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.
warrant officer training courses mentioned that foreign inmates- - were held in Syktyvkar during the fifties and sixties. While he was guard at the inter-oblast MVD/KGB hospital (ITK-12) in St. Petersburg, Minayev maintained that as recently as three years ago he saw foreign inmates brought there and secretly treated in a separate hospital wing in a ward for "imperialist intruders."F81
Sighting No. 4. On 26 March 1993, in response to the advertisement placed in the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Alekandra Yakovelevna Istogina called TFR-M to report that her husband, Leonid Sidko, had met an American POW in Minlag Camp, Inta, which is located south of Vorkuta in the Komi ASSR. She stated that Sidko had met and served with the American from 1953 to 1954, whose name he remembered as Alek Muller Zayolitz. According to Istogina, her husband had described him as approximately 30 years old, had dark hair, and spoke Russian well. She said her husband indicated that the American was transferred with several Germans to Moscow in 1954.F82
Sighting No. 5. On 6 April 1993, TFR-M team members received a letter at the U.S. Embassy in Talinn from Mr. Elmar Vesker. Mr. Vesker stated that after Stalin's death in March 1953, an American named Boris Holtzman, was taken to Schahto Kapitalnaya Camp 75/1 in Vorkuta. The American spoke some Estonian and fluent English and Russian. He was about 175-180 cm tall, stout, round-faced, curly-haired. Mr. Veskar stated that the American was sent to the Soviet Union from China and captured. He was first imprisoned in a special camp in Moscow after which he was taken to Vorkuta.F83
Sighting No. 6. On 15 April 1993, TFR-M team members in Talinn, Estonia, received a letter from Mrs. Lidia Hallemaa. Mrs. Hallemaa enclosed a photo, taken in 1955 in a prison camp in Vorkuta, where her brother Otto Adler had been imprisoned. Adler told his sister that three or four Americans were imprisoned in the same camp. Mr. Adler is now dead.
81 Amembassy Moscow Message, 281821Z Mar 93, Subject: POW/MIA: Interview With Former Prison Guard Grigoriy Minayev St. Petersburg.
82 Amembassy Moscow Message, 060913Z Apr 93, Subject: POW/MIA Team - Moscow: Weekly Activity Report 12/93, March 21 to 27, 1993.
83 Amembassy Talinn Message, 201028Z Apr 93, Subject: POW/MIA: Information from Residents of Estonia.
Sightings in Khabarovsk
Sighting No. 7. Japanese POWs. A Japanese POW from World War II repatriated from POW Camp No. 21 at Khabarovsk, stated that (1) he had heard from a camp guard that two Americans had been brought to Khabarovsk prison and were being investigated as spies; (2) he had heard from Soviet guards, prisoners, and laborers in April and May 1953 that 12 or 13 Americans, crew members of a military plane shot down by the Soviets were in a Khabarovsk prison; (3) he heard from prisoners in 1951 or early 1952 that an American fisherman, captured in the Gulf of Alaska, was brought to the Magadan region; and (4) he heard from a guard on a Soviet prisoner train at No. 2 station, Khabarovsk, in about June 1952 that there was a prison camp in the USSR for Americans only. Another Japanese reported that he had heard from the chief of the POW camp at Debin in October 1953 that an American Air Force officer was in a military hospital 500 miles north of Magadan (location unlocatable due to phonetic rendering). He reported that the officer had been sentenced to 25 years in prison in 1925 as a suspected spy.F84
Sighting No. 8. On 4 August 1992, Task Force Russia-Moscow team members interviewed Vladimir Yakovlevich Voronin, a prisoner in Semipalatinsk, who claimed to have met three Americans while serving an earlier sentence from 1951 to 1953 at the 5th Lagpunkt in Khabarovsk.
To the best of Voronin's recollection, the three Americans arrived at the camp in October 1952, and departed two months later. Voronin mainly observed the Americans at a distance, over a period of only a few weeks. The three Americans left the camp together with the Vlasov contingent (anti-communist Russians who had served under General Vlasov with the Germans in World War II) of about 20. A camp orderly, Volodya Khrustalev, told Voronin that the American had left with the "traitors". Khrustalev told Voronin that the Vlasov troopers were shot, but he did not know the fate of the Americans . . . . No one really knew who these Americans were, Voronin asserted. They were rumored to be U.S. military flyers, but none spoke Russian.F85
Voronin further related that he had contact with one American for an hour on a woodcutting detail. The American was notably thin, well over six feet (the tallest man in the camp), appeared to be
84 Information Report, 29 December 1953, Subject: American Prisoners-of-War Held in the USSR.
85 Amembassy Message, 050135Z Aug 92, Subject: Interview in Semipalatinsk with Individual Who Saw Americans in Khabarovsk.
about 30, had light hair and fair complexion. The other Americans appeared to be of darker complexion and were about 5'10" . All three Americans stood together at camp roll calls.F86
Sighting No. 9. On 22 March 1993 TFR-M received from the Central Russian Military Museum copies of a secret telegram and a top secret report from the files of the convoy troops which show the transfer in September 1953 of a Cecil August Stoner (NFI) from Khabarovsk to Moscow.F87
Sighting No. 10. On 7 April 1993, TFR-M received a letter from Artur Roopalu in Estonia. Mr. Roopalu stated that in 1951, he spent two days in a Vladivostok transit camp with two Americans. They had arrived there earlier and stayed after he left. These Americans did not have contact with other prisoners. One of them was abut 185 cm tall, well-built, dark, and the other was 180 cm tall. Mr. Roopalu heard in this camp that many Americans were taken from Khabarovsk to Magadan and from there to Kalama [Kolyma] or Puhtavanina.
Sightings in Irkutsk
Sighting No. 11. In August 1956 a recently returned Austrian prisoner of war, Mr. Albert Skala, reported to the U.S. Embassy in Vienna that he had known a U.S. Army officer, named Lieutenant Racek, with whom he had been imprisoned in the Soviet Union. Mr. Scala stated that the American was an officer of armored forces in Korea. Skala stated the he first met Racek in 1951 in Prison #2 in Irkutsk and that the two were cellmates there and subsequently in Lubyanka Prison in Moscow until the time of Skala's release in 1955.F88
Sighting No. 12. On 11 December 1992, a TFR-M team representative interviewed Romas Kausevicius near Vilnius, Lithuania. Mr. Kausevicius consistently repeated his story of meeting an American pilot named Robert in an Irkutsk KGB prison
86 Ibid .
87 Amembassy Moscow Message, 060913Z Apr 93, Subject: POW/MIA Team - Moscow: Weekly Activity Report 12/93, March 21 to 27, 1993.
88 Amembassy Vienna, Foreign Service Dispatch No. 169, August 21, 1956, Subject: American Citizen Detained in USSR.
cell in June 1950.F89
Sighting No. 13. From 6-12 December 1992, TFR-M team members traveled to Irkutsk and Khabarovsk to investigate the claim made by Mr. Romas Kaluskevicius that he had met an American POW in transit prison Camp #7 in Irkutsk in the late Summer of 1950. TFR-M confirmed that Mr. Kaluskevicius was, indeed, imprisoned in Irkutsk in that period, ending on 3 August 1950.F 90
Sighting in Taishet
Sighting No. 14. On 6 April 1993, TFR-M received a letter from Enn Kivilo in Estonia. Mr. Kivilo stated that he was imprisoned in prison camp L/P 011 (50 km from Bratsk in the direction of Taishet) in 1952 and served with an American POW named Jimmy Braiton or Baker. The American was about 180 cm tall, had dark eyes, played chess very well. F91
Sightings in Mordova
Sighting No. 15. On 2 August 1993, TFR-M team members interviewed Mr. Boris Uibo in Estonia. Mr. Uibo stated that in 1952 he served with an American Korean War POW in Camp #18, a close-hold camp for foreign prisoners, near Potma in Mordova (Mordvin ASSR). This American's name was Gary or Harry and, according to Uibo, definitely an American shot down in the Korean War. The American and Uibo worked together making wooden chess pieces. Uibo described Gary as no older than 25. Uibo stated that there was a concerted effort by the Soviets to hide the fact that they were holding foreign prisoners. Sometime late in 1953, Uibo was transferred to a hospital in Camp #9 and lost track of Gary. Uibo said that Soviet citizen prisoners were permitted to write two letters per year in Russian so they could easily be censored, but foreign prisoners, including Gary, were not permitted this privilege even though they could have gotten someone to translate their letters into Russian. He said no Soviet would take the risk of sending a letter on behalf of, or
89 Amembassy Moscow Message, 311510 Dec 92, Subject: POW/MIA Team - Moscow: Weekly Activity Report 22/92, December 6 to 26, 1992.
90 Amembassy Moscow Message, 311004 Dec 92, Subject: TFR-M Trip to Irkutsk and Khabarovsk.
91 Amembassy Talinn, 201028Z Apr 93, Subject: POW/MIA: Information from Residents of Estonia.
mentioning, a foreign prisoner.F92
Sighting No. 16. Sometime in the Winter of early 1954 after his release from Camp #9, Mr. Uibo was transferred to Camp #5 where he was assigned to work in the power station. It was at this camp that he met a black American pilot whom he described as 180 cm tall, slim, and athletic. He worked in a woodworking shop where furniture was made for the Kremlin. He believes that the American was still in the camp when he was released on 30 March 1955.F93
Sighting in Novosibirsk
Sighting No. 17. On 22 June 1993, a TFR-M team representative interviewed Mr. Bronius Skardzius near Utena, Lithuania. Mr. Skardzius told of his encounter with Americans at a Novosibirsk transit prison about June, 1952. He stated that there were two American pilots in the group of prisoners brought into his small room. The other prisoners were Germans. The Americans told him they had been shot down in Korea. They were dressed in khaki shirts and trousers with no belts or shoelaces (the authorities did not allow these to be kept). The first American told him that he was a captain in the Air Force.F94
Sighting in the Bashkir ASSR
Sighting No. 18. On 13 April 1993, TFR-M team members in Tallin, Estonia, received a letter from Felix Pullerits. Mr. Pullerits stated that from 1953 to 1955 he was imprisoned along with an American pilot named Lieberman, in a prison camp of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), Building No. 18, near Salavati in the Ishinbai district of Bashkiria (Bashkir ASSR).F95
Sightings in Norllsk
Sighting No. 19. During the week of 19-26 April 1993, TFR-M team members interviewed Mr. Apollinaris Klivecka in Vilnius,
92 Amembassy Moscow Message, 161156 Aug 93, Subject: POW/MIA Interviews in Estonia.
94 Amembassy Vilnius Message, 191431Z Apr 93, Subject: Reports of Contacts with POW/MIAs.
95 Amembassy Tallinn Message, 201028Z Apr 93, Subject: Information from Residents of Estonia.
Lithuania. Mr. Klivecka stated that while imprisoned in the Kairakam (Death Field) he worked in the infirmary at the camp near Norilsk. In 1953 shortly after Stalin's death (March), he was ordered to inspect twenty prisoners who were waiting at the guard gate. He stated that two of them were so emaciated and exhausted that he recommended they be placed in the infirmary. One of them was a Japanese officer from the Kwangtung Army captured at the end of World War II. The other was an American pilot, named Robertson. The American spoke fluent Korean and also used a Korean name, Kim Sung Chung. He spent three months recuperating and regaining his strength. Since the infirmary was shorthanded, he was trained as a nurse's aid. Mr. Klivecka stated that Robertson and he lived in the same barracks until his release in January 1955. The American explained that he had been shot down over North Korea but had not been captured immediately. Since he spoke Korean, he turned himself in claiming that he was fleeing South Korea and that his mother was Korean, his father European. Korean officials sentenced him to a work camp where American POWs were imprisoned, especially pilots. When one of them recognized him, his Korean captors interrogated and tortured him. After he revealed his identity, he was turned over to the Soviets. Since he used two names, he was accused of espionage and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. After Stalin's death, all the prisoners received Red Cross packages except the American.F96
Sighting No. 20. The weeks of 3-14 May 1993, TFR-M received a letter from Mr. Valentinas Piekys, Vilnius, Lithuania who wrote that he had been a political prisoner in the Kapchikan Komsomolsky Camp near Norilsk. He stated that in 1949-1950 two Americans in military uniform were brought to the camp. They were in the camp for three months and then sent to some other place.F97
Sightings in Kemerovo
Sighting No. 21. During the week of 19-26 April 1993 in Vilnius, Lithuania, TFR-M team members received a letter from Mr. Povilas Markevicius. Mr. Markevicius wrote that in the Spring of 1952 he met two American prisoners while imprisoned in Kemerovo Oblast. The Americans said they had been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. He described the one he had conversations with in poor Russian as about 170-173 cm, of swarthy completion, and with
96 Amembassy Vilnius Message, 261531Z Apr 93, Subject: Report of Contact with POW/MIAs.
97 Amembassy Vilnius Message, 170936Z May 93, Subject: POW/MIA Report of Contacts.
dark hair. The other American was taller and with auburn hair. The main topic of conversation was always escape. One rainy and windy night in the Spring the Americans actually did escape. Usually when escaped prisoners were caught, their dead bodies were put in the middle of the square to threaten others. However, he did not see any dead bodies after this incident.F98
Sightings ln Kazahkstan
Sighting No. 22. In April 1993, TFR-M team members in Vilnius, Lithuania, received a letter from Mr. Jokubas Bruzdeilinas who was imprisoned in a camp for political criminals at the Dzezhkazgan Mines, Karaganda Oblast, Kazakh SSR. Mr. Bruzdeilinas wrote that he served with an American pilot of the rank of major named Joseph shot down in either Korea or Vietnam. His date of birth was approximately 1920. This argues for an officer in the Korean War. Mr. Bruzdeilinas also wrote that the pilot was a Lithuanian American which was why he was put in a camp for Lithuanian prisoners. F99
Sighting No. 23. During the week of 3-14 May 1993, TFR-M received a letter from Mr. Jonas Zilaitis who wrote that he had served in the Kengyro Camp, Dzezkagan Oblast, in the Kazakh SSR. He claimed to have met a black American pilot there approximately at the time of a prisoner rebellion in May-June 1954.F100
Sighting in Archangelsk
Sighting No. 24. On 12 January 1993, a retired Ukrainian military veteran telephoned the U.S. Embassy in Kiev that he saw an American citizen in a prison camp in Russia's Archangelsk Oblast in 1969 or 1970. He did not meet the man personally but heard him speak English. The veteran identified himself only as "Viktor" said he had been assigned to the labor camp (Vypravno- Trudova Kolonia) in the Archangelsk provincial center of Yerstevo as a driver. Viktor characterized the American prisoner as robust and taller than average. Viktor was never told his name and heard no more about him. Viktor put his age at late 50s to
98 Amembassy Vilnius Message, 261531Z Apr 93, Subject: Report of Contacts With POW/MIAs.
99 Amembassy Vilnius Message, 1914312Z Apr 93, Subject: Reports of Contact With POW/MIA's.
100 Amembassy Vilnius Message, 170936Z May 93, Subject: POW/MIA Report of Contacts.
Patterns Among the Sightings
Out of twenty-two sightings, six are in the Komi ASSR. The Komi ASSR was home to the infamous Vorkuta concentration camp complex. We know that there were Americans in this particular area because five of the most well-known U.S. citizens imprisoned in the Soviet Union (John Noble, William Marchuk, Homer Cox, Leland Towers, and Wilford Cumish) all served their sentences in just this area. John Noble has stated that, although he did not see any American POWs in his camps at Vorkuta, he did hear rumors that they were in the complex. F102 The Komi ASSR also on a direct rail line from the Komi-Permskaya National District and the Perm Oblast, the areas Mr. Nagorksi identified as the end of the line for Americans POWs.F103 Apparently the end of the line was a little further north than Mr. Nagorski was able to detect.
Another four sightings were in prison camps in and around the city of Khabarovsk. Each of these sightings is described in terms of the transit of prisoners. Khabarovsk was a transit point for U.S. POWs as also described by Mr. Nagorski. This association was confirmed by Colonel Korotkov's statements that tens if not hundreds of POWs were interrogated there and his later statement that they transited Khabarovsk to unknown locations within the camp system. Three of the sightings were i Irkutsk, also a transit point in the movement of prisoners.
101 Amembassy Kiev Message, 141707Z Jan 93, Subject: Additional POW/MIA Information.
102 John Noble, Interview with Task Force Russia, 1992. Mr. Noble stated further that he did see former Soviet soldiers in the camps as prisoners, sentenced for having been captured in Korea by the Americans who repatriated them.
103 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.
The Soviet and Americans sources and documentation already discussed present a consistent and mutually reinforcing description of Soviet operations to transport U.S. Korean War POWs to the USSR. These sources, where they frequently overlap, agree in the following basic elements of this operation:
1. The Soviet Union transported U.S. Korean War POWs to the Soviet Union and never repatriated them. The transfer program had two elements:
o The first element was an in execution of an intelligence collection requirement and resulted in the transfer of a limited number of POWs with specialized skills, mostly F-86 pilots and other personnel for the purpose of technical exploitation.
o The second element was politically motivated and resulted in the transfer of several hundred POWs with the intent of holding them as political hostages, for intelligence exploitation, and for use as skilled labor within the camp system.
2. The transfer operation was conducted and carefully controlled by the MGB.
3. Khabarovsk was a center for POW control operations in the Soviet Far East. Interrogation operations were based there. It also served as a temporary internment site for POWs. The Komi-Permskaya National District, the Perm Oblast, and the Komi ASSR appear to be the locations where many of these POWs were kept.
4. Other prisoners, mostly F-86 pilots, were exploited to support the work of Soviet aircraft design bureaus.
After the death of Stalin in March 1953 and the subsequent execution of Beria, the possession of U.S. POWs as hostages may have been seen as a liability by the succeeding Soviet leadership. With the deepening of ideological animosity between the United States and the Soviet Union, acknowledgement of the taking of POWs to the Soviet Union, could only have further worsened that already deadly relationship. According to COL Corso, President Eisenhower did not press the POW issue to the
hilt because he feared that it could have precipitated general war. Eisenhower feared 8,000,000 American dead if war occurred at this time. From the other side of the dark glass, the new Soviet leadership might well have had the same fears and consigned the POWs in their hands to oblivion.
How Many Men are Truly Unaccounted for from the Korean War.
One of the more difficult problems we face in arriving at an estimate of how many Korean War POWs that may have been taken to the Soviet Union centers on a determination of how many men are truly missing in action from that conflict. Any POWs transferred to the Soviet Union would come from this group. Presented on the next three pages is one estimate of "truly unaccounted for", prepared by Dr. Paul M. Cole, RAND Corporation, in close consultation with the U.S. Army Central Investigation Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI)
Dr. Cole's calculations yield a total of 2,195 who are truly missing. By eliminating cases where the death was witnessed or documented, he has arrived at the total of 2,195 individuals whose fate is unknown. Unfortunately, this method does not yield a list of the 2,195 by name.
At this time, CILHI is reviewing each of its 8,140 casualty (BNR) files and entering the information into a new database. This project will be not completed in less than year. Upon completion, the database will be able to provide a by-name list of those who are "truly unaccounted for".