Zion Island 12.

 

SECURITY LEVEL: COSMIC.

 

TO:                  Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

FROM:            Mr. Clyde Tolson.

 

DATE:            29 March 1951.

 

RE:                  Possible Further Security Breach, Manhattan Project.

 

Saypol[1] telephoned.  The Rosenbergs[2] have been convicted.  He anticipates that Judge Kaufman[3] will impose a harsh sentence.  Therefore, the Rosenbergs undoubtedly will inform on their KGB contacts.  They would have to be heartless fanatics not to do so.  Testifying will save their lives and not leave their sons as orphans.

 

It is vitally important, that they provide full and forthcoming information.  Recent information suggests that the security breach at Los Alamos may be more complicated than the Bureau had first understood.  This opens new lines of investigation that must be pursued.

 

At some undetermined point, Julius Rosenberg and/or Harry Gold may have supplied information on atomic weapon design to others in addition to the Russians.  The NYPD “Red Squad” has—informally–reported[4] that both men met several times with “Walter Glassman.”  The FBI assesses that this person is identical with “Vladek Spiegelman.”[5]

Bureau legal attache, Mexico City, reports that one “Gualtiero Vidrio” [translates as “Walter Glass”] entered Mexico through port of Veracruz traveling on a European Union passport.  The men may be identical.[6]

 

QUESTIONS:

Vidrio/Glassman/Spiegelman is NOT known to be a Russian operative.

Who does he represent?

How, when, and for what purpose did he arrive in the United States?

 

[1] Irving Saypol, born 1905; BA, Saint Lawrence University, JD, Brooklyn Law School; United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

[2] Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.  Espionage agents of the Soviet Union.

[3] Irving Kaufman, born 1910; JD, Fordham University School of Law.

[4] FBI Special Agent James Joseph Kelly conferred with NYPD Detective John Gerald Kelly (the men are brothers) at “The Slaughtered Lamb,” a bar in Brooklyn on Saturday, 24 March 1951.

[5] Born 1906, Czestochowa, Russian Empire.  Primary school education only.  Textile dealer.  Spiegelman was relocated from Poland to Madagascar, 1941.  Arrived in the United States on date and by means uncertain.  Agent evaluations of Spiegelman/Glassman range from “modest/unassuming/deferential” to “ruthless and calculating.”

[6] Passport information states that Vidrio was born in 1906, Czestochowa, Russian Empire.  Lately resident of Berlin, German Reich.

Zion Island 10.

IPNdeM press release, December 1947.  (My translation.)

The Instituto Politechnico Nacional de Mexico announces with great pride that Professor Albert Einstein will hold a visiting fellowship at “el Poli” for Spring Semester 1948.  While Professor Einstein will not be teaching any classes, he will give several public addresses and be available for consultation during his stay.  He will reside at a private home at #45 Avenida Viena in Coyoacan.

Zion Island 9.

Library of Congress/Admiral John A. Waters, Jr., Papers/Director of Security, Atomic Energy Commission/Miscellaneous/Notes to Self.

 

No Date.  Yellow legal pad.  Transcribed from hand-writing.

Who?

Krauts?  Already sharing Congo ore.  RH seems keen on no-pro.

Limeys?  Limited share from Congo.  RAB all about domestic reform.

Russkies?  Not much industry or science.  No air force.  Nuke Chechens?  HA!  What an idea.

Japs?  Big difference between them and US/Ger.  But Japanese China has bunch of Ur.

**Still, Geiger counter ships leaving Seattle/SF/Long Beach.

 

2 containers/30 lbs.  Why so little?  Need X for a “Trinity” bomb.  Need Y for a “Super.”  Need a lot more than that for a program.  + sci/ind infra.

Interrupted by fire engines?  Bolted?

Try again?

 

WEAPON DESIGN.  Or just dump it in Pepacton reservoir.  See what happens?

 

Then, Timms issue.[1]  Vetting.  FitzG—slimey.

 

[1] General(ret.) Thomas Timms, candidate for Commissioner, Atomic Energy Commission.

Zion Island 8.

SECRET.

 

BEGINS.

 

TO: SIC Jeffrey Morton, Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

FROM: Clyde Tolson on behalf of J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

DATE: 17 January 1953.

 

RE: Request for information.

 

Jack ZELIG may be identical with Zelig JACQUES.

INS reports that the latter entered the United States from British Mandate Palestine on a student visa on 1 August 1939 to study at the New School for Social Research in New York City.  He registered for classes, but then disappeared.

SSA reports that a “Jack Zelig” was employed as an Assistant Manager of “The Golden Arm” lounge in Newport, Kentucky from January 1943 to March 1946.  Newport PD reports that the lounge is a popular bar and restaurant with excellent floor shows.  Kentucky SP report that the lounge is a front for large-scale gambling and prostitution, and that the Newport PD is “as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.”

Kentucky SP further report their interest in a traffic incident that occurred near Newport in February 1946.  An automobile was discovered at the bottom of a steep bank, partially submerged in the Licking River.  Two men inside had died of injuries attending the accident.  Both men were “Italian gentlemen” from New Orleans.  A technician discovered black paint mixed in with the green paint on the left side of the wrecked car.

War Department reports that twenty-one men with some variant of that name served in the Army between 1940 and 1950.

Bureau examination of their service records found one Jack Zelig of particular interest.  Born: New York City, 1 August 1914.  Enlisted, March 1946, at St. Louis, Missouri.  After basic training, this Zelig was assigned to the Transportation Corps, where he trained as a truck-driver.  His commander discovered that he already spoke some Russian, so he was sent to the Army Language School, The Presidio, San Francisco.  Worked as a translator and radio observer in the listening post maintained at Fort Rousseau, Sitka, Alaska Territory.  He received a compassionate discharge upon the death of his father in March 1950.

Kentucky SP further report that the truck plate number belongs to a moving van based in Lexington, Kentucky.  Stolen sometime in late December 1952, but not reported until 2 January 1953 because it was replaced with a similar-appearing plate.  The replacement plate, in turn, was stolen off a garbage truck in Covington, Kentucky.  Replaced by a Handicapped Driver plate stolen off a Nash Metropolitan, but no one noticed.

No further information at this time.

 

Zion Island 7.

Extract from The Straits Times (Singapore), 31 March 1951, 6b.

News has just reached us that Dr. Ernst Rudin, chief medical officer on Madagascar and a well-known expert on psychiatry, died in an automobile accident on 7 March.  Dr. Rudin apparently lost control of his vehicle on a mountain road while driving from the capital city of Theresienstadt to the port city of Toamasina.  A private service (closed casket) was held on 9 March 1951.

Zion Island 6.

Sea Cargo Manifest.

General Information.

Vessel Name: S.S. Judith of Bethulia            Date of Departure: 29 August 1953

Nationality: Panamanian                                Date of Arrival: 23 October 1953

Port of Departure: Dar es Salaam                Port of Arrival: Vera Cruz, Mexico

Tanganyika

Name of Master: A. Gentileschi

 

Zion Island 5.

“UP Train Derailment and Fire Near Nampa,” Idaho Statesman, 26 December 1952, p. 1.

An east-bound Union Pacific freight train derailed five miles west of Nampa just before mid-night on Christmas Eve.  The engine, tender, and a dozen freight cars left the tracks.  Several of the freight cars then caught fire.  The Nampa fire department responded to the scene.  They soon brought the fire under control.  The engineer and brakeman were transported to Nampa for medical care.  Neither was seriously injured.  The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

Zion Island 4.

צייַטונג לאַכוואַ נייַ (New Lakhva News, my translation) October 1952.

Readers of this newspaper will admit that we have seen many an unusual sight since we left our home countries.  Among the most unusual sights of late has been the work of the New Lakhva model airplane club.  These are not simply reproductions of famous aircraft meant to decorate a little boy’s bedroom.  They are diminutive “real” airplanes, although the designers grumpily admit that they are not “real” engineers.  Club members have moved from simple gliders to planes powered by rubber bands to planes with tiny gas engines.  In the most recent demonstration, two of our local enthusiasts demonstrated how a small plane could be controlled from the ground.  It’s all done with a small radio set.  A tiny receiver on the plane then adjusts the controls on the airborne model.  Club members demonstrated their skills in a pasture outside of the village this past week-end.  They made their little plane, which they have named ברייט ליכט (“Bright Light”—my translation) take off, climb, dive, and circle the pasture.  Children and adults alike were amused by the tricks.  The only mishap occurred when the two “pilots” tried to land their plane.  Some unforeseen problem or error caused the model to nose into the ground.  Well, practice, practice, practice.  Mordechai A and Menachem B insist that the idea could have many practical applications.  We’ll keep watching.

Zion Island 3.

“Nightlife Calendar,” TheresienZeitung, 28 July 1951.  (My translation.)

Graf Guy de Marcheret d’Eu has arrived from Paris on his first concert tour outside Europe.  Graf Guy mixes classical standards with current pop favorites (“Ne pas s’asseoir sous le pommier”) and adds in his own compositions inspired by the verse of Alexander Pushkin.  The highly-regarded pianist will be appearing four nights a week at Rick’s Club Besame.

Zion Island 2.

TO: J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

FROM: FBI Criminal Branch.

 

DATE:  25 December 1952.

 

RE: Query from the Police Department of Cleveland, Ohio.

 

The Investigations Division of the Police Department of Cleveland, Ohio has contacted the Bureau regarding one of its current operations.  They have requested any information on “Alexander Berg.”

The Cleveland police have been surveilling a local organized crime figure, Alexander “Shondor” Birns.[1]

On 7 November 1952, the Cleveland police surveilled Birns when he made a telephone call from a phone booth in a neighborhood drugstore.  Subsequently, the telephone company provided information on that call.  It was made to another phone booth located in the lobby of “The Desert Inn,” a casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  While one Wilbur Clark is the original owner and public face of “The Desert Inn,” Las Vegas police believe that the real owner now is Morris “Moe” Dalitz.[2]

On 14 November 1952, the Cleveland police surveilled Birns at one of his restaurants, where he uses a back office for business.  Here he met two other men.  One was easily identified as “Moe” Dalitz.  Subsequently, police identified the other man as Alexander Berg, an accountant living in Cleveland.

The Bureau assesses that “Berg” is an alias used by Lev Lazarevich Feldbin, b. 1895 in Babryusk, Russian Empire.  Feldbin served as an intelligence officer of the Soviet Union from 1918 to 1938.  He had many foreign postings (including in the United States, where he has relatives).  His career peaked in the Spanish Civil War when he served as chief of NKVD operations in the Spanish Republic.  Most of his work involved organizing the murders of non-Communist leftists.  In addition, he managed the transportation of the Spanish Republic’s gold reserve to the Soviet Union “for safe-keeping.”  Feldbin also has experience in “guerrilla” warfare, both in the Russian Civil War and in Spain.

In 1938, as the “Great Purge” spread into the Soviet special services, he abandoned the Soviet Union and fled abroad.  Eventually, we believe, he went underground in this country.

Feldbin is an expert at the clandestine movement of things and people across national borders.  Also, he is an experienced and remorseless killer.

The purposes of the meeting between the three men is not known.

 

EVALUATION.

The obvious explanation for the meeting is that two American organized crime figures have–by some means–identified a renegade Russian intelligence officer living in their area of operations.  They may be recruiting him to their service.  If this is the case, then any rivals to Birns and Dalitz in the Cleveland area can be expected to meet an unhappy fate.

Feldbin’s expertise in the clandestine movement of people and goods might also be useful to Birns and Dalitz.  Thus, Feldbin’s expertise could facilitate the movement of drugs from Mexico to the United States.  The market for such drugs remains limited to marginal populations (Mexican laborers, jazz musicians, and third-tier Hollywood actors like Robert Mitchum).  It does provide a profit stream.

 

[1] Birns was born in 1907 as Alexander Birnstein in Lemes, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  His parent immigrated to the United States that same year and settled in Cleveland.  By 1925 Birns had become a professional criminal involved in bootlegging and vice, while also working as a much-feared “enforcer.”  Now, he also owns several celebrated restaurants.

[2] Dalitz was born 1899 in Boston, MA, to parents who had immigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but lived his early life in Michigan.  He became involved in bootlegging during Prohibition, and developed extensive contacts with suppliers in Canada and Mexico.  He also entered illegal gambling, running several important “protected” games in the Mid-West.  For the last half-dozen years he has been a powerful behind-the-scenes figure in Las Vegas, NV.  However, he retains an extensive range of contacts among organized crime figures throughout the country.