. 11 in Vorkuta. While at Coal Mine No. 11, he came into close contact with an American officer named Langier, who had been captured by the Soviets somewhere in Eastern Asia and sentenced for espionage. Langier worked at the baths. He spoke some Polish and claimed he had some Polish friends in the USA. The source believed Langier was from Alabama. He was tall, fair-haired and very friendly. Langier sometimes shared food with the source. He also helped him transfer back to Coal Mine No. 9/10 (Langier had a good relationship with the camp doctor). When the witness was released in 1954, the camp at Coal Mine No. 11 no longer existed. The witness assumed that Langier had been moved somewhere else earlier. 61 [There are at least 39 service members missing from WWII with the last name of Lang, Lange, or Langer.
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 16
In 1951 or 1952 a Polish witness remembered meeting a young American 20-25 years old, thin, medium-sized, who spoke Russian and worked at the baths. The witness believed he had been captured in Germany. The witness also heard rumors about an American plane downed over Latvia near the town of Limbava and that the crew was imprisoned in one of the camps. 62
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 29
In 1955, a German source imprisoned in Vorkuta from September 1950 to June 1953 reported meeting an American citizen named Harry. Harry's last name sounded like "Waterwolf", but he was always addressed or referred to as "Ami". Harry spoke almost fluent Russian and some German. The source spoke some English allowing the two to communicate. Harry claimed to be a member of a control board which examined an air crash between an American and a Soviet aircraft in the Soviet Zone of Germany near Berlin. Source could not recall the circumstances of Harry's arrest. He was transported from Berlin to Moscow where he was placed on a transport to Vorkuta with the source. In July 1951, Harry transferred to the camp that served Coal Mines No. 12, 14, and 16. In 1953 while in Moscow, source heard from a fellow prisoner that Harry was still in Vorkuta. Harry's parents were Americans living in Japan when he was born. He was described as 28 years old, six feet one inch tall, dark blue eyes, thin blond hair, very slender with tattooed arms and chest. The left side of his face appeared paralyzed with the skin hanging loose. The red of his left eye was visible. He stated this was the result of an air crash. 63
Vorkuta Coal Mine No. 40
A Polish witness recalled that in early September of 1951 or 1952--after some kind of Russian-American incident in Berlin--a large number of Germans were brought to Vorkuta. They came mostly from Berlin (both East and West) and around 20 ended up in Coal Mine No. 40. One German from this group was about 45 years old, a doctor and disabled soldier who had a platinum plate in his skull. He related that during a rail trip to Vorkuta he had met in the carriage an American major who had been captured on the street in Berlin near the East-West border. He believed there were a total of three Americans in this convoy, and that, at a transfer point, they were directed to other coal mines in Vorkuta. 64
Vorkuta Pit No. 40
Austrian witnesses reportedly met an American who immigrated to the U.S. as a child. His adopted name was Bizet. The Soviets referred to him by his birth name, Wasiljevski. He was supposedly taken prisoner by the Soviets in 1945 in Korea where he was serving with the U.S. Navy. The Soviets reportedly did not recognize him as a U.S. citizen. 65
Vorkuta Transit Camp
A German source reported that in August 1949 he met an individual who claimed to be a U.S. Army colonel. This individual claimed to have been on a secret mission in the Soviet Zone of Germany when arrested. He was described as between 44-45 years old, five feet seven to five feet nine inches tall with dark hair and a slender build. He claimed to have been a spy in Germany during World War II. He spoke fluent German with no accent and was never heard to speak English. 66
Vorkuta Transit Camp
A German source reported that between 4 and 18 October 1949, he saw an alleged U.S. Army colonel. He was in U.S. uniform without insignia, stout, five feet nine inches, 40-45 years old with dark blond hair. Source did not speak with the alleged American; however, German Lt. General Schartz spoke with him in English. General Schartz later told source that the man had claimed to be a U.S. colonel arrested in the Soviet Zone of Vienna. General Schartz did not believe the man was really an American but was an informer posing as one. 67
Vorkuta Transit Camp No. 58
A former German POW claimed to have had direct contact with an Army or Air Force colonel (five feet eleven inches tall with dark blond hair) during the week of August 21-25, 1949. The U.S. colonel spoke perfect German. He claimed to have been dropped behind German lines during WWII to conduct espionage and was captured in East Germany. 68
Vorkuta Distribution Camp No. 61
A former German POW reported direct contact with a U.S. major (five feet nine inches tall with blue-gray eyes, moustache, and slim build) who claimed to have been kidnapped in 1945 while the Americans were still at the Elbe River. The Soviets sentenced him to 25 years for espionage. He wore an American uniform. 69
Vorkuta OLP 8
While in the hospital of separate labor camp sub-sector "OLP 8" from September 1949 to March 1950, a German source was in the same ward as an American citizen. The American's last name ended in "ich". He was 58-60 years old, slender with black hair, between five feet nine and five feet eleven inches tall. The alleged American was born in San Francisco of Yugoslavian decent. He was employed on an American vessel as chief engineer. In 1946, while on a trip from Port Duna, Soviet authorities arrested him in Vladivostok. When source was released from the hospital the American had recovered considerably and was expecting to be repatriated. 70
Vorkuta OLP 9
While detained in separate labor camp sub-sector "OLP 9" in 1953, a former German POW heard from a driver that approximately 19 miles north of Vorkuta was a Camp of Silence (the inmates of the camp did not have to work, and were not eligible for mail privileges). According to the driver, who was an ex-prisoner engaged in hauling supplies to various camps, this Camp of Silence held Americans and British captured in Korea. 71
Camps in the Area of Molotov (Perm)
A CIA report dated 2 September 1952 cites the location of Soviet transit camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Following are excerpts from the 1952 report: 72
Since July 1951, according to new information, several transports of Korean POWs passed through the ports of Bukhta (near Vladivostok), Okhotsk and Magadan. Each ship contained 1,000 or more prisoners. Between the end of November 1951 and April 1952, transports of POWs were sent by rail from the Poset railway junction on the Chinese-Soviet frontier. Some were directed to Chita in Eastern Siberia and some to Molotov, European Soviet Russia, west of the Ural Mountains.
Information about non-Asiatic POWs was received on April 30, 1952 from the Gubakha railway station in the Komi-Permyak National District, in Northwestern Siberia. According to this information, about 300 POWs were transported by rail from Chita to Molotov in February 1952. The prisoners were clothed in Soviet-type cotton padded tunics with no distinctive marks. They were first transported from the railway station to the MVD prison and then sent by rail, in a train consisting of 9 wagons, to Molotov on or about April 5, 1952. The train was heavily guarded by railway guards of the MVD.
In March this year transports of POWs passed through from Khabarovsk to Chita and from Chita to Molotov roughly every fortnight. They were in small groups of up to 50 persons. According to latest information, dated 30 June 1952, the prisoners, after arriving in Chita, were first sent to the local MVD prisons, and then, after a sufficient number of them had been assembled, were sent further to Molotov. It is most probable that POWs are undergoing some sort of investigation and selection process while in the MVD prison in Chita. Some of them are retained in prison in Chita for a long time, while others are sent directly by rail to Molotov and other industrial regions in the Ural Mountains.
From December 1951 up to the end of April 1952, several railway transports of American and European (probably British) POWs were seen passing at intervals of 10 to 20 days through the Komi-Permyak National District in Northwestern Siberia. These transports were directed to Molotov, Gubakha (Northeast of Molotov), Kudymkar (Northwest of Molotov), and Chermos on the Kama River North of Molotov. The prisoners were clad in cotton-padded gray tunics and pants and wore civilian caps, so-called "Sibirki". They had no military insignia. They spoke among themselves in English, and they knew no other languages, except a few words of Russian. During the journey they remained locked in heavily guarded wagons and were not allowed to leave them. They received their meals from MVD guards. Each wagon had small windows on two levels. Each window was barred and covered by opaque glass.
According to information gathered between April 1 and 20, a certain number of American POW officers, among whom was a group referred to as the "American General Staff", were kept at that time in the Command of the Military District of Molotov. Some of the POWs were accommodated in the building of the MVD in Molotov, having been subjected most probably to interrogations. They had been completely isolated from the outside world.
In the town of Gubakha and in the industrial regions of Kudymkar and Chermos there were three isolated camps and one interrogation prison for American POWs from Korea, according to information dated February and April 1952. Prisoners kept in the three labor camps were employed on the construction of a new railway line. In one of these camps, called GAYSK about 200 Americans were kept. They were employed in workshops assembling rails and doing various technical jobs. These camps were completely isolated from any civilian camps located in neighborhood. Political control was carried out by the local Party organization, headed by (first name unknown (fnu)) Edovin, a delegate from the Obkom of the Komi-Permyak National District. All these camps were under the charge of (first name unknown) Kalypin, a Soviet officer of unknown rank who was sent from Molotov in February 1952.
In some camps situated near the Gubakha railway, which are called "Zapretchdelanki", [Russian term difficult to translate - means "isolated plots"] about 150 Americans were kept, probably soldiers and NCOs. An interesting thing was that from these camps one to three POWs were taken every few days by officers of the MVD for transportation to Gubakha or Molotov. They never returned to their camps and their fate remained unknown. According to the supposition of persons acquainted with MVD methods, these POWs had been observed in the camps by specially assigned agents of the MVD, who knew the English language and thus were able to identify those individuals who were very hostile to the Communist regime and ideology and those who could be considered sympathetic. Those belonging to the first group were most probably sent either to prison or to especially hard labor camps for extermination; the others were probably sent to special political courses in Molotov.
A stateless refugee who was detained by the Soviets from 14 February 1950 until 18 May 1955 reported meeting five American servicemen. In June of 1954 Source was in a camp near Kirov when a fellow inmate informed him that five Americans were being held in a cell near by. A few days late, source was transferred by train to the Central Dispensary at Solikamsk. The train arrived in Solikamsk at 4:30 pm on 19 June 1954. The prisoners were ordered to disembark and line up by nationality. Source noticed five men to his right and began speaking to the closest in German. The man told source his name was Room or Rum and that he and the other four men were Americans. He was wearing an American or British army uniform without insignia or devices. He was 28 to 33 years old, approximately six feet two inches tall, dark eyes, and brown hair. He had a bad case of eczema on his head. He spoke excellent German. The other four had common faces, wore prisoner clothes, and spoke poor German. Source stated they used German words peculiar to Berlin. Source had the impression Room was the leader of the group. Source spoke with Room for approximately five minutes before the Guard told them to be quiet and marched the five Americans away separately from the group. Room told source that they were being taken to camp in the Molotov area, Gardinsky region, postal district Bondiuk, post office box AM 244 9/2. He requested source notify American authorities if he was ever released. 73 (Note: AM 244 was the postal code for Usol'skii Corrective Labor Camp "Usol'lag" in Solikamsk.) 74
Camps in the Area of Chelyabinsk
An Italian returnee reported meeting an American Army major in a camp in Verkhne-Uralsk in 1953. The American's parents were Hungarian; he was born in the United States. At the end of World War II the major was in Hungary and later was present at the Nurenberg trials. He returned to Hungary as a civilian and was arrested by the Soviet Secret Police. He was sent to prison in Baden, Soviet Zone of Austria, where he spent three years. He was transferred to Verkhne-Uralsk in 1951, remaining there, in poor health, until May 1953, when he was transferred to Moscow. 75
An Austrian woman detained in the Soviet Union from 1946 until 1956 reported meeting two American officers in Verkhne-Uralsk. One gave his name as Captain Peterson who was approximately 30 years old, and claimed he had been kidnapped in Vienna while working at General Mark Clark's headquarters in 1946. Source first met Captain Peterson in 1953 and last saw him in 1955 at Vladimir Prison. The second individual she alleged to have met was Captain Sing Oisman, who was approximately 30 years old at the time and had supposedly been kidnapped in Vienna in 1949. Source last saw Captain Oisman in September 1953 at Verkhne-Uralsk. Both Peterson and Oisman allegedly told source that 27 Americans were being held in the Krasnoyarsk region. 76
Camps in the Area of Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk Transit Prison
During an interview in 1993, a witness in Lithuania described an encounter with Americans at the Novosibirsk Transit Prison around June 1952. The witness stated there were two American pilots in the group of prisoners brought into his small room. The other prisoners (two or three others) were German. The Americans reportedly told him that they had been shot down in Korea. They were dressed in khaki shirts and trousers with no belts. The first American told the source that he was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. The source could only remember that the Captain was tall and had a red beard. He could not recall any details about the second individual. 77
Camps in the Area of Krasnoyarsk
In his memoirs (provided to the Russian Side in November 1999), a former Soviet citizen quoted seven people who claim to have seen Americans in Kirovskiy. Excerpts from his memoirs: 78
[In the] fall, 1951, a group of American POWs from Korea arrived in a camp by the town Kirovsk, in the Krasnoyarsk area. However, in the beginning of 1952, they disappeared. In any case, during the liquidation of the prison camp during the winter of 1951 and into 1952, they were not part of the prisoners who were transferred to Motygino (to the south)....
A worker from Kirovskiy witnessed how, late at night, during Russian Christmas, a group of 20, maybe slightly more, were led from the camp along the Veniaminovky Road.
Another witness and her friend claimed that during the last days of December 1951, more than 20 prisoners, wearing bare threads and half frozen, were moved along the road to Veniaminovsky.
A witness in Veniaminovky, stated that on Christmas "we had a present which the NKVD delivered to the town (half frozen prisoners). They did not speak Russian. They only said 'American, American,' and 'eat, eat.' ... Then in the morning, around 6 am, they were taken and marched further."
A hunter and driver, from the town of Chinuel, saw from his car, a number of prisoners who did not speak Russian, being marched along the road...this was early in the morning, around Christmas...The next day, around 7 am, he was going back to Kirovsk and saw the prisoner column moving toward the town of Kamenka (and the lake).
One more witness worked in the town of Kirovsk. In February 1952, while hunting, in the area where the Kamenka and Porenda rivers meet, he came across an area where he suspected people were buried. The ground was overturned and his dogs were picking up strange scents.
A list of 22 names of citizens of the USA who were in the camp by Kirovsk during the winter of 1951 to 1952 was put together by a cleaning lady in the camp. She was able to take a pencil to the Americans and have them record their names and addresses on pieces of newspaper. She smuggled these pieces out of the camp, put them in a can and buried them. Many names on the list match those of missing service members from the Korean War. These include:
Foster 1LT Robert Foster, SGT Elmer Foster, and PFC Robert Foster are missing
Hatch SFC Robert Hatch is missing
Leon PFC Chan Jay Park Kim assumed the name "George Leon" upon his capture in order to disguise his Korean heritage... Reported to have died in a POW camp in Korea.
Miller There are 42 missing Millers
Davis There are 39 missing Davis
Johnson, Hubert CPL Herbert Johnson is missing
Morin CAPT Arthur Morin and CPL Fernand Morin is missing
Larson PFC Gerald Larson is missing
Boyar Cpl Andrew Boyer and CPL William Boyer are missing
Fisher There are 8 missing Fishers
Helfand PFC Osvaldo Galvan is missing
Kaiser MSGT George Kyzer is missing
A Polish witness heard from fellow prisoners that two Americans, probably pilots, were in the camp. They were described as being around 30-35 years old. 79
Norilsk Camp No. 4
A Polish witness claimed to have worked with 36-38 American POWs from the Korean War (pilots shot down near Vladivostok) in the early 50s. He recalled the name of one of the prisoners, Scott, but was unsure if this was the first or last name. 80 > [There are 21 service members missing from the Korean War and 96 service members missing from WWII with the last name Scott. Many others have a first name Scott.]
Norilsk Camp No. 4 or No. 5
A Polish witness claimed to have been in the camp with an American for about one year. The American was pudgy and fair-haired, and did not speak Russian. 81
Norilsk Camp No. 5
A Polish witness met an American or English pilot, probably a Captain, in Norilsk in the first half of 1953. This pilot carried out reconnaissance flights during the Korean War, and due to bad weather and instrument failure, landed at Dalny, USSR. He was arrested and sentenced on espionage charges. According to the witness, the pilot was approximately 30 years old, tall, dark- haired, and looked healthy. Under his prison clothes he wore an "English" military blouse. The source did not know the pilot's eventual fate. In May-June 1953 the camp inmates staged an uprising, and in July, the witness, one of the revolt's leaders, was transported to Kolyma, where he stayed until 1956. 82
Norilsk Camp No. 9, Cement Plant No. 5
A witness in Lithuania said that he was working with the third camp division near Cement Plant No. 5 at Norilsk Camp No. 9 in 1953. Camp gossip alleged that a heavily guarded corner facility in the camp was for American POWs from Korea. The witness observed these prisoners from a distance of about 110 yards. They were young white males dressed in prison garb. He felt it was significant that during the prison uprisings in May-June 1954 these special prisoners were quickly removed. He had no idea what happened to them. 83
Norilsk Camp No. 11
A French doctor who was incarcerated in various camps in the Soviet Union from June 1941 until February 1957 reported hearing about an American Air Force officer imprisoned in Camp No. 11 of the Norilsk camp complex near Dudinka. The alleged American officer was attached to the United States Military Aid Group training Turkish pilots in Turkey. In 1951, he made a forced landing inside the Soviet Union near Erevan. The American was still in Norilsk as of September 1953. Source never personally saw this individual. 84
Norilsk Dudinka Transit Camp
A Lithuanian witness reported seeing American WWII officers at the Norilsk Dudinka transit camp in August of 1946. 85
In his memoirs (provided to the Russian Side in November 1999), a source wrote that in the very beginning of 1953, he was sent to handle an emergency situation at the northern mining enterprise called Rybak. One of the technical experts he worked with was a demolition-qualified inmate: tall, exhausted by hunger and the Arctic, with a very characteristic, slightly elongated artistic face. His unnaturally protruding gray eyes in sockets sunken from emaciation revealed someone ill with exophthalmic goiter. In an accent clearly that of an English speaker, he identified himself as a citizen of the United States of America, Allied Officer Dale.
In Norilsk, many years later, a geologist, who had worked with the witness in Udereya at the time in question, related that many of the Americans "who had fallen into our hands in 1945 from the liberated Fascist camps were held in Rybak and probably perished there...." 86 [LT Harvey Dale and LT William Dale are both missing from WWII.]
During a visit to Krasnoyarsk in September 2001, the Director of the human-rights organization "Memorial" confirmed the existence of Rybak. He commented that Rybak was a top-secret uranium mine located on the Leningradskaya River. Unlike the majority of Gulag camps, Rybak was not subordinate to the MVD. It is not known what entity controlled Rybak, but it is known that several Soviet geologists worked at the camp. The camp was centered on a mining shaft, and the uranium ore was placed into river ships for transport. Because the camp produced very little uranium it was eventually destroyed and traces of the camp removed. No known archival records or memoirs of the camp exist. The Memorial director knew of the camp only through acquaintances that served as geologists for the Soviet Union. 87
While serving his sentence in the Krasnoyarsk Kray in 1949-1950, a Russian witness met with Japanese and Korean prisoners of war and conversed with them. They told him that, along with them, several Americans arrived at the labor camp sub-sector (Lagpunkt) who had been prisoners of war of either the Japanese or the Koreans; later they (Americans, Japanese, Koreans) all became prisoners of the Russians. 88
Camps in the Area of Irkutsk
Camp No. 19
A Ukrainian witness was sent to the Irkutsk Oblast in 1959. During a brief stay in Camp No. 4, he heard rumors that Americans were being held in Camp No. 19, about five miles away. He said he heard the part of Camp No. 19 which housed the Americans was a particularly high-security zone, surrounded by an eight-yard fence, with several feet of barbed wire.
After having been caught stealing bread, he was sent to Camp No. 19 in March 1959, and was immediately thrown into the "BUR" (Barak Usilennogo Rezhima - Disciplinary Barracks), located near the bathhouse and guard tower. Inside he was thrown on top of the badly bloodied bodies of two men lying on a makeshift table. He said that lying next to the bodies were seven gold teeth and part of an artificial jaw. It was obvious that the men had been beaten and had their teeth knocked out. He said that he could not recall whether the teeth were completely covered with gold, or just the crowns. The guards told him that the bodies were those of American officers and that the same would happen to him if he did not obey the rules. The witness said that it was impossible to discern the color of their skin or even guess at their age, due to the ferocity of the beatings. He said that he was sent off to wash up and that when he returned, the bodies were no longer there. He later heard that the bodies were buried by the fourth guard tower, and the prisoners' clothes were doused with gasoline and burned. The witness added that he had heard rumors that there were another 18 Americans housed in the camp, aside from these two. He said these prisoners were gradually killed off between May and July 1959. He claimed approximately once a week, one of these prisoners was taken out, forced to dig his own grave, stripped, and then shot. The camp guards told him these victims were U.S. aircrews that had been taken prisoner in Korea. They were buried outside the camp, near the guard tower, separately from the other prisoners. He added this was not in the local cemetery, which was also located just outside the camp.
The witness could not recall the camp commandant's name. He recalled the surnames of two camp guards, Popov and Ivanov, but could not remember their first names or patronymics. 89
A former German POW reported direct contact with U.S. Army Captain Johnny Anderson from 1951-1953. Captain Anderson was reportedly stationed in Berlin in 1946, and was arrested while drunk in the Soviet sector. The source believed he might have been in the Air Corps. 90 [Captains John R. Anderson and John A. Anderson are missing from WWII. There are an additional four Captains missing with the last name of Anderson.]
A female German prisoner detained in Irkutsk Prison Camp No. 9 from September 1949 to May 1953 reported that a female Lithuanian prisoner told her about a prison camp in Tayshet that contained approximately seven hundred male American, British, and French prisoners. These prisoners did not work. The female Lithuanian prisoner had spent time in Tayshet, but did not know where or how these men were taken prisoner. 91
Taishet Camp No. 20, Farm No. 25
A Japanese returnee reported that in the period of 1949-1950 he had direct contact with an American flyer, about 40 years old, tall, with a ruddy complexion. The flyer was shot down over the Baltic States while on an aerial reconnaissance mission and sentenced to 20 years. He was burned in the crash, leaving scars on his right cheek and left leg, necessitating the use of a cane. He spoke some Russian. 92
Taishet Special Camp No. 6
A Latvian witness reported he had knowledge of three U.S. POWs in Tayshet camps from the period 1949-1951.
He met the first American in 1950, in Tayshet Special Camp No. 6, where he worked as a barber. This camp held primarily French, Indians, and people from the Baltic States. The American was a U.S. military officer taken in 1949 from Austria. During his capture, he had been hit on the head, resulting in a skull fracture. He was Caucasian, about five foot nine inches tall, had light brown hair, blue eyes, was 30 years old and from New Jersey. He was at the camp until 1951, when he was released to exile in Krasnoyarskiy Kray.
The witness saw a second Caucasian American in Special Camp No. 6 during the summer of 1951, but does not know if he was civilian or military. This individual was either brought in blind, or simulated blindness, and was approximately 30 years old. The American escaped, and his fate is unknown.
The witness saw a third American in Special Camp No. 6, who was Caucasian, and around 40 years old. The American was transferred to another camp. The new camp and the fate of the American are unknown.
The witness also cited rumors at the time of his captivity that at least some of the crew from the U.S. aircraft shot down on 8 April 1950, were taken alive and sent to camps. 93
Taishet-Bratsk Chuna Camp No. 19
A Polish witness claimed that at the end of the summer of 1951 or 1952, an American escaped from Camp No. 19 at Chuna, on the Tayshet - Bratsk railway, 90 miles from Tayshet. 94
A resident of Irkutsk claimed his mother had seen an American prisoner in March 1946, while working as a porter on a train carrying NKVD prisoners from the Far East. The porters were ordered to bury eight of the prisoners who were believed dead, but one of the eight was still breathing so she took him in. He died a week later, but before he died he indicated he was an American. The source believed his name was something like, "Fred Kolin or Kollinz." The American drew a picture indicating an aircraft being shot down and three people possibly bailing out of the aircraft. 95 [There are three Fred Collins missing from WWII. There are an additional 89 service members with the last name of Collins.]
Taishet Labor Camp No. 4
In February 1954 a repatriated German commented during a U.S. Air Force debriefing that he met four U.S. servicemen in the summer of 1947 at a sub-camp of Tayshet Labor Camp No. 4. 96
For two days in July 1947, the source was billeted in a sub-camp of Tayshet Labor Camp No. 4. The camp was located in the forest 34 miles east of Tayshet, and consisted of two 2.5 by 1.5 mile compounds which housed thousands of penal laborers of various nationalities. While there the source met four Americans between the ages of 28 and 36. He described them as over five feet nine inches tall and broad-shouldered with close-cropped hair. They wore khaki denims with a pocket on the trouser. The Americans, the source and some Latvian prisoners were all able to communicate with one another through their broken German. The Americans told the source that they were members of the American Air Force who had been stationed in Vienna. In 1946 Soviet soldiers arrested them at the Vienna Prater Park. They were transported to Moscow and tried for espionage. While in Moscow they where kept in underground cells, repeatedly beaten, and interrogated. The Soviets sentenced them to 25 years in a labor camp. At the end of 1946 they were transferred to Tayshet Labor Camp No. 4. The source was unable to give any names but made it a point to keep track of the Americans through fellow prisoners who worked on the Tayshet-Bratsk railroad line. He was certain that the Americans were still working on the railroad line when he left Tayshet in February 1950.
Taishet Camp No. 26
A German civilian returnee reported meeting U.S. Air Force Major William Thompson. According to the source, Major Thompson made a forced landing, and was arrested by the Russians, who sentenced him to twenty five years for espionage. He spent the years 1944 to 1948 in Budenskaya Prison in Moscow. He was transferred to Tayshet Camp No. 26. Major Thompson was approximately 38 years old, six feet one inch tall, slim, fair hair, and had blue eyes. His home was in San Antonio, Texas. 97 [Major Wirt Elizabeth Thompson, U.S. Air Force, departed Myitkyina, Burma 4 December 1944 on a mission to Kunming, China. He was reported shot down and is listed as missing in action. Major Thompson, also known as Worth and William, was born in Italy, Texas and attended high school in San Antonio.]
Vikhorevka (southwest of the city of Bratsk)
A former Gulag prisoner and ethnic Estonian source reported that while detained in the village of Vikhorevka in the zone reserved for foreigners, he met an American serviceman named Thomas (last name unknown). Thomas said that he was a U.S. pilot from the Korean War. The source reported that Thomas was 35 years old when he met him in 1953. Thomas was five feet five inches to five feet seven inches tall and walked with a limp. Thomas was assigned to work on the camp water tower. 98
Camps in the Area of Yakutsk
On 15 October 1957, a Polish witness visited the American Consulate in Strasbourg, France. He stated he was held in a prison camp in Bulun until July 1957 and reported seeing the following Americans:
Watson, an American professor of physics captured in Vienna,
Dick Rozbicki, an American soldier captured during the Korean War,
Stanley Warner, an American soldier captured during the Korean War, and
Jan Sorrow, an American soldier captured during the Korean War. 99
Bulun Camp No. 217
On 20 September 1957, two Polish witnesses visited the American Consulate in Genoa, Italy. Both men claimed to have been WWII POWs held captive in Bulun Camp No. 217. They had escaped on 6 May 1957. They claimed to have made their way across the USSR, Rumania, and Yugoslavia, entering Italy on 18 September 1957. They reported that two men who claimed to be American army officers captured during the Korean War had been transferred to Bulun Camp No. 217 from another camp on 24 July 1955.
The men were: Stanley Rosbicki, approximately 24 years old, of Buffalo, New York and Jack Watson, 38 or 39, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both were infantry Lieutenants. 100
Bulun Camp No. 307
On 5 September 1960, a Polish witness visited the American Embassy, Brussels, Belgium. He stated he had been imprisoned in Bulun Camp No. 307 for seven and a half years and was released on 1 May 1960. He reported seeing two U.S. Army personnel captured in Korea: Ted Watson, an infantry lieutenant, and Fred Rosbiki, a commando or paratroop sergeant. 101
Bulun Camp No. 315
A Catholic priest visited the U.S. Embassy in Paris on 11 July 1958 to report an interview he had recently conducted with a former Polish Gulag prisoner. The prisoner told the priest that he had recently escaped from North Siberia where he had been held in Bulun Camp No. 315. He claimed to have been acquainted with two Americans in the same camp: a chaplain, John Westley, captured in Korea in 1952, and a lieutenant, Stanley Rosbicki, from New York. The witness further advised the priest that the two Americans, who appeared to be in good health, had requested that he convey this information to the American authorities for transmittal to their families. 102
A CIA report dated 2 September 1952 cites the location of Soviet transit camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Excerpts from the 1952 report: 103
Those POWs who arrived by ship in the ports of Bukhta, Okhotsk and Magadan were then transported by train, or by trucks or by motor-driven barges, to Vaikaren on the Chukotsk Sea, to Ust Maisk on the river Aldan and to Yakutsk on the river Lena.
POW camps of Koreans in the Yakutsk A.S.S.R. are situated between Ust Maisk and Yakutsk. Prisoners there are employed in building new shafts for coal mines, earthworks and dams. The camps are situated 30 to 125 miles from one another and contain 500 to 1,000 prisoners each. Soldiers of the MVD guard them. The camps and inmates are under the supervision of the Ministry of Coal Production or the Ministry of Forests. The chief over all camps in this region was, in April 1952, a civilian functionary (fnu) Andreev. The commandant of the MVD units assigned to guard the camps was Col. (fnu) Vassilevsky. The prisoners are doing very heavy physical work and are living under primitive conditions. In one of the camps in this region, called AMGA, about 300 POWs died in February and April 1952 as a result of serious illnesses and overwork. Over 400 of them were placed in very crude barracks for the sick.
A Sakha-Yakutian government representative reported that her grandmother lived in Bulun at the end of World War II and worked as a seamstress in the Bulun Gulag. In the late 1940's, her grandmother routinely met American, Lithuanian, Estonian, Polish, and Finnish prisoners of war. The source reported that her grandmother kept a diary, which documented her time in the Gulag and her acquaintance with Americans. The Bulun Gulag, located at the mouth of the Lena River (N 70° 44.280' E 127° 21.281') was a fishing camp - male prisoners worked in the fishing industry and female prisoners sewed clothes and prison uniforms. Today nothing is left of the camp except for an underground fish storage cell. The source's grandmother died in 1996. 104
On 13-14 November 1997 a JCSD team traveled to Taganrog to conduct an interview with a source who claimed to have personal knowledge of a U.S. Korean War POW living in Yakutiya (now officially called The Sakha Republic) as late as 1983. Source had contacted the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission through a journalist, who in November of 1997 wrote an article in the Russian newspaper Sovershenno Sekretno based on the source's story. 105
Source told the team that in 1975 he traveled to Yakutiya, in Northeast Siberia, as part of a scientific expedition. He and some other comrades returned the next year to the village of Topolinyy to earn some extra money as seasonal laborers, building a boarding school for local children. There he met an individual known only as "Kolya", also nicknamed "Kon'" ("The Horse"). Local rumor had it that Kolya was a former prisoner who had been sent to Yakutiya, after being convicted as an American spy. At the time, Kolya was around 50 years old and in excellent physical condition, although he was unsociable and drank heavily.
Some foreign-language students from Yakutsk State University came to the area that summer and would sometimes practice English among themselves. One time Kolya, having drunk heavily, began to use a number of what the source described as English words. (Note: source admitted that he does not know English himself, other than the phrase, "the best," which Kolya taught him. Kolya himself spoke excellent Russian, but with a slight accent.) One of the Yakut students learned from Kolya that his real name was "Oscar".
Kolya gradually opened up to the source and, during the course of several talks, stated that he was born in a midwestern state in the USA. The source could not remember which one in particular but recalled that it was neither a northern nor a southern state and definitely not Texas. His father was a prosperous farmer, who had a wife and three children: Kolya, and two older sisters. Kolya was the first in his family to choose a military career, having completed a military high school. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, then transferred to the Naval Academy at Annapolis. After graduating, Kolya attended courses at Quantico, Virginia, and was commissioned a 2d Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1949.
Kolya told the source that he had served in the Korean War in the 3d Company, 2d Battalion, 1st Marine Division, assigned to the U.S. Army X Corps. The source was unable to remember the designation for Kolya's regiment. Kolya said that he took part in the Inchon landing on 15 September 1950. (Note: the 1st Marine Division was assigned to the U.S. Army's X Corps during the Inchon landing on 15 September 1950. Marine companies are alphabetically designated, not numerically. The three Marine infantry regiments assigned to the 1st Marine Division were the 1st, 5th, and 7th Marines, and the division artillery regiment carried the designation of the 11th Marines). Kolya stated that he was supposed to have been decorated and promoted prior to his capture in November 1950. Kolya blamed General Ridgeway for his capture. (Note: Ridgeway assumed command of the 8th Army on 26 December 1950).
Kolya stated that on the night he was captured, his company was located next to the 1st British Battalion. Two other Americans were captured along with him, one of whom was black. They were taken to Mukden, China. He never saw the other two again. In Mukden he was kept in solitary confinement and tortured for 20 months by his Chinese captors. The source later said that he saw numerous scars on Kolya's legs.
Kolya was then transferred to Khabarovsk, USSR, where his captors again kept him in solitary confinement and unsuccessfully tried to recruit him as a spy. After seven months he was transferred to Yakutiya and forced to sign a statement promising not to reveal any details of his captivity, upon pain of death. He was amnestied in 1956, but forced to remain in the area in permanent exile. Afterwards, Kolya made his living working odd jobs. He even "married" twice to two local women - one who drowned in the Tompo River, and a second, who bore him a daughter.
The source said that Kolya became especially attached to him when he found out that the source's father had served in Washington, D.C. As the source was preparing to return to Kiev, Kolya asked him to pass a letter on to the U.S. Embassy, since he knew that the source would be returning through Moscow. It was at this point Kolya admitted that he was an American citizen.
However, instead of handing over the letter at the American Embassy, the source showed the letter to his father, who became quite angry. The source's father had a lifelong hatred of Americans and pointed out the danger in which the source was putting his family. The source said that his father tore the letter up and told him not to get involved in such matters anymore. He added that his father could read English but refused to tell the source Kolya's real name from the letter.
The source saw Kolya several more times over the years during subsequent trips to Yakutia. The last time was in 1983, in the village of Teplyy Klyuch. When source traveled to Teplyy Klyuch in 1986, he was told that Kolya had returned to Topolinyy.
Kolya reportedly left a glass jar with several letters in English, explaining who he was. The source admitted to the team that he had not seen Kolya write nor bury these letters. He explained they had agreed beforehand that Kolya would leave behind some sort of evidence in a mutually agreed upon place in the event that anything should happen to him.
Source had planned to return to Yakutiya on 25 November 1997 to attempt to determine Kolya's fate. 106
From 14-22 August 1998 a JCSD investigator, accompanied by the source, traveled to Sakha-Yakutiya in Northeast Siberia, to investigate the reports of the U.S. Korean War POW. The team was unsuccessful in developing significant information on the case of the individual known as "Kolya the Horse".
On 19 August the team finally reached the confluence of the Tompo and Deline Rivers. This was the spot, according to the source, where Kolya buried a jar, allegedly containing a written description of his identity. The source immediately spotted a wooden shack situated on the far bank and announced that this was the spot. However, he quickly determined that the hiding spot no longer existed because the bank had obviously suffered considerable erosion during the spring thaw. He rechecked his bearing several times, but always with the same conclusion. At this point there was nothing left to do, and the team returned to Teplyy Klyuch.
One rumor had placed Kolya in the Ust-Nera area as of 1983, from where he had supposedly gone to work in the mines at Sarylakh. This was well to the northeast of the team's present location and even further into the Taiga. A later rumor placed an apparently intoxicated Kolya loitering at the Yakutsk airport in 1985.
Another rumor placed Kolya in Yakutsk two years after the reported Ust-Nera sighting. The team decided the best course of action was to return to the city of Yakutsk, which they did. They talked to several people in the area but could find no further information about Kolya. 107
In March of 2002, the JCSD Gulag Research Team traveled to Yakutsk, Tiksi, and Bykovskiy in the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia. They interviewed numerous villagers, long-term residents, government officials, human rights workers, and members of the media. During a meeting with high-level members of the government, media, and several representatives of the human rights organization Memorial in Yakutsk, the story of Kolya was broached by a senior member of the government who had come to the meeting with a copy of the Sovershenno Sekretno article. The Russian Memorial Society representatives present noted that Kolya had a daughter. They were familiar with the area where Kolya had lived and volunteered to attempt to find Kolya's daughter. This effort is continuing.
While conducting interviews in Tiksi, a local native and long-time resident of Kyusyur (a town located across the Lena River from the remains of Bulun) provided a map and detailed information of a system of secret camps that existed along the left (west) bank of the Lena in the 1950s. These camps were said to have held Caucasian prisoners, were off limits to the local indigenous tribal people and had fences. The camps on the right bank of the Lena were Special Resettlement Camps and did not have fences. The most secret of the left-bank camps was nicknamed "Kazarma" ["Barrack" in Russian] and designated No. 315. It was located a few miles south of Bulun. A local anthropologist independently confirmed that a secret camp known as "Kazarma" had previously existed south of Bulun.
Camps in the Area of Chita
A CIA report dated 2 September 1952 cites the location of Soviet transit camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Following are excerpts from the 1952 report: 108
There were previous transport of POWs from Chita between August and November 1951. These were directed to Kotlas on the Northern Dvina and to Lalsk, southeast of Kotlas, both in the Archangelsk Oblast. The total number of POWs transported in this direction amounted to about 6,000 at the end of 1951. Their fate is not known.
In March of 1951, transports of POWs passed through from Khabarovsk to Chita and from Chita to Molotov roughly every fortnight. They were in small groups of up to 50 persons. According to latest information, dated 30 June 1952, the prisoners, after arriving in Chita, were first sent to the local MVD prisons, and then, after a sufficient number of them had been assembled, were sent further, to Molotov. It is most probable that the POWs were undergoing some sort of investigation and selection process while in the MVD prison in Chita. Some of them are retained in prison in Chita for a long time, while others are sent directly by rail to Molotov and other industrial regions in the Ural Mountains.
Camps in the Area of Magadan
A Ukrainian witness from Gribenko was transferred from Vanino Bay to Magadan Berlag in 1950, where he remained until his release in 1960. The witness stated that in the summer of 1954 a large group of foreign prisoners, perhaps as many as 2000, were brought to Magadan Prison. This group included three Americans. When asked how he knew they were Americans, he replied that it was common knowledge, and everyone knew it. The Americans were in regular prison garb, but upon arrival at the Berlag were ordered to remove their prison numbers from their shirts and hats. While working as a medic in the camp, he was asked to examine one of the Americans for tropical skin ulcers. Due to the color of the man's skin and the thickness of his lips, the witness thinks this American was a Mulatto. When asked if he had talked with the individual, the witness stated that he had not because it was strictly forbidden. He went on to say that the three prisoners were young, all had brown hair, and all appeared to be in good health. 109
On 29 March 1996, an interview was conducted with a Russian living in Yekaterinburg, who spent from 1952-1970 in various Gulags, to include Kolomna, Indigirka, and Chukhotka. He claimed to have seen an American citizen in 1956/57 in the Magadan Oblast, at Mokhoplit Village, in the Tentiskiy gold mining region. This U.S. citizen, Azat Tigranovich Petrosian, was born in Armenia in the 1920s, and somehow wound up in a Nazi POW camp that was liberated by the Soviets. The Soviets refused to repatriate him and sent him to the Gulag. The source did not know Petrosian's eventual fate. 110
Myaundzha (near Susuman)
On 12 August 1996, a witness living in Moscow delivered a written response to the Radio Liberty program, "Americans in the Gulag," being played on Radio Liberty/Voice of America. She had worked at the Directorate of the PTU (Professional Technical Academy) Energostroy for the electrical power station in Myaundzha, Magadan Oblast, from 1955-63, then in Magadan until 1965, when she moved to Moscow. In the letter, the witness told of a Rudolf Martinovich Benush (1917-1995), who allegedly served as a U.S. Army Captain during the Nuremberg Trials. The witness worked with Benush, who was referred to as the American spy, "either in derision, or in reference to the article under which he was convicted" (Article 58), when he was a "trustee" prisoner in the Myaundzha camp in Magadan Oblast near Susuman in 1955, until his release in 1956. The camp had 3,000 prisoners, mostly Baltic and Ukrainian nationalists. Benush spent the majority of his remaining years in Magadan. 111
A returned German POW stated that when he arrived at a forced labor camp near Chukotskaya Kult'haza in April 1948, he met a man who claimed to be a U.S. national. The source said the man spoke German with an accent and was fluent in Russian. He claimed to have been born in the United States, and was a pilot sentenced to 20 years' hard labor for espionage. The alleged American was 30 years old, approximately five feet nine inches tall, broad-shouldered, oval-faced, with brown hair. The man wore prison clothes with a brown uniform jacket. He often spoke of escaping to Alaska across the Bering Straits. The source lost track of the man when the source was transferred in May 1949. In February 1950, he heard fellow prisoners that the alleged American was working in a tungsten mine near Chukotskaya Kult'haza. 112
A Japanese witness saw and spoke for about 20 minutes with an American in room No. 2, first medical section, at a hospital in Magadan. A hospital attendant named Nikolai told him the American was a captain who had crashed in the vicinity of Kamchatka. During the conversation, the American stated, "I cannot accept the sentence of being a spy. The sentence of 15 years based on Item 6 of Article 58 is unjust." He appeared to be about 28 years old, with blond hair and blue eyes. 113
A CIA report dated 2 September 1952 cites the location of Soviet Transit Camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Following are excerpts from the 1952 report: 114
In December it was known that transit camps for prisoners of war captured by the Communists in Korea had been established in Komsomolsk on the Amur, Magadan on Bogaeva Bay in the Sea of Okhotsk, Chita and Irkutsk. Through those transit camps were passing not only Korean POWs but also American POWs.
Since July 1951, according to new information, several transports of Korean POWs have passed through the ports of Bukhta (near Vladivostok), Okhotsk and Magadan. Each ship has contained 1,000 or more prisoners. Between the end of November 1951 and April 1952, transports of POWs were sent by rail from the Poset railway junction on the Chinese-Soviet frontier. Some were directed to Chita in Eastern Siberia and some to Molotov, European Soviet Russia, west of Ural Mountains.
Those POWs who arrived by ship in the ports of Bukhta, Okhotsk and Magadan were then transported by train, or by trucks or by motor driven barges, to Vaikaren on the Chukotsk Sea, to Ust Maisk on the river Aldan and to Yakutsk on the river Lena.
POWs shipped to Vaikaren were sent to a network of camps in the Nizhni Kolymsk region on the East Siberian Sea, to be employed building roads, electric power plants and airfields. Their number varies considerably due to high mortality and to transfer to other camps on the Chukotski Peninsula. All these camps are under supervision of MVD and are entirely isolated. There were about 12,000 Korean POWs in April 1952 in the Nizhno Kolymsk camp network. The camps were under the charge of (fnu) Sorotchuk, a Major of MVD and (fnu) Chimbo, a civilian Party functionary, probably an employee of MGB. Chimbo was in charge of education and political indoctrination.
A Polish source stated that in 1955 he saw an alleged Ukrainian-American soldier who was allegedly captured in North Korea and transferred to the Soviet Union by the Intelligence Services. The man wore civilian clothes and was the only American in the camp. The source was released in 1956. 115
Camps in the Area of Khabarovsk
A Russian living in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, reported that in November 1952, he saw three American prisoners at the "5M Lagpunkt" detention facility in Khabarovsk, Russia, where he was incarcerated. He went on a woodcutting detail with one of them. In December 1952 the Americans were transferred out of the camp for an unknown destination. A Russian female prisoner serving a sentence for "Betraying the Motherland" accompanied the Americans. The camp commander was Lieutenant Kuzenkov. 116
A Japanese repatriate who was in Khabarovsk Camp No. 21 from 1950-1953, heard from Soviet guards, prisoners, and laborers in April or May of 1953, that 12-13 Americans from a military plane shot down by the Soviets were in Khabarovsk Prison. Source heard from a Soviet guard in October 1952 that two Americans had been brought to Khabarovsk Prison and were being investigated as spies. In June 1952, source heard from prison train guard at Khabarovsk Station Number 2 that there was a prison camp in the USSR solely for American prisoners. 117
A CIA report dated 2 September 1952 cites the location of Soviet Transit Camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Following are excerpts from the 1952 report: 118
In March this year transports of POWs passed through from Khabarovsk to Chita and from Chita to Molotov roughly every fortnight. They were in small groups of up to 50 persons. According to latest information, dated June 30, 1952, the prisoners, after arriving in Chita, were first sent to the local MVD prisons, and then, after a sufficient number of them had been assembled, were sent further, to Molotov. It is most probable that POWs are undergoing some sort of investigation and selection process while in the MVD prison in Chita. Some of them are retained in prison in Chita for a long time, while others are sent directly by rail to Molotov and other industrial regions in the Ural Mountains.
In his memoirs (made available to the Russian Side in November 1999) a source quotes four people who claim to have knowledge of the June 1952 RB-29 crew and their incarceration in Svobodny. Excerpts from his memoirs: 119
A former fishing vessel radio operator related that the Captain of his fishing vessel told him that "not all the crew members of the American [aircraft] had, in fact, died back then (in June) and that ten of those people were now in pre-trial solitary confinement in a prison in the city of Svobodny, near Blagoveshchensk."
A former Dalstroy official "was not in the least surprised by [his] question. He replied at once: 'Yes, at first ten people were alive. Yes, first they were brought to Khabarovsk. But, then, of course, they were sent off to Svobodny ... They were supposed to have been met by people from the Ministry of Defense ... They were not met, though. You see, there was some screw-up in Moscow. Well, I can tell you that they were not met. What happened to them after that, I do not know. And I would advise you not to know as well ... Let the leadership worry itself about it ..."
A second former Dalstroi official repeated almost word-for-word the testimony of [the first Dalstroi official] but went on to clarify: "The guys from within 'worked over' the Americans so badly that only eight were taken to Svobodny."
A construction official who worked extensively in the Far East and was also an advisor to a minister stated that "he did learn the names of two crewmembers of that aircraft, Bush and Moore, who will forever remain in the soil of the Khabarovsk Region." [Along with 10 other crewmembers, Major Samuel Busch and Master Sergeant David Moore were shot down by Soviet fighters on 13 June 1952. The entire crew remains missing.]
According to a Ukrainian citizen who lives in Kiev, seven American servicemen - three of them pilots whose plane had strayed into Soviet territory because of mechanical difficulties - were incarcerated in 1952, in a prison camp called "Verkhniy" in the town of Lultin in Khabarovsky Kray. The prisoners' primary contact was with a Japanese doctor named Matsuoko. During their detention, three of them were killed in a mining accident, and the four others were transferred to another camp. 120
Camps in the Area of Primorskiy Krai
Air Force Hospital 404
While training for parachute duties in 1951, a witness broke his leg and was sent to an Air Force hospital, number 404, in the small town of Staraya Sysoyovka, Primorskiy Krai, between Arsenyev and Novosysoyevka. Due to lack of space, he was given a bed on the second floor in the corridor next to a room with three American patients. One was able to walk, the second was in traction and the third was burned. He clearly remembered the face of one of the Americans. He was blond, no younger than 25 years of age. He thought the blond person was the pilot. The witness was able to talk to and see the patients, as well as listen to their dialogue during questioning. He stated that the first patient was between 22 and 27 years of age, had light colored hair, was thin, had blue eyes, and bent over with a visible limp. His height was about six feet tall. Patient one said he was from Cleveland and had two children. The witness said the second and third patients appeared older. He had no other description, other than to say that they were from San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He could not say which patient was from which city. 121
In 1947, a Ukrainian witness from Gribenko was moved from Lvov to the Vanino Bay Transit Prison in the Soviet Far East where he remained for about two years, 1948-49. He claimed there were numerous American prisoners awaiting movement to other prisons. He believed the Americans were from WWII. The witness described the layout of the Vanino Bay Transit Prison as consisting of 15 separate zones, each holding 5,000-7,000 prisoners, and that the Americans were housed in zone No. 2. All prisoners were moved to Kolyma by the ships: "Felix Dzerzhinski," "Nagin," "Dyurma," and "Dalstroi." Whenever these ships passed by Hokkaido, the crew put on civilian attire so the Japanese would not know they were prison ships. 122
A Russian stated that an acquaintance of his who lived in Artem, a northern suburb of Vladivostok, said that as a little boy in the early 1950's, he saw a column of about 100 American POWs marching near the town. When asked how he knew they were Americans, he stated that it was "well-known" (in the village.) 123
A CIA report dated 2 September 1952 cites the location of Soviet transit camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Following are excerpts from the 1952 report: 124
Since July 1951, according to new information, several transports of Korean POWs have passed through the ports of Bukhta (near Vladivostok), Okhotsk and Magadan. Each ship has contained 1,000 or more prisoners. Between the end of November 1951 and April 1952, transports of POWs were sent by rail from the Poset railway junction on the Chinese-Soviet frontier. Some were directed to Chita in Eastern Siberia and some to Molotov, European Soviet Russia, west of Ural Mountains.
Those POWs who arrived by ship in the ports of Bukhta, Okhotsk and Magadan were then transported by train, or by trucks or by motor driven barges, to Vaikaren on the Chukotsk Sea, to Ust Maisk on the river Aldan and to Yakutsk on the river Lena.
Camps in the Area of Kazakhstan
Karaganda Camp No. 4718/19
A German returnee who was interned in a prisoner of war camp from February 1947 to May 1950 reported meeting two U.S. citizens. Both Americans were reportedly members of the occupation forces, spoke German fluently with accents and claimed their parents were born in Germany. In late 1945, they crossed into the Eastern Zone of Germany to visit relatives, were arrested, and transported to the Buchenwald camp. Following a conviction for espionage they were transferred to Karaganda, USSR. The source described them as follows:
One American had the first name "Pit". He was born in the United States; parents from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. He wore a U.S. Army khaki uniform without insignia. He was approximately 18-20 years old. He was five feet seven inches tall, brunette hair, sharp pale slim face, and had a strong slender build.
The next American had the first name "Tom". He was born in United States; parents from Rhine region of Germany. He wore a U.S. Army khaki uniform without insignia. He was five feet three inches tall, fair hair, blue eyes, round pale face, and had a strong build. Tom worked in the camp hospital and was known as a good surgeon.
Pit escaped in the winter of 1947. He was captured and returned to camp two days later, badly beaten. Both men were continuously interrogated. In the winter of 1948 (probably February) they were transferred to an unknown location. The source later heard they were taken to a forced labor camp in Siberia. 125
A CIA source reported in 1956 the presence of two American citizens in the "Camp of the Sands" (Note: this is Peshchanlag, one of the Special Camp Systems) between November 1954 and September 1955. One of the Americans, who was reportedly named Derry, was sent to Hungary. 126