>>>There are many who think that is where our missing POW's went, they were used to train the spies.
Even the McCarthy Files that are coming out has some POWs interviewed that speak of Soviet Propaganda tactics:
This clip below if from the Stalin Era; but I know there is more out there. http://www.nationalalliance.org/korea/korea04.htm
Will post more soon.
This letter was provided by the Russian side of the Joint Commission. We believe that large numbers of United Nations POWs, the overwhelming number of whom were soldiers of the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), were already being secreted away in camps throughout the Soviet Union, as will be shown by the statements of Lieutenant General Khan San Kho and Zygmunt Nagorski.
Lieutenant General Kan San Kho. The essence of the Stalin - Chou en-lai meeting was corroborated by a senior retired Soviet officer, Kahn San Kho, who had been seconded to the North Korean People's Army, promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, and who eventually served as the deputy chief of the North Korean MVD. He stated in November 1992 that he assisted in the transfer of thousands of South Korean POWs into 300 to 400 camps in the Soviet Union, most in the taiga but some in Central Asia as well. LTG Kahn testimony shows the POW element of the GULAG was operating efficiently at this time in absorbing large numbers of UN POWs. Although LTG Kahn admitted only to knowledge of Korean prisoners, his interview strongly suggests the possibility that other UN POWs, including Americans, could also have been condemned to the camp system. F53
Colonel Gavril I. Korotkov. Another Soviet source is retired Soviet Army Colonel Gavril Ivanovich Korotkov, who served from July 1950 to mid-1954 as part of a general staff-based analytical group reporting to Marshal Rodion Malinovskiy, then commander-in- chief, Far East Military District, on developments in intelligence (tactical and technical) gained from the ongoing war in Korea. Specifically, Korotkov's political section was responsible for reporting on political information, the morale and psychological well-being of U.S. units engaged in Korea. This information was to be used in support of propaganda activities and possibly the refinement of operational/contingency plans. Colonel Korotkov provided the following information in an interview in August 1992:
Soviet military specialists had been given approval to interrogate U.S. POWs. There were two stages to this process:
Stage 1, Interrogations in North Korea. These were conducted at the front, immediately after POWs had been
52 "Minutes of the Meeting Between Comrade Stalin with Chou en-lai, 19 Sep 1952, translated in Draft TFR 37-11.
53 Amembassy Moscow Message, 271140Z, Subject: POW/MIA: Interview with General Kahn San Kho.
transferred into the hands of the North Korea-based Soviet forces. Initial contact focused on gaining operational and tactical intelligence, such as order-of-battle, etc.
State 2, Transfer to the Soviet Union. Korotkov was not aware of exactly who selected which American POWs for transfer to the Soviet Union for further interrogation, or which criteria were used in the selection process, but the most likely characteristics were experience, i.e., seniority - field grade officers and above. Two separate groups handled these military interrogations, the GRU-subordinated intelligence group which was interested in detailed tactical and technical intelligence, and the main political directorate-subordinated group, which was interested in political intelligence.
Korotkov had only limited knowledge of the procedures for the movement of Americans to and through the USSR. he did not know where the processing facilities or camps were located in North Korea. On several occasions he had visited the Soviet naval base at Pos'yet which served as a transit point for the movement of American POWs north to Khabarovsk. Although there was an airfield nearby, he believed that the bulk of the Americans were transported from Pos'yet to Khabarovsk by rail. But most likely at least some of the POWs were moved from North Korea or China by air.
Korotkov stated that the American POWs were kept under the control of the MGB. Generally, military interrogators had only a few hours with the Americans, although they sometimes had up to a few days, depending on the nature and perceived value of the information or source. While the POWs were at Khabarovsk, the MGB controlled them when they were not being interrogated. Once the process was completed, the POWs were returned to the control of the MGB. Therefore, Korotkov stated, he had no direct knowledge of the fate of these personnel. Although Korotkov did not know the exact number, he felt that the number of Americans processed through Khabarovsk was in the hundreds. Despite the fact that his political group had access to only a portion of the total number of POWs interrogated by the analytical group, he felt confident in this high estimate. Following the rout of the 24th Infantry Division in July and August 1950, there were "tens of American POWs" as Colonel Korotkov put it, but the number climbed quickly through the first months of the war. Furthermore, he indicated that operational directives said that Americans caught behind North Korean lines should be taken alive, not killed. A number of American pilots were taken alive. Moreover, Korotkov indicated that the Koreans were quite willing to allow the Soviets direct access and eventual control over U.S. POWs. By contrast, the Chinese, according to Colonel Korotkov, were very reluctant to release control over Americans who came into their hands.
Colonel Korotkov further stated that he had personally interrogated two American POWs, one of whom was a LTC Black. He could not remember the names of any other of the American POWS who had been processed through Khabarovsk. All reports on U.S. POW interrogations from Colonel Korotkov's analytical group were forwarded to the Headquarters, Far East Military District. The political group's reports were also sent directly to the Soviet Army's Main Political Administration, 7th Directorate, and the technical group's reports were sent through GRU (Military Intelligence) channels to Moscow. An effort was made to gain the cooperation of POWs and turn their allegiance. Those prisoners who demonstrated a willingness to cooperate were separated from the majority and given favorable treatment. However, as he remembers it, the number of Americans who cooperated was very small, in contrast with the Soviet experience with German POWs in World War II, of whom a higher percentage was willing to cooperate. An overall report was compiled which assessed the morale of U.S. servicemen in Korea. Colonel Korotkov stated that he had seen a copy of this report in the GRU archives at Podol'sk.F54
In his first interview, Colonel Korotkov stated that he had interviewed a U.S. officer, LTC Black. We believe that this may have been USAF LTC Vance Eugene Black who was reported by other POWs to have died of mistreatment and malnutrition in a North Korean POW camp.F55 Another retired Soviet officer, GRU Colonel Aleksandr Semyonovich Orlov, stated that he had arranged for an interview by a Pravda correspondent with LTC Vance Black.F56 In his subsequent interview with MG Loeffke, Colonel Korotkov denied having interrogated LTC Black, stating that he perhaps we had confused the name with a black POW. Task Force Russia interviewers, however, were adamant that he had been referring to
54 Amembassy Moscow Message, 241259Z Aug 92 Subject: POW/MIA Team Interview with Colonel Korotkov.
55 Lieutenant Colonel Vance Eugene Black, assinged to the headquarters of the l9th Air Force, was on a B-29 of the 98th Bomb Group that was shot down by enemy flak on 2 May 1951 over Pyongyang, North Korea. He died in captivity on or about 1 November l951. His death was witnessed by 1Lt Robert J. O'Shea, USMC. Lt. Col. Black died of mistreatment, and starvation at the infamous North Korean POW camp called "Pak's Palace".
56 Amembassy Moscow Message, 151645Z Oct 92, Subject: POW/MIA: POW/MIA Team Interview With Colonel (Ret) Orlov. See also Pravda Special Correspondent, "The Way of Interventionists," Pravda, 14 August 1951, p. 4 translated in TFR 31-1). Colonel Orlov stated that LTC Black was considered a suitable subject for interview because of his position as a staff officer.
the family name "Black" rather than to the black race. In this second interview, Colonel Korotkov remembered that the first officer he interviewed had been an Army first lieutenant, most likely from the 24th Infantry Division, but that he could remember nothing else. He had better recall about an Air Force pilot because he found much in common with him, such as color of hair (light), height (about 6'2"), rank (captain). He also said the pilot was about 28 to 30 years old. Colonel Korotkov also stated that while he was assigned to the project of interrogating Americans in the Far East during the Korean War, he also interrogated Japanese POWs, captured in World War II, and still held in Soviet custody. Here is an admission that foreign POWs were part of an overall system of exploitation.F57
Colonel Korotkov changed his statement in a subsequent interview with Major General Bernard Loeffke, former Director of Task Force Russia (now Joint Commission Support Branch - JCSB), in September 1992 after being contacted by a member of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. He then stated that the interrogations took place somewhere undefined, which he could not remember, in the Chinese-Korean-Soviet tri-border area. In MG Loeffke's words:
Since that encounter, the colonel changed his story as to the location where he interrogated U.S. POWs. Even after having been contacted by the KGB official, COL Korotkov agreed to answer questions on tape in front of Russian LTC Osipov, General Volkogonov's assistant. This interview took place on September 29. He said he and other Soviet officers in Soviet and at times Chinese uniforms had interrogated U.S. POWs over a 1-2 year period (1951-52) in an area near the borders of USSR, Korea and China. In this new version, Korotkov claims that he did not know, if that particular location was in Russia or not. The important point is that he would not say that it was not inside Russia. In all previous interviews he had specifically said that these interrogations took place in Khabarovsk. The colonel was obviously willing to oblige the security services by not saying that it took place in Khabarovsk; but he was not willing to say that it did not take place on Russian soil. The colonel's official statement on tape, and in front of a Russian officer assigned-to the-Joint POW/MIA Commission cannot easily be refuted. Korotkov is a respected military
57 Amembassy Moscow Message, 261132Z Oct 92, Subject: POW/MIA: Follow-Up Interview with Colonel Gavril Korotkov.
officer with prestigious academic credentials.F58
What Colonel Korotkov did not do was to deny that Soviet military personnel, including himself, were directly involved in the interrogation of a "large" number of American POWs during the Korean War. F59 In a subsequent videotaped interview recorded by Mr. Ted Landreth, an Australian journalist, Colonel Korotkov clearly stated that American POWs had been taken "through Khabarovsk" into the camp system. Their ultimate destination he did not know.
Later in discussions with Colonel Stuart Herrington, during the December 1992 Joint Commission meeting in Moscow he restated that the prisoners were escorted by a female Soviet Border Guards Officer in Soviet uniform. He also stated that he conducted his interrogations in Soviet uniform. During the Korean War, as the Russian side has explained, the Soviets attempted to establish deniability of involvement by a policy of dressing its military personnel, who served in Korea, in Chinese or North Korean uniforms. U.S. intelligence reporting during the Korean War as well as the testimony of a number of POWs who had contact with Soviet personnel tends to confirm this policy. There are also some examples of the Soviets' failure to adhere to this policy, usually involving hasty interrogations conducted shortly after capture. However, these examples are in the minority. Specifically, there are no known examples of Soviet officers wearing Soviet uniforms participating in formal interrogations with the exceptions of the cases of 1Lt Parks and Cpl Flores, cited in Part I. For Soviet personnel to have worn their uniforms during the interrogation of U.S. POWs argues at a minimum that the POWs were in the Soviet Union and that the Soviet authorities may have considered the issue of deniability to be irrelevant for men who were never going home.
Lieutenant Colonel Philip J. Corso. Further evidence comes from contemporary U.S. intelligence sources. LTC Philip Corso, who served as Chief, Special Projects branch of the Intelligence Division, Far East Command, under Generals Douglas MacArthur, Matthew Ridgeway and Mark Clark during the Korean War. One of his primary duties was to keep track of enemy POW camps in North Korea, their location, the conditions at these camps, the estimated number of U.S. and other UN POWs held at each camp, and their treatment at the hands of the enemy. He has stated
58 Amembassy Moscow Message, 021430Z Oct 92, Subject: POW/MIA: Maj Gen Loeffke's Personal Assessment of Moscow POW/MIA Team's Operations.
59 Amembassy Moscow Message, 261132Z Oct 92, Subject: POW/MIA: Follow-Up Interview with Colonel Gavril Korotkov.
emphatically under oath before the U.S. Senate that U.S. POWs were taken to the Soviet Union. He stated that his information came from hundreds of intelligence reports from agents, defectors, North Korean and Chinese POWs, civilians, and repatriated U.S. POWs.F60 He also stated that at least two and possibly three trainloads of U.S. POWs were transferred from Chinese to Soviet custody at the rail transshipment point of Manchuoli on the Manchurian-Chita Oblast border of China and the Soviet Union. He estimated that each trainload could carry a maximum of 450 POWs. His information formed the basis of a major national policy decision by President Eisenhower in 1954. LTC Corso's professional determination of the situation was based on the concentrated application of the intelligence resources of the United States. F61
LTC Corso stated during a videotaped interview with Task Force Russia in January 1993:
I secured this information from I'd say, hundreds of prisoner of war reports, from Chinese and North Korea, who actually saw these prisoners being transported and later I talked to a few high level Soviet defectors who confirmed it - that this transfer was going on . . . . And that they were being taken to the Soviet Union. We estimated they were taken there for intelligence purposes. The operation, as far as we were concerned, was a GRU/NKVD operation in those days. And it was mostly to elicit information from them, possibly take over their identities or use them as agents, or . . . to assume their identities. And we had information along this line that this was being done . . . . Also, we had information that once the information was taken from them, and they were used, how the Soviets saw fit to use them, they were eliminated, and they would never come back. Which actually happened - they never came back. They were killed, which was Soviet policy, also.
The source of this information, as I said, was hundreds of prisoner reports, North Korean and Chinese prisoners that we took, defectors and other intelligence that I can't describe for certain reasons. And, as I say, photographs, because we
60 The U.S. side of the Joint Commission has conducted an intensive search for the hundreds of intelligence reports that Lieutenant Colonel Corso has cited. No reports of that magnitude have been found.
61 Statement of Lt. Col. Philip J. Corso, U.S. Army (ret.) Hearings of U.S. Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, Washington, D.C., November 10, 1992. Interview with Lt. Col. Corso by Task Force Russia, 11 November 1992.
photographed the camps, and so we saw movements, and the - people on the ground, civilians, also would come through. This was the intelligence process, put together very, very carefully, for a long period of time, matching all information and putting them together to show a pattern in the picture. F62
LTC Corso's single most dramatic source was North Korean Lieutenant General Pak San Yong. Pak was a Soviet colonel of Korean ethnicity who had been seconded to the North Korean People's Army and promoted to lieutenant general. He was also a member of the North Korean Communist Central Committee. Pak had been captured and disguised himself as a private but had been denounced by anti-Communist fellow prisoners. Under interrogation, he revealed that U.S. POWs had been sent to the Soviet Union and that they had been prioritized by specialty and that he had a list of those specialties. Pak had no information on the number of POWs sent to the Soviet Union.F63
In response to a question on how closely the defector information paralleled the information from POWs, LTC Corso responded:
Very close, in fact. What I was seeking from the defectors was the KGB/GRU operation. Not so much that prisoners were being taken to the Soviet Union, because we already knew that. But I wanted to learn more of the method of the operation of the GRU/KGB on how they used these prisoners, because that was the intelligence aspect of this. We knew that some were being used for espionage and maybe some for sabotage and we wanted to know what we could find out. So, mostly, my information on numbers and the transfer of prisoners was not taken from defectors. I didn't need that from defectors - we had that information, but operations within the Soviet Union, and the way they treated and what they did with these prisoners - that was where we were lacking in a lot of our information. And that I tried to get - and I got it - from defectors.F64
LTC Corso's concern that U.S. POWs were being recruited and trained for espionage missions was born out in June 1954 when the U.S. Army advised the Air Force that
62 Statement provided by LTC Corso to Task Force Russia, 23 February 1993, and video interview of LTC Corso conducted with Task Force Russia on the same date.
63 Annex B to Task Force Russia Biweekiy Report 13 November 1992, Subject: Interview with LTC (Retired) Philip Corso.
evidence had been uncovered which concerned the assignment of
Sabotage and Espionage missions to repatriated American prisoners of war during "Big and Little Switch," and that quite recently new cases of this type have been discovered. F65
The memorandum further stated that "Army intelligence could not rule out the possibility that POWs had accepted 'sleeper' missions. n The Army took this seriously enough to bar repatriated POWs from accepting overseas assignments for eighteen months after their return to the United States.F66
Lieutenant Colonel Delk Simpson. LTC Corso's determination and that of the Far East Command were corroborated in part by a more humble source in March 1954 when a former Soviet railway worker made an extensive statement to the U.S. Air Force Liaison Officer, LTC Delk Simpson, in Hong Kong. He also described his observation of the transfer of several trainloads of U.S. POWs from Chinese to Soviet custody at Manchuoli, his place of work, in 1951 and 1952. He first observed POWs in the railroad station the Spring of 1951. About three months later, he observed a second shipment and was impressed with the large number of blacks among the POWs. He was also able to identify OD outer clothing and the field jacket M1943, the very uniform item that the mass of U.S. POWs would be wearing. The railway worker further stated that he was told by a close Russian friend whose job was numbering railroad cars passing through Man-chu-li that numerous other POW trains passed through Man-chu-li. These shipments were reported often and when United Nations forces were on the offensive. F67
John Foster Dulles. Based on the Hong Kong report and other information that the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, sent a message to Ambassador Boylan in Moscow on 19 April 1954 stating, "This report corroborates previous indications UNC POWs might have been shipped to Siberia during Korean hostilities. n He then instructed Ambassador Boylan to approach the highest
65 Memorandum to Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 Intelligence, Department of the Army (Secret) from Gilbert R. Levy, Chief, Counter Intelligence Division, Directorate of Special Investigations, The Inspector General, Department of the Air Force, June 14, 1954.
66 Paul M. Cole, World War II. Korean War. and Early Cold War MIA-POW Issues (draft) (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, April 1993) p. 578.
67 Foreign Service Dispatch, Amcongen, Hong Kong, Desp. No. 1716, March 23, 1954.
available level Foreign Ministry official with an Aide-Memoire.68 On 5 May, the following message was delivered to the Soviet Foreign Ministry:
The United States Government has recently received reports which support earlier indications that American prisoners of war who had seen action in Korea have been transported to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and that they are now in Soviet custody. The United States desires to receive urgently all information available to the Soviet Government concerning these American personnel and to arrange for their repatriation at the earliest possible time.F69
The Soviet Foreign Ministry responded with a dismissive note on 13 May 1954:
The assertions in the note of the United States Government that American prisoners of war, participants in military action in Korea, have been transferred to the Soviet Union and are at the present time maintained under Soviet guard are without any kind of basis and are clearly invented, as there are not and have not been any such persons in the Soviet Union.F70
Captain Mel Giles. Echoing the claims of both LTC Corso and LTC Simpson, was the information provided by CAPT Mel Gile, Far East Command Liaison Group, during the Korean War. In interviews in 1990, CAPT Giles maintained that one of his agents had found that 63 U.S. POWs were being shipped by truck and rail from Pyongyang, North Korea to Chita, in the Soviet Union in January 1952. Gile insisted that the report was considered so credible that the U.S. command cancelled air strikes on the railway that would be carrying the POWs.F71
CCRAK. An example of the reporting sources described by LTC Corso was an Army Combined Command for Reconnaissance Activities
68 State Department Message from Secretary of State to U.S. Ambassador, Moscow, dated 19 April 1954.
69 Aide Memoire (No. 947) from U.S. Embassy Moscow to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, May 5, 1954.
70 Soviet Foreign Ministry Note, dated May 13, 1954.
71 "Chronology of Policy and Intelligence Matters Concerning Unaccounted for U.S. Military personnel at the end of the Korean Conflict and During the Cold War," Prepared by the Office of Senator Bob Smith, Vice-Chairman, Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, November 10, 1992, p. 6.
Korea (CCRAK) memorandum of 24 February 1953 which reported:
The following information was received from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea Government. Report originated from the Nationalist Chinese Embassy --
According to reliable information, the Communist ChineseForce have transferred UN POWs to Russia in violation of the Geneva Conference. These POWs will be specially trained at Moscow for espionage work. POWs transferred to Moscow are grouped as follows: British 5, Americans 10, Canadians 3, and 50 more from various countries.
Russia has established a Higher Informant Training Team at Uran, Hodasong (phonetic) in Siberia in October 1952. 500 persons are receiving training, one third of them women. Japanese constitute the largest group and the others are Korean, Filipinos, Burmese, and American.
The date of this information is October - 22 December 1952. The U.S. Army Combined Command for Reconnaissance Activities, Korea, comments in this memorandum:
This office has received sporadic reports of POWs being moved to the USSR since the very inception of the hostilities in Korea. These reports came in great volume through the earlier months of the war, and then tapered off to a standstill in early 1951, being revived by a report from January of this year (1953). It is definitely possible that such action is being taken as evidenced by past experience with Soviet authorities. All previous reports state POWs who are moved to the USSR are technical specialists who are employed in mines, factories, etc. This is the first report that are being used as espionage agents that is carried by this office.F72
Zygmunt Nagorskl. In addition to the Man-chu-li transit point, other routes for POW transfer to the Soviet Union have been identified. The journalist, Zygmunt Nagorski, obtained this information from two members of the MVD and an employee of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. This other POW transit point was through the North Korean-Soviet border at Pos'yet between November 1951 and April 1952 when ice closed the Pacific coast and the Tatar Straits. These POWs were taken from Pos'yet through Chita by rail to Molotov (now Perm). The dates of this
72 Memorandum, Headquarters, Combined Command for Reconnaissance Activities Korea, 8242 Army Unit, CCRAK # M-101, 24 February 1953, Subject: CCF Military Conference concerning the Far East Situation.
operation coincide exactly with the dates for the transfer of POWs in the Hong Kong report, November 1951 to April 1952.F73
Another route was by sea when the ice receded. POWs, apparently mostly South Koreans from the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) and other South Korean political prisoners, were transported by sea to Soviet Far Eastern ports such as Magadan and Okhotsk from which they were moved to the infamous Kolyma complexes around Yakutsk and to Vankarem on the Chukotsk Sea and to Ust Maisk on the Aldan River. These prisoners apparently were selected because of their anti-communist attitudes. The POWs sent to the Yakutsk ASSR were forced to build and staff coal mines, earth works, and dams and were under the supervision of the Ministry of Coal Production and the Ministry of Forests. The camps were under the command of an MVD officer named Sorotchuk. The POWs sent to the Chukotsk Peninsula, apparently to the number of at least 12,000, were used to build roads, electric power plants, and airfields. A civilian party functionary, probably a member of the MGB, was in charge of political education and indoctrination. He appeared to have been an ethnic Korean Soviet named Chinbo. There was a high mortality rate among all these prisoners.F74
From Pos'yet and possibly Man-chu-li about 300 U.S. and/or European POWs reportedly were transported by rail to Chita and from there to Molotov (now Perm) in February 1952 under heavy MVD guard. In the previous August and November of 1951, there had also been the movement of POWs from Chita. These latter POWs had been sent to Arkhangelsk Oblast to camps at Kotlas on the Northern Dvina and to Lalsk. In March of 1952, POWs passed through Khabarovsk and Chita to Molotov about every two weeks in small groups of up to 50 men. Chita appears to have been a concentration point for the POWs where they were incarcerated in the local MVD prisons, and when a sufficient number had been collected, then sent on to Molotov. The POWs may have been undergoing a selection process at this time. From December 1951 through the end of April 1952, trains of U.S. and European (probably British) POWs passed at intervals into the Komi-Permysk National District to Molotov, Gubakha, Kudymkar, and Chermoz. In April 1952, a number of U.S. officer POWs, referred to informally as the 'American General Staff', were kept under strict isolation in Molotov. In the town of Gubakha and in the industrial regions of Kudymkar and Chermoz, there were three isolated camps and one
73 Central Intelligence Agency, Information Report, 15 July 1952, Subject: Location of Certain Soviet Transit Camps for Prisoners of War from Korea. Zygmunt Nagorski, Jr., "Unreported G.I.'s in Siberia," Esquire, May 1953. 74 Ibid.
interrogation prison for U.S. POWs. At a camp called Gaysk about 200 POWs were kept and forced to work in workshops assembling rails and doing various technical jobs. These camps were completely isolated. Political education and indoctrination was carried out by the local Party organization headed by a functionary named Edovin, a delegate from the Obkom of the Komi- Perm National District. All these camps were under the command of an officer named Kalypin. Every few days several of the POWs were removed from the camps and not returned.F75
In 1990 Nagorski was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as stating that in the 1950s his foreign reporters had an extensive 'source network' of truck drivers and other working-class Soviets employed at or near prisons in Molotov, Khabarovsk, Chita, Omsk, Chermoz and elsewhere. Nagorski claimed his sources informed him that there were still up to 1,000 Americans POWs in Siberia from the Korean War when he last had contact with them in the late 1950s.F76
Other Foreign Sources. Over the years reports of American POWs in Soviet custody were provided by a number of foreign sources which are described below:
Turkish Traveler. On 5 February 1954 a reliable, friendly foreign intelligence service reported to an agency of the U.S. information they had received from a Turkish source traveling in Central Asia. The source, who had been interrogated in Turkey, states that while at Mukden, Manchuria, he "saw several coaches full of Europeans who were also taken to the USSR. They were not Russians. Source passed the coaches several times and head them talk in a language unknown to him." The source stated that one of the coaches was full of wounded Caucasians who were not speaking at all.F77
76 Senator Bob Smith citing the Los Anqeles Times, 8 July 1990
77 Charity Interrogation Report No. 619 referenced in declassified cables dtd 23 march 1954 and cited in "Chronology of Policy and Intelligence Matters Concerning Unaccounted for U.S. Military Personnel at the End of the Korean Conflict and During the Cold War," Prepared by he Office of Senator Bob Smith, Vice-Chairman, Select Committed on POW/MIA Affairs, November 10, 1992.
The Soviets transferred several hundred U.S. Korean War POWs to the USSR and did not repatriate them. This transfer was mainly politically motivated with the intent of holding them as political hostages, subjects for intelligence exploitation, and skilled labor within the camp system.
o There were at least two rail transshipment points for POWs:
o Through the Manchurian rail transshipment point of Man-chu-li into the Soviet Union.
o Through North Korea to the rail center at Pos'yet across the border in the Primorksiy Krai.
o Large numbers of UNC POWs were transported by sea to a number of Soviet ports on the Sea of Japan and Sea of Okhotsk for rail transportation into the interior of the Soviet Union. o Large numbers of South Korean POWs were also taken as part of this program and made up the bulk of the transfer population.
o A intense period of activity for the rail transportation of POWs was November 1951 through April 1952. Transportation by ship took place, for at least some of the prisoners, during the ice free months.
o From Khabarovsk POWs were sent by rail to another collection point in Chita and then to a number of camps in the Komi-Perm National District.
Evidence from Within the Soviet Union
Once the transfer of U.S. Korean War POWs to the Soviet Union was completed, the prisoners would have faced a long period of imprisonment. In that time, the opportunity increased for their whereabouts to become known to citizens of the USSR. Most of that knowledge appears logically to have come from other prisoners in the vast Soviet concentration camp system. Before 1992, occasional reports of contact with U.S. POWs in the Soviet camp system filtered out of the Soviet Union and were recorded by United States intelligence agencies. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of former Soviet citizens have come forward to report such contacts.
One of the difficulties in matching the names provided by these former Soviet citizens was the practice by Soviet prison authorities to often change the names of foreign prisoners and to forbid them to use their real names. This practice was confirmed by Lieutenant General (retired) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) Yuriy Filippovich Yezerskiy.
Yezerskiy stated that tracking down specific foreigner prisoners in the former Soviet prison system would be very difficult because the names of foreigners were routinely changed, usually to other foreign rather than to Russian names. He suggested that the best source for the real names of prisoners would likely be other prisoners who knew them. He suspected that records of name changes may exist, most likely somewhere in Moscow.F78
In possible confirmation of Lieutenant General Yezerskiy's testimony, none of the persons named in the following sighting reports can be identified through U.S. casualty records of the Korean War.
Sightings in the Komi ASSR
Sighting No. 1. Lieutenant General Yezerskiy further stated that he had seen four to five Americans in Vorkuta, in the Komi ASSR, in 1954-1956 . These individuals were at the time all in their early to mid-twenties. He said he thought they were all from the
78 Amembassy Moscow Message, 2711132Z May 93, Subject: POW/MIA Team - Moscow: Weekly Activity Report 19/93, May 9 to 15, 1993.
World War II period but that they could have been from the Korean War.
Sighting No. 2. The Case of Captain Mooradian. One of the most precise reports was made by Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kazersky to Task Force Russia-Moscow team members on 27 October 1992. Mr. Kazersky had been decorated twice in the Great Patriotic War but thereafter had been sentenced to twenty years in the camps. He served at a camp called Zimka in the Komi ASSR and was released in the general amnesty after Stalin's death. He stated that while in the camp, he met U.S. Korean War POW from California. According to the TFR-M report:
Kazersky was aware that there were Americans at Zimka from camp rumor, and, in the Fall of 1952 or the Spring of 1953, he had a single encounter with an American pilot who had been shot down in North Korea and forced to land in Soviet territory near Vladivostok. The pilot said his plane had a crew of three and his radioman had been in Zimka as well, but had possibly been moved to another camp called "Yaser" after a brief period. The pilot did not know what had happened to the third crew member.
The pilot remained at Zimka for three to six months, and was then transferred to an unknown location. He was about thirty years old, five feet seven inches tall, slender, dark-haired and dark-complected, and in good health. He did not smoke and had a small oval scar on one of his cheeks. Kazersky believes he was of southern European origin, perhaps Italian or Greek. The pilot, whose nickname was "The American" (Amerikanets) lived in barracks number six, and worked in the consumer goods (Shirpotreb) section making frames for greenhouses. Kazersky had direct contact with the American only once and communication was difficult. the pilot had been in isolation for a year or more, and had learned very little Russian. Kazersky knew very little English. He could not recall the pilot's name (prisoners were almost always addressed by nickname, but is still firmly convinced that he was an American pilot.F79
At our request provided this information to Air Force Casualty Affairs which did a computer search of its MIAs using the military and biographical information stated by Mr. Kazersky. Air Force Casualty found a surprisingly close match in Capt Ara Mooradian, USAF, who was reported missing in action on 23 October 1951. Although not all information matched perfectly, there was agreement on the following points:
79 Amembassy Moscow Message, 301715Z Oct 92, Subject: POW/MIA: Interview with Nikolay Dmitriyevich Kazersky.
1. Mooradian's date of loss could-have placed him in a camp at the time stated by Kazersky.
2. He was from Fresno, California, the state Kazersky remembered.
3. Mooradian fit the physical description and was dark- haired and complected. He was of Armenian origin and could have been confused in Kazersky's memory for a southern European.
4. Six members of Mooradian's B-29 were listed as missing in action, two bodies were recovered, and five were repatriated. The man Kazersky met could have been referring to the survivors of his crew that were in the camp, one of whom was the radar -- not radio -- operator.
5. Although there was nothing in Capt Mooradian's file that indicated he had a facial scar, an examination of his photo in Air Force Manual 200-25 showed a faint round scar on his right cheek. This photo was enhanced by the National Photographic Interpretation Center whose analysts concluded that the mark was not a photographic anomaly but probably was indeed a scar.
The areas of disagreement with Kazersky's statement are:
1. Mooradian's aircraft was shot down over the Bay of Korea which was on the opposite side of the Korean Peninsula from Vladivostok.
2. He was the bombardier rather than the pilot of his B-29.
3. His aircraft had a crew of thirteen and not three.
4. Capt Mooradian was 6'1/2" tall instead of 5'8".
At a subsequent interview, Mr. Kazersky was shown a photo line-up of missing pilots and asked to identify the American he had met. He chose four photos as possibly being the one, one of which was that of Capt Mooradian.
Sighting No. 3. On 18 March 1993, TFR-M team members interviewed former prison guard Grigoriy Nikolayevich Minayev in St. Petersburg. Minayev claimed a guard from another battalion who worked at the maximum security prison in Mozindur (Mezhador), just south of Syktyvkar, Komi ASSR, told him in September 1983 of an American Korean War POW who was being kept there under maximum security (Osobiy Rezhim). In addition, Minayev said that his
80 Air Force Manual 200-25, Missinq in Action -- Korea, 16 January 1961, p. 95.