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Marion Bachrach

Marion Bachrach


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Marion Abet, the sister of John Abt, was born in 1898. She married Howard Bachrach, who worked at the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA). Marion Bachrach joined the Communist Party of the United States but her husband refused to become a member.

In 1935 became a member of the Harold Ware Discussion Group. Harold Ware also worked as a consultant to the AAA established a "discussion group" that included Alger Hiss, Nathaniel Weyl, Laurence Duggan, Harry Dexter White, Abraham George Silverman, Nathan Witt, Julian Wadleigh, Henry H. Collins, Lee Pressman and Victor Perlo. Weyl later recalled that every member of the Ware Group was also a member of the CPUSA: "No outsider or fellow traveller was ever admitted... I found the secrecy uncomfortable and disquieting." (1)

The Soviet agent, Whittaker Chambers, worked very closely with Ware. He was put him in touch by Joszef Peter, the "head of the underground section of the American Communist Party." It was claimed that Peter's design for the group of government agencies, to "influence policy at several levels" as their careers progressed". "The Washington apparatus to which I was attached led its own secret existence. But through me, and through others, it maintained direct and helpful connections with two underground apparatuses of the American Communist Party in Washington. One of these was the so-called Ware group, which takes its name from Harold Ware, the American Communist who was active in organizing it. In addition to the four members of this group (including himself) whom Lee Pressman has named under oath, there must have been some sixty or seventy others, though Pressman did not necessarily know them all; neither did I. All were dues-paying members of the Communist Party. Nearly all were employed in the United States Government, some in rather high positions, notably in the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, the National Labor Relations Board, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, the National Research Project - and others." (2)

Hope Hale Davis and her husband, Karl Hermann Brunck, were both members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). They were invited to the home of Charles Kramer, for their first meeting. Also in attendance were Marion Bachrach, Mildred Kramer and Victor Perlo. Kramer explained that the CPUSA was organized in units. "Charles... explained that... we would try to limit our knowledge of other members, in case of interrogation, possible torture. Such an idea, he admitted, might seem rather remote in the radical Washington climate, but climates could change fast. In most places members of units knew each other only by their Party pseudonyms, so as not to be able to give real names if questioned."

Kramer explained that as members they were expected to contribute money to the CPUSA: "Basically they would be ten per-cent of our salary, plus occasional extras. We had been warned of this... Charles was explaining that more was expected of us as a privileged group. Our salaries - even in the Depression - were far above the average comrade's. We were permitted - in fact, urged - to win career advancement, usually impossible for open activists. Extra assessments from us would help support comrades who could not make public appeals for funds. While rallies in Madison Square Garden could collect money for such causes as the Scottsboro Boys, there were unknown comrades in the South living on almost nothing - eating with the sharecroppers they were trying to organize - alone and always in danger of being beaten up or shot. We could think of our money going to help them."

Kramer also told the group that in future they should obtain their copies of the Daily Worker and the New Masses from him instead of newsstands. "We must keep away from any place where leftists might gather. We must avoid, as far as possible, associating with radicals, difficult as that would be in Washington." Even outspoken liberals such as Jerome Frank and Gardner Jackson "were out of bounds". Kramer added "we couldn't go near any public protests or rallies."

Hope Hale was encouraged to get articles on politics published in national magazine. Marion Bachrach told the group that she had recently had an a piece published in Atlantic Monthly. Bachrach was currently working on an article on education: "Marion reported that she was writing a profile of a typical American teacher, one lucky enough to be still employed. A quarter of a million teachers had no job, and a huge number worked without pay. In eighteen states they were paid in IOU vouchers called scrip, for which they could never get the stated value. Low as salaries already were, they were constantly being cut. Even so, Chicago owed back salaries amounting to $28 million. Marion's figures showed that at least 200,000 children couldn't go to school for lack of clothes. And there would be many more, she said, but for the teachers themselves. In New York City alone they had given over $3 million to buy hot lunches, shoes and so on, for the children who otherwise wouldn't be able to come to school. Marion planned to show the teacher in her everyday life, handing out her own lunch to hungry-eyed kids around her desk, slipping a sweater or a pair of socks to a cold child in the cloakroom. If teachers hadn't made these sacrifices the country's educational system would have fallen apart totally in the past five years." Bachrach said she hoped to get the article published in Scribner's Magazine. (3)

In 1937 Bachrach became the personal secretary to John T. Bernard, a Farmer-Labor Party congressman from Minnesota. After his election defeat in 1938 she returned to work as a journalist, including a period as the Washington correspondent for Picture Magazine, that was published in New York City. (4)

In August 1939, Isaac Don Levine arranged for Whittaker Chambers to meet Adolf Berle, one of the top aides to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After dinner Chambers told Berle about government officials spying for the Soviet Union: "Around midnight, we went into the house. What we said there is not in question because Berle took it in the form of penciled notes. Just inside the front door, he sat at a little desk or table with a telephone on it and while I talked he wrote, abbreviating swiftly as he went along. These notes did not cover the entire conversation on the lawn. They were what we recapitulated quickly at a late hour after a good many drinks. I assumed that they were an exploratory skeleton on which further conversations and investigation would be based." (5)

According to Isaac Don Levine the list of "espionage agents" included Marion Bachrach, Alger Hiss, Donald Hiss, Laurence Duggan, Lauchlin Currie, Nathan Witt, Harry Dexter White, John Abt, Lee Pressman, Julian Wadleigh, Noel Field and Frank Coe. Chambers also named Joszef Peter, as being "responsible for the Washington sector" and "after 1929 the "head of the underground section" of the Communist Party of the United States.

Chambers later claimed that Berle reacted to the news with the comment: "We may be in this war within forty-eight hours and we cannot go into it without clean services." John V. Fleming, has argued in The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War (2009) Chambers had "confessed to Berle the existence of a Communist cell - he did not yet identify it as an espionage team - in Washington." (6) Berle, who was in effect the president's Director of Homeland Security, raised the issue with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "who profanely dismissed it as nonsense."

The Alien Registration Act (also known as the Smith Act) was passed by Congress on 29th June, 1940, made it illegal for anyone in the United States to advocate, abet, or teach the desirability of overthrowing the government. Eugene Dennis, William Z. Foster, Benjamin Davis, John Gates, Robert G. Thompson, Gus Hall, Benjamin Davis, Henry M. Winston, and Gil Green were all convicted under this act. After a nine month trial they were found guilty of violating the act and sentenced to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Thompson, because of his war record, received only three years. They appealed to the Supreme Court but on 4th June, 1951, the judges ruled, 6-2, that the conviction was legal.

This decision was followed by the arrests of 46 more communists during the summer of 1951. This included Marion Bachrach and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who was also convicted for contempt of court after telling the judge that she would not identify people as Communists as she was unwilling "do degrade or debase myself by becoming an informer". She was also found guilty of violating the Alien Registration Act and sentenced to two years in prison.

Miriam Moskowitz, also a member of the Communist Party of the United States, was at the Women's House of Detention when the two women were brought in. "They were lodged on my floor but in a different corridor so I did not see them until the afternoon recreation hour. I found them sitting on the roof and I introduced myself. Marian gasped. 'You're still here!' She took my hand and greeted me warmly. Gurley Flynn sat frozen, barely returning my greeting, and I was vaguely uncomfortable that she was signaling me that it was not a good idea for us to be seen hobnobbing together (spy and Communist fraternizing?). I disregarded her signals; for me it would have been a waste of a golden moment for companionship, no matter how ephemeral."

In her autobiography, Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice (2010), she recalled: "Marian and I talked animatedly; I described the absurd customs and conventions characteristic of life in jail which she would need to be sensitive to, and I also told her I was awaiting a decision on my appeal. It was so good to talk naturally and freely with someone who shared my universe!... When we returned to the floor Marian wished me well and embraced me. Gurley Flynn barely nodded good-bye." (7)

The authors of The Secret World of American Communism (1995) found a document in the Soviet archives written by Georgi Dimitrov and dated 20th November 1942 and marked "Top Secret" that stated: "Marion Bachrach - American, approximately forty years of age, born into a Washington family, an American citizen, member of the CPUSA. Has a disabled husband (Howard Bachrach) and a grown son... According to the comments of her American comrades, Marion Bachrach is a good and politically competent journalist." (8)

Marion Bachrach died in 1957.

Marion Bachrach - American, approximately forty years of age, born into a Washington family, an American citizen, member of the CPUSA. Has a disabled husband (Howard Bachrach) and a grown son.

Until 1938, Marion Bachrach worked as personal secretary to Barnard, a progressive US congressman. In 1938, due to Barnard's losing his re-election bid, she was dismissed from this position and began working as the Washington correspondent for the newspaper, PM....

According to the comments of her American comrades, Marion Bachrach is a good and politically competent journalist.

We set out for our first Party meeting on a mild winter evening. To passersby we must have appeared as we were meant to - just one more strolling pair of lovers. "Act as if you're visiting us socially," Charles had murmured, bending over my desk with his finger on a line of milk-price figures.

As we walked I must have said it felt strange to go to a meeting on the very Euclid Street where at age eighteen I had lived with my mother in a "light housekeeping" room. Refusing to go to Iowa university as a poor "town girl" I wanted to be "independent." But Mother had come with me to Washington.

The Kramer apartment was not in one of those row houses, where everyone sees who comes and goes. In a modern building, with an unusual entrance at the back, it seemed almost too obviously suited for conspiratorial purposes.

There was no lobby, just a bare, open stairway, where we found Charles leaning over the fourth-floor railing. As we reached the top he greeted us with a warm smile I had never seen before.

In the office I had first met him as a morose man named Krevisky. The change to Kramer had not caused much comment, perhaps because he never took part in the camaraderie of the staff. Among all these vocal New Dealers his silence had made me curious. When I came to know him better I would realize that he had to keep his lips shut tight to hold in his rage and scorn.

Inside the apartment his wife Mildred was waiting, a shy southern girl with ash-blond hair and the pallor of the Appalachian children whose pictures we had been publishing in our articles about how Subsistence Homesteads would better their lot. Beyond her, in the light of a bridge lamp, a boy knelt trying to untie a bundle wrapped in brown paper. He looked up distractedly, biting his lip and brushing back his hair, when Charles spoke his name, Victor Perlo. A mathematical prodigy, he had been at City College in New York with Charles. Now at age twenty-one he was a full-fledged statistician. The other member of the unit, Marion Bachrach, looked small and hunched in a deep canvas sling chair. But her face was fine-featured, with intelligent brown eyes and smiling, receptive lips.

Charles began talking in an assured voice I hardly recognized as his. He explained that though there might be changes - a comrade had already been drawn away to head another unit - we would try to limit our knowledge of other members, in case of interrogation, possible torture. In most places members of units knew each other only by their Party pseudonyms, so as not to be able to give real names if questioned. But here in Washington, where the New Dealers were always meeting one another socially, we'd run the opposite risk, of using the Party name at the wrong time. But though they would be used only on official records, we should each choose one now.

I listed myself as Mary MacFarland, after my strong-willed, talented musician aunt who had died in Mother's arms at the age of twenty. To me she was a romantic figure; for exactly the opposite reasons Hermann chose the unremarkable name, Walter Becker.

Continuing about precautions, Charles warned us that Marion's husband, who as a nonmember must be kept in ignorance, caused practical problems. Marion had made every effort to bring him close enough to recruit, but though sympathetic he had the typical liberal's fear of committing himself. Charles turned to Marion. "is that a fair statement?"

"Let's just put it," Marion said, "that he's a wise old bird."

Charles smiled, but in a strained way. Even I, new to the Party, felt a slight shock. It would take a while to learn that under Marion's mischief was a dedication deeper than that of many comrades who religiously parroted the official line.

She would rise to the next-to-highest national rank in the Party, be indicted under the Smith Act, and escape trial only by death. Charles went on to say that Marion was a writer who had published in Atlantic Monthly. We would hear later about her project.

But first came collection of dues. Basically they would be ten per-cent of our salary, plus occasional extras. We had been warned of this. It had given Hermann some concern, since he sent a regular stipend to his friend Ernst, who was on the last lap of his doctorate in chemistry. But we could manage, I was sure. Mary and I had proposed a consumer column to McCall's magazine which they seemed about to take. And in free-lancing I had ranged from Snappy Stories to the New Yorker.

Charles was explaining that more was expected of us as a privileged group. We could think of our money going to help them.

I hardly needed his persuasion any more, I suppose, than my mother had needed the minister's persuasion to find somehow an extra quarter or half dollar for a foreign missionary. And Party dues of ten percent-thirty dollars out of my three hundred a month seemed quite normal to one whose mother tithed. She had given to the Lord's work ten percent of an income that was sometimes as low as fifteen dollars a month, even including what my oldest brother earned by chopping wood for neighbors.

Hermann was taking out his penknife; he cut the cord that Victor Perlo had been struggling to untie. (When he told me later that he had seen the address - John Smith on Third Street northeast I had visions of a murky cellarway over beyond the Capitol. A dark figure was emerging with this bundle, hurrying across the sidewalk, glancing over his shoulder, tossing his burden into a shabby black coupe and speeding away. One day I would take my turn at being that dark figure.)

On the floor were stacks of the Daily Worker, the thick red Communist, the red and white Communist International, the violent black and white New Masses, and the mimeographed agitprop bulletin.

Hermann declined New Masses, saying he had bought it at the newsstand on Pennsylvania Avenue. Charles told him sharply never to go there again. We must keep away from any place where leftists might gather. We must avoid, as far as possible, associating with radicals, difficult as that would be in Washington. Even liberals, outspoken ones such as Gardner Jackson, Charles said, looking my way, were out of bounds. This saddened me. Pat had been so kind a friend.

Obviously, Charles added, we couldn't go near any public protests or rallies.

This disappointed me, remembering Trafalgar Square, feeling part of a huge crowd unified in the same uplifting urgency. But these directives carried their own charge, setting our group apart, preparing us to face our own hard challenges.

The literature we had to buy cost almost ten dollars. This, plus the dues, almost exactly equalled the wages I paid Mamie, the cheerful woman who now brought Claudia home for lunch and put her to bed. Hermann had insisted on hiring her after going once with me to pick up Claudia after work. Sitting on the nurse's lap she had seemed quite contented, but at her first sight of me large round tears had spurted from her eyes, splashing on the floor. Mamie must stay, whatever else we gave up to the Party.

When Victor Perlo had bundled up the leftover literature, he gave a report on the national news, starting with Roosevelt's appointment of Joseph P. Kennedy as chairman of the new Stock Exchange Commission. He called it a capitulation to the most vicious political elements. A Wall Street operator himself, Kennedy had made his millions in bootlegging. Such facts were probably a fraction of the truth, Vic said; but enough to rid us of the illusion that FDR was "any better than a glorified ward heeler."

These words were painful to hear. I knew Roosevelt was a politician, but nothing I learned about his compromises could keep his voice from stirring me physically. Sometimes I spent a night in erotic, idolatrous contact with him, waking to a sense of privilege which might stay with me for days. When I told Hermann about my dream he did not laugh. He envied me in a way; he himself could not remember ever having dreamed. Because I was a posthumous child, he said, I was even more vulnerable than most, but the whole population right now felt a childlike need of a father figure. I resisted this. I had no wish to share that private intimacy with 120 million people.

Marion reported that she was writing a profile of a typical American teacher, one lucky enough to be still employed. Even so, Chicago owed back salaries amounting to $28 million.

Marion's figures showed that at least 200,000 children couldn't go to school for lack of clothes. In New York City alone they had given over $3 million to buy hot lunches, shoes and so on, for the children who otherwise wouldn't be able to come to school.

Marion planned to show the teacher in her everyday life, handing out her own lunch to hungry-eyed kids around her desk, slipping a sweater or a pair of socks to a cold child in the cloakroom.

If teachers hadn't made these sacrifices the country's educational system would have fallen apart totally in the past five years.

Charles asked dubiously where she planned to publish this. In the Atlantic, Marion hoped, or Scribner's. Vic waved his hand urgently. When he got the floor he asked why she should glorify a group of fuzzy-minded liberals who were only postponing the moment when the workers would seize the means of education. He moved that the comrade point this out, showing how piecemeal charity was reactionary reformism; that these inequities could not be corrected under capitalism.

"But if she put that in," I asked before I could stop myself, "where could she publish her piece?"

"Exactly." Marion's grateful glance may have begun the collaboration that would bind us so close. She said that what Vic had outlined would fit into the Sunday Worker but would come as no surprise to its readers. Whereas she could reach a wider audience, one less political. And mightn't such readers one day become important to us? Having them friendly - or at least not hostile could make a crucial difference when the chips were down.

Charles thought she had a point there. The Party needed to "neutralize" potential class enemies. But Vic insisted that any valuable material we had must be used to strengthen the voice of the Party.

Hermann said in his reflective way that he was struck by how often the Times quoted quite radical statements by New Dealers. Didn't that suggest that the middle class at the moment was more ready to listen than we might assume? He proposed that our comrade use her material doubly. She could first follow her strong impulse, then afterward put her facts into form for Party publication.

"That's the second Gordian knot he's cut tonight," Marion cried.

The group agreed on a plan to have editorials ready to go into Party publications when Marion's article was published, calling attention to it and making any points that seemed strategically desirable.

It was the sort of consensus that Hermann often brought about during the next few months. Soon he would be put in charge of a new unit of high-powered, neurotic economists...

On the way home Hermann was silent at first. I wondered what Charles had asked him to do. But from now on we would have to have secrets from each other.

I couldn't hold back my relief at the prediction of Hitler's downfall. And I remember the doubtful way Hermann said he hoped they were right. But ever since 1924 he had heard the line, "Hitler can't last."

I suggested the Party might know things that we didn't know. There was Claud's dispatch in The Week about the illegal publications that kept appearing, in spite of Hitler. Sometimes a folded mimeograph would have "Horoscope" outside, and inside would be items of world news that had been suppressed in the newspapers.

Hermann agreed that this sort of mass operation was encouraging, and the great reason for working in the Party. But it may have been then that he spoke worriedly about the engineer's letter. What would happen if it landed in the hands of someone with poor judgment? Suppose this comrade met the engineer and thought from something he said that he was ready to be recruited. Whereas in fact the engineer was a Trotskyist, say, rabid against the Party. Wouldn't he betray the Consumers' Counsel rather than miss a chance to damage the Party? Our office was already suspect because of vocal liberals like Howe and Jackson. If it got out that a letter to the Consumers' Counsel had been given to the CP, the fat would be in the fire. A lot of powerful people were looking for just such an excuse to get rid of the whole group and put in their own puppets.

That was frightening. But surely, I said, the Party would understand the danger and be careful. Hermann hoped they would, but they were human, with built-in fallibility. I refused to let my spirits be damped. "We've joined," I said, "so we've got to trust them." And he agreed.

After a silent step or two, I suddenly stopped short on the sidewalk. The letter had not even been addressed to us. It had been passed on by the Consumer Board of NRA. Hermann laughed, saying that NRA might as well be hung for a lamb as a sheep. He had been talking out of fatigue, he said. The meeting, like all meetings, had been tiring.
Tiring? In my mood the word was unthinkable.

Arthur Koestler's memoir, Arrow in the Blue, describes his first meeting with a group of comrades as "one of those rare moments when intellectual conviction is in complete harmony with feeling, when your reason approves of your euphoria, and your emotion is as lover to your thought." It was true for me that night, though I couldn't have analyzed it if I had tried - though I wish I had. I just told Hermann that I'd never been so stimulated in my life. That delighted him. We hurried home newly elated toward another night together.

(1) Nathaniel Weyl, interview with US News & World Report (9th January, 1953)

(2) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 31

(3) Hope Hale Davis, Great Day Coming: A Memoir of the 1930s (1994) pages 68-76

(4) Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov, The Secret World of American Communism (1995) page 318

(5) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) page 76-77

(6) John V. Fleming, The Anti-Communist Manifestos: Four Books that Shaped the Cold War (2009) page 320

(7) Miriam Moskowitz, Phantom Spies, Phantom Justice (2010) page 147

(8) Georgi Dimitrov, letter to Pavel Fitin (20th November 1942)

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Marion Bachrach

Marion Bachrach was the sister of John Abt and also a member of the Ware group, a group of government employees in the New Deal administration of President Franklin Roosevelt who were also members of the secret apparatus of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) in the 1930s. Bachrach was the personal secretary and congressional office manager to Representative John Bernard of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party in 1937–1938. Bachrach also was a correspondent for the newspaper PM.

Membership and meeting of the Ware group were highly secretive, and many members eventually infiltrated into higher levels of the United States government during World War II. After Alger Hiss was cut out from closer contact with the Ware group, Hiss remained a close associate of Marion Bachrach.

On November 20, 1942 Soviet foreign intelligence (Dimitrov to Fitin, RTsKhIDNI 495-74-484) requested a background report on Bachrach from the Comintern and received a positive report.

Marion Bachrach wrote several tracts sold to Communist consumers. Some original publications appear to be quite profitable among collectors and sellers. Among them are Amnesty! Proposal of an amnesty program to release the members of the Communist Party imprisoned under the provisions of the Smith Act, This Obvious Violence, You Are on Trial and The Federal Grand Jury is Stacked Against You.


Talk:List of Americans in the Venona papers

I don't care if you don't like my taking the POV out of the article. It is clear bias. Continue, and I will submit the issue to whatever arbiters of appropriateness there are on this site. People are always whining about POV yet you and your ilk seem perfectly happy to impose it on others. If you can't tell the difference between "some" and "a few" or "most" then you need to go back to school. By the way, with the quality of the Venona evidence in all but the most glaring cases, no real scholar would accept the kinds of statements in the articles surrounding them on this site. Making a statement like: "most academics and historians believe that most of the following individuals were either clandestine assets and/or contacts of the KGB, GRU and Soviet Naval GRU." is really obnoxious and anything but scholarly and COMPLETELY FALSE. Many of these people and their memories are being slandered, libeled and defiled by the authors you so worship. Be happy your personal bias still resonates throughout these articles and go back to watching the strident banshees of "right" thinking people on FoxNews and leave these most blatant examples of POV out of the article.

<dryly> While your attempts to secure citations are admirable, you obviously show your own biases as well. (And regards FoxNews: It isn't hanging onto a Pulitzer won by one of its reporters who wrote lies for Stalin concerning barbarisms so monstrous that the Ukraine is asking for that award to be returned seventy years after the fact. Furthermore, I would submit that McCarthy has been vilified and slandered for a greater period of time with greater viciousness than anyone he ever accused (while they, in turn, are uniformly lionized as heroes even though, virtually to the last, they really were rank commies).--76.17.171.199 (talk) 08:54, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Venona 912 KGB New York to Moscow, 27 June 1944
  • Venona 1403 KGB New York to Moscow, 5 October 1944
  • Venona 1429 KGB New York to Moscow, 9 October 1944
  • Venona 164 Moscow to New York, 20 February 1945
  • Venona 259 Moscow to New York 21 March 1945.

I think the British-born Cedric Belfrage actually was never cited in the US/UK VENONA papers. His name is only connected to UNC/9 by academics. Removal from the list?

  • 592 KGB New York to Moscow, 29 April 1943
  • 725 KGB New York to Moscow, 19 May 1943
  • 810 KGB New York to Moscow, 29 May 1943
  • 952 KGB New York to Moscow, 21 June 1943
  • 974 KGB New York to Moscow, 22 June 1943
  • 1430 KGB New York to Moscow, 2 September 1943
  • 1452 KGB New York to Moscow, 8 September 1943

Are people doing oringal research now on this page? Are some of the people listed still alive? If so <> Seems a page for deletion. If people want to read the book, they can buy the book. It's not a reliable source (accuracy). The book was widely panned.

Administrator note Speedy delete tag removed. Reaper Eternal (talk) 18:39, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

The Venona intercepts contained overwhelming proof of the activities of Soviet spy networks in America, complete with names, dates, places, and deeds. Over 200 named or covernamed persons found in the VENONA translations, persons then present in the U.S., are claimed by the KGB and the GRU in their messages as their clandestine assets or contacts.

This list is a John Seigenthaler type slander on hundreds of people. These people are being accused of being spies, yet no proof is offered. Some of them probably are spies, some I don't know, and some listed here I seriously doubt were spies. Five that I know about and specifically have a problem with are Alger Hiss, Harry Magdoff, Julius Rosenberg, IF Stone, and Harry Dexter White. Harry Magdoff is still alive, runs a popular magazine and I doubt he likes the slander of him being a spy here on Wikipedia. The person shoving all this nonsense all over Wikipedia, Nobs, was banned for a year.

Admittedly, I only know five of the names well. However, since these fives are listed, it calls into question the entire list, thus I am deleting all of them. I think it is a better idea to list the Code Names in Venona. Nobs is just speculating who might be attached to what code name here, to an extent that is slanderous. He has been banned for this type of slander on public persons a few days ago. Ruy Lopez 23:49, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

The list is hardly slander. No determination is made anywhere on this page that these people were spies. Relevant material on that issue is delat with on the respective articles. DTC 15:27, 5 January 2006 (UTC) If the determination has been made by a government agency, then it is not our slander in any event, since this is just a parroting of what the NSA-CIA have determined one way or another. There should no cases where an individual Wikipedian makes such a determination (it would violate WP:NOR) but I doubt that has been done here. --Fastfission 23:38, 5 January 2006 (UTC) You say this was determined by a government agency, that the NSA-CIA has determined all of these people, yet you give absolutely no proof of this. A handful of names mentioned here were "determined" by the government, most were not. The person who created this list has been banned for a year. Ruy Lopez 15:46, 8 January 2006 (UTC) For personal attacks, not for this list. Fred Bauder 23:25, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Thank you, banned for conduct not for content. DTC 00:26, 19 January 2006 (UTC) This list ostensibly represents all names compiled by the authors Klehr and Haynes. It does not represent published claims by either the NSA or CIA. There needs to be a better discussion about the controversy.--Cberlet 16:28, 8 January 2006 (UTC) This list is libel, simply by being published. Is this what Wikipedia has become? An outpost for the extreme Right to spread disinformation and half-truth and guilt-by-insinuation and -association? Pazouzou (talk) 23:05, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

What do the asterisks designate? --Fastfission 23:38, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

This list originated as a defamatory collection of names implying they were all Soviet spies. Changing the name helped a bit, but is not enough. We can discuss the required disclaimer text, and send people to the discussion at Significance of Venona, but smug deletions of the entire disclaimer will not do.--Cberlet 23:36, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

  • There is something not so funny going on to a lot of the articles related to this one. That aside from being rudely labelled a McCarthite, a redbaiter or that I am out to smear anyone. I noticed numerous sockpuppet accounts set up to delete information from some of those on this list. Notice User:Zerber252and contributions, User:Rebren20and contributions, User:PangRoh894and contributions, User:KnitCapand contributions, User:PoorElijah23and contributions, User:Solid_Stateand contributions

In every single instance, the accounts were set up on 1/8/06 and they all made alterations to people listed on this list. Maybe it's time for Checkuser to be requested and I have my suspicions.--MONGO 03:03, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Maybe it's a conspiracy! Look, I have nothing to do with those edits. I am willing to discuss this page here. --Cberlet 18:03, 10 January 2006 (UTC) What's to discuss, is there a problem with this page as it is, aside from it being a McCartyite, red baiting one? "Maybe it's a conspiracy!". indeed, I find no humor in that, and it would seem to indicate to me that as had happened in this article, information was lost to cover up the truth, or to bias it from being NPOV.--MONGO 21:01, 10 January 2006 (UTC) Venona decrypts only go up to 1945 [1]whereby McCarthy and/or McCarthyism did not occur till 1950.[2]. The edit summary of: "outrageous McCarthyite POV Red-baiting" equals a personal attack: "Accusatory comments. can be considered personal attacks if said repeatedly, in bad faith, or with sufficient venom. [3] and that is why I revert the your version.--MONGO 08:51, 11 January 2006 (UTC) This page emerged from an attempt by Nobs01 to add the name of everyone mentioned in the Klehr and Haynes book on Venona, and then state that they were "Soviet spies" through a category. I have changed the section heading. If folks want to edit the disclaimer, fine, but to revert it is not acceptable.--Cberlet 14:14, 11 January 2006 (UTC) Short on time. but this appears to be more than a disclaimer at the end: "This list, therefore, should not be construed as a list of Americans shown to have been wittingly involved in Soviet espionage." By wittingly, are we saying that their participation was innocently achieved? In other words, were they "spys" and not aware of it, unwittingly passing on information when they didn't realize they were doing it to the wrong ears?--MONGO 14:21, 11 January 2006 (UTC) Many on this list have been shown to have been "witting" collaborators with Soviet espionage, but not all. Some publicly said they were not, and were never indicted. "Witting" is a tradcraft term meaning a person clearly knows they are passing information to an espionage agent. Often agents will cultivate a relationship with someone who is not actually aware they are being used as an information source for espionage. This is very common. Haynes and Klehr, Romerstein, and others generally take the worst possible interpretation of the evidence and make assertions that are questionable in some cases. A disclaimer is needed, especially given the Pollyana text at the beginning.--Cberlet 14:41, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

OKay, but we have here a list of Americans that had known socialistic sympathy, correct. They therefore wittingly were conscious of their political leanings and or affiliations and of those in their group. In a free society such as the U.S., their rationale for this sympathy was not based on the need for more bread and other esentials of survival such as those folks in Soviet Russia, so they were a part of this ideology based on their witting belief that socialism was a grand experiment. I have serious doubts that any more than a few of those on the list, being of this mindthink, could have been foolish enough to not know when they were conversing with other socialsists and or communists.--MONGO 19:57, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

No cites, no proof, POV, OR and breathtaking assumptions. I am happy to cooperate with people to help edit a more accurate and resonsible pro and con section.--Cberlet 23:37, 12 January 2006 (UTC) Okay, what we can't do is state that some but not all those on the list knowingly passed on information and then in the counterargument state that the list should be taken with a grain of salt. I can see the list as polarizing so we need to figure out the best way to ensure the list is accurate and then allow your counterargument to stand, provided it doesn't summarily dismiss even those you hopefully agree as to being wittingly involved in espionage. I must say though that since affiliation with these political leanings in the early part of last century had somewhat different connotations than they did post WWII, it would surprise me to believe that they didn't know about each others activities to a degree, as it was mostly the intelligista as far as the U.S. is concerned. It was a definitely small inner circle.--MONGO 01:44, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

If TDC continues to revert war without substantative discussion or actual edits, then I suggest we request mediation as a group.--Cberlet 19:00, 12 January 2006 (UTC)

As per my edit summaries, you are putting in the same material on every Venona related article you contribute to. The information is mostly irrelevant, and in many cases flat out wrong. Perhaps a rewording of the introduction might bein order, but the constant inclsion of critical material in a list serves no purpose other than to poison the well. The article states no opinion as to the disposition of the individuals on the list, only a brief summary of who they were. DTC 00:23, 13 January 2006 (UTC) This page originated as a blacklist that falsely implied that the people on the list were Soviet espionage agents. I have only edited a tiny handful of pages with disclaimer material. I have been busy. There are many other pages I have not edited. I will get right on that important task. Thanks for reminding me.--Cberlet 03:00, 13 January 2006 (UTC) I have all the time in the world to ensure you dont destroy all the hard work that Nobs has put into VENONA related articles. But I suppose it must really irk you that "Chip Berlet", respected author, writer and self described "right wing watchdog" is being outwitted and out argued by a 28 year old engineer, who takes break during modeling, to contribute to an encyclopedia. Busy indeed. DTC 03:30, 13 January 2006 (UTC) It is really bad form to refer to me other than as Wiki editor "Cberlet." It is not about outwitting, it is about writing a fair, balanced, and accurate encyclopedia. Much of the "hard work" by Nobs01 involved false claims that hundreds of people had been identified by the U.S. Government as "Soviet spys." This was not true--and is not true. The work by Nobs01 on this topic was shoddy and hysterical, and he defended his faulty POV text with a zeal that raised serious questions as to whether or not he had the emotional or psychological attributes consistent with being a cooperative Wiki editor. Apparently he did not, as he is now banned for a year for outlandish personal attacks on me and my work. As for the text, I apologize for my previous "rewrite" that turned out to be hardly a rewrite. My editing window sometimes freezes and I sometimes browse back to save something and end up mssing up the save. I meant to save the rewrite I just posted. It was a mistake. Assume good faith. Let's focus on NPOV and editing - not a contest of wills--Cberlet 17:06, 15 January 2006 (UTC) I said it once, I will say it again, I will not allow you to turn every one of these article into a crusade against McCarthy. In many of the cases, the individuals you are citing hold an extreme minority view when thier thougts are actualy relevant to the material. DTC 17:27, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

    , Talk: List of Americans in the Venona papers, Talk:Harry Magdoff and espionage. Revert war. How best to report claims of espionage and skeptical counterclaims -- all by various published scholars, journalists, and analysts.17:20, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Were hundreds of individuals identified via VENONA found to have been Soviet Agents? Lets see what the sources say.

American authorities learned that since 1942 the United States had been the target of a Soviet espionage onslaught involving dozens of professional Soviet intelligence officers and hundreds of Americans I know you don’t like Haynes to much, but he is certainly notable Soviet intelligence services devoted a tremendous amount of resources into spying on the United States and Britain. In the United States alone, hundreds of Americans provided secret information to the Soviet Union Department of Energy Not a few “but hundreds of American Communists . . . abetted Soviet espionage in the United States” in the 1930s and 1940s The US Navy U.S. Army intelligence, G-2, became alarmed at the information that was coming out of Arlington Hall. An Arlington Hall report on 22 July 1947 showed that the Soviet message traffic contained dozens, probably hundreds, of covernames, many of KGB agents, including ANTENNA and LIBERAL (later identified as Julius Rosenberg). One message mentioned that LIBERAL's wife was named "Ethel." The NSA The New Republic was nevertheless right about one thing: Most of the historians and journalists cited above--including, by the way, Weisberg and Marshall--share in the "consensus" that Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs, defendants in the two most famous cold war cases, and scores if not hundreds of others, were Russian spies From Navasky, of all people

Clearly this is the vast consensus view of the subject, so can we end this semantics game? DTC 18:08, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

There is no serious dispute that many of the persons linked to cryptonyms in the Venona documents "abetted Soviet espionage in the United States." But not every American named in the Venona papers "abetted Soviet espionage in the United States" nor is their evidence that every person listed as having been an information source was a "witting" information source, much less a "Soviet spy" as Nobs01 claimed. And not every cryptonym found in the Venona documents can be said with 100% accuracy to have been properly linked to an actual person's name. A lot of this was guesswork, and should be reporterd as such. Even a Justice Department memo worried about this problem of identity. This is not semantics. It is about the legacy of the Cold War, anticommunist Witch Hunts, Red-baiting, and McCarthyism. Haynes and Klehr and Romerstein are part of a project to make it appear that violations of civil liberties during the Cold War and McCarthyism were justified by communist subversion and Soviet espionage. Other scholars disagree with this claim. Which is why a disclaimer is needed. I prefer to edit. You appear satisfied with wholesale deletions and reverts. Who is helping write an accurate and NPOV encyclopedia?--Cberlet 18:22, 17 January 2006 (UTC) No serious dispute, I guess that would explain your “Blacklist” comment. I think if you go to the temp page, you might find it agreeable. I don’t know what Justice Department memo you speak of, but I would be interested in seeing it, just to compare our interpretations. Its completely cynical to accuse Haynes and Klehr of it, because the only time either of them mention McCarthyism is any of their works is to “criticize” its excesses. This is what I am sick to death of. You want to turn this into a debate about McCarthyism, when this is clearly not what the information is about. The foremost scholars on the subject, Haynes and Klehr, just want to do “good history”, closing once and for all the idea that Soviet espionage was not a factor during the early cold war, as the left has been arguing since 1945. I know that’s hard for their critics to believe, the idea that someone would argue a case based on factual and not ideological grounds, but it is true, and that is why on the factual matters at hand, even Navasky has had to admit that Haynes and Klehr have made their case to almost everyone who matters and one over most of their critics with their factual conclusion. Some may use the work of Haynes and Klehr to enable their own belief that McCarthyism was justified, but Haynes and Klehr most certainly do not, as all of their writing on the subject indicates. Information is truth, what some may do with it is irrelevant. I will not allow you to turn this article into your own personal diatribe against McCarthyism, when that subject has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. DTC 18:46, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

A request for mediation has been filed concerning this and related pages.[4]--Cberlet 15:51, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Unless this list is cited to a specific source or set of sources, it is original research and the entire page should be deleted. I am under the impression that this is the list from the Haynes/Klehr book appendix. If so, it is plagiarised and needs to be cited properly. If not, it needs to be cited to a published source or sources. Otherwise deletion is the proper path. In addition, there are a series of sweeping claims that are not properly cited. I have asked for cites.--Cberlet 16:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

My my, you want this up for a VFD? Imagine my surprise. Is this what you are left with after exhausting every tool to ruin this article? DTC 16:58, 18 January 2006 (UTC) So if I go to the library and check "Secrecy : The American Experience". Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Yale University Press December 1, 1999 and "The Venona story". Robert L Benson, National Security Agency Center for Cryptologic History January 1, 2001 and I cannot find this list, it should be deleted, correct? Just trying to be clear.--Cberlet 17:51, 18 January 2006 (UTC) The names are a compilation from all of the above sources. DTC 17:51, 18 January 2006 (UTC) By whom? Where can I find a reputable published source for this list? Or was it created as Original Research by Nobs01? I already told you, go through the sources, and see them for yourself. DTC 17:57, 18 January 2006 (UTC) So you cannot find a reputable published source for this entire list, and agree that it was compiled on Wikipedia by Nobs01?--Cberlet 18:00, 18 January 2006 (UTC) So, by that logic, any list on Wikipedia, which was compiled from multiple sources (which would be every list on Wikipedia) is also original research? Curious, I have not heard this issue raised previously? Curious indeed! DTC 18:04, 18 January 2006 (UTC),

<----Here is what the original page said about the list:

  • 349 U.S. citizens, noncitizen immigrants, and permanent residents of the United States who had covert relationships with Soviet intelligence were confirmed in the Venona traffic. Of these 171 are identified by true names and 178 are known only by a cover name. (2) The persons identified represent only a partial list and many are listed below. Twenty-four persons targeted for recruitment remain uncorroborated as to it being accomplished. These individuals are marked with an asterisk (*). (3) The NSA followed Soviet intelligence traffic for only a few years in World War II and decrypted only a small portion of that traffic. The evidence regarding another 139 persons from sources other than Venona decryptions has been documented and many can be found within the list of Category:Soviet spies.

So now the asterisks have been removed, meaning that some persons are improperly identified, and the fact that the list comes from Haynes and Klehr's book has been deleted. Good research! (OK not 139)--Cberlet 18:11, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

The list came from the Haynes and Klehr book. That's what this page originally stated. Don't promote plagiarism, please.--Cberlet 18:34, 18 January 2006 (UTC) As you are well aware from these many edits, article changes and the many exchanges of information among people of good will, this is not the same article we were dealing with several weeks ago. DTC 18:43, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Haynes and Klehr's work is a compilation of many sources, as is this one. In fact, had you bothered to compare this list, as well as the Appendixes you cited, you would realize, that although similar, they do not share all the same names. DTC 18:36, 18 January 2006 (UTC) It still is overwhelmigly taken from the appendix of Haynes and Klehr's book. Please note that more than 90% of the edits to this page were by Nobs01. The additions to the Haynes and Klehr list are minor. There has not been a lot of constructive editing. The removal of the asterisks and the explanation was particularly damaging and casued the page to be defmatory. Plagiarism and defamation--not the best framework for a Wiki article.--Cberlet 18:49, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Hey, I don’t know where Nobs got his information from, its not like I talk to him every day about this. Since I have found this same material in multiple source, perhaps there is more than one source for this material other than Haynes and Klehr's book, as you continue to insinuate. DTC 18:53, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

<--- Actually, on this point, Nob01 was right at the beginning of this page history. The list started from the appendix to the Haynes & Klehr book. As a matter of principle, we need to state that. Otherwise it actually is plagiarism. If we can figure out where the additional names come from, we can add a more spefici credit. At some point I will take my copy of H & K and cross check the list. In addition, in different texts, the language used to describe the folks on this list varies greatly. Even H & K use weasel words: "covert relationships with Soviet intelligence." What does that mean? Not the same thing as "Soviet spies," so maybe the txt on this page overstates the case without including that phrase attributed to H & K?

Wait a second, how do we know this is a "List of Americans in the Venona papers?" I'm back to the first question. Who compiled this list? Nobs01? From what sources other than H & K. Is the title wrong. As I have stated before, the names on the list have multiple sources, maek sure you check all of them before throwing the the plagiarism charge around. DTC 19:31, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Let's stick with one simple question. What do the names on this list actually represent other than a blacklist created by Nob01 so he could create Wiki files on everyone, and then plonk in the material about them being Soviet information sources?--Cberlet 19:47, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Well, how can I stick with “one simple question”. Just today you have accused contributors of this article of engaging in plagiarism, original research, and making unaccredited sweeping claims. But to answer your “one simple question”, the names on this list represent individuals whose identities have been linked to their VENONA cover names by multiple sources, which include: Allen Weinstein, Alexander Vassiliev, Patrick Moynihan, Robert Benson of the NSA, Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin, Michael Warner of the NSA, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. As to their role in espionage or their relationship with the KGB or GRU, that is covered in their respective articles. DTC 20:10, 18 January 2006 (UTC) I can only assume where Nobs compiled all of these names from, and since he is not here to explain and almost all of these names appear in multiple sources, lets not jump to any hasty conclusions. DTC 20:12, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

1) It's plagiarism if we don't cite all the sources properly. If Nobs01 used ten sources to create the list, we should list all ten. --Cberlet 20:29, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Are not all the sources cited properly now? Do you doubt that the current level of documentation is insufficient to cover the names listed? DTC 20:43, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

2)How do we know that every name represents identities that "have been linked to their VENONA cover names by multiple sources" rather than a list of suspected and documented persons linked to Soviet espionage through Venona documents and other intelligence documents and sources? --Cberlet 20:29, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, I could look into the matter, and look into “every” name on this list and see, specifically who was identified by whom, but I think that goes above and beyond what is called for. But, it could be done. DTC 20:43, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Or, we could change the name of the page to reflect what the list really is--except I don't know what it really is other than the list created by Nobs01. How about Americans mentioned in Soviet & U.S. intelligence files? No, because these are all people listed in VENONA, that is thier only connection. DTC 22:12, 18 January 2006 (UTC) How do we know that all these people are listed in Venona unless we check them against all the cited sources? When this list was first posted, it was specifically identified as the list from Haynes and Klehr, which I believe states that some names came from sources other than Venona? I am not at the library where I work, so I can't check my copy.--Cberlet 22:34, 18 January 2006 (UTC) Well, I checked mine, at least a sample, and the names do appear in Appendix A, along with more that are not on this page . DTC 22:47, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

i know there's some petty schoolyard rule here that indicates that "talk pages are not message boards," but i'm compelled to remark on what a flailing, singleminded fool cbartlet has made of himself here. its a realy disturbing read.

VENONA is crap. There are a few hundred of David Horrorshits little propaganda monkeys littering up articles with this drivel from Haynes and Klehr. It should all be expunged. If the American Historical Association isn't behind them, neither should Wiki. I hope we do not want that kind of shoddy and intellectually dishonest revisionism here. To call it scholarship would be ludicrous. I fervently hope that we shall soon see Haynes and Klehr follow their predecessor from another field, John Lott, down the toilet. Morton Sobell, ("a convicted spy"), is included on this questionable "list".

From the Nation, Three Gentleman of Venona

"All the authors take for granted that the National Security Agency has published a true decryption of the Soviet cables. This assumption is quite remarkable in view of the past history of the NSA, which has not given scholars the opportunity to check the decryptions' accuracy.

The NSA's identification of the individuals with cover names is another questionable area. For example: The cover names Antenna and Liberal, which the NSA said identified Julius Rosenberg, were initially assigned to one Joseph Weichbrod, and it was only after David Greenglass, Julius's brother-in-law, was arrested, that the NSA said, Oops, we made a slight mistake. Strangely, I, a bona fide convicted spy, could not be found anywhere among the hundreds of identified spies, but this was not for lack of their trying.

In a very candid May 13, 1950, memo, which the FBI never thought would see the light of day, it writes of Venona: "The fragmentary nature of the messages themselves, the assumptions made by the cryptographers, in breaking the messages themselves, and the questionable interpretations and translations involved, plus the extensive use of cover names for persons and places, make the problem of positive identification extremely difficult." One would never know this from the way all the authors write about the decrypted Venona cables."

If he is actually named in VENONA, fine. If not, I hope that people here will put an end to this vandalism that is emanating from Horroshits and his smear merchants. To even see links to articles from that filth peddler's in the wiki entries rag is an embarassment to the Wiki project.

An academic purge of Haynes and Klehr, how Sovietesqe, and appropriate in this context. Considering that the Nation has employed at least 10 soviet spies, I tend to think they lack objectivity on this subject. But you want to see something really funny, see someone debate Haynes and Klehr on this topic, it’s a textbook definition of an ass whomping. Torturous Devastating Cudgel 18:54, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

This is the biggest piece of bullshit ever. It's totally made up, right out of Ann Coulter's piece of shit book. Even if there was ever a list named Venona with any of those people on it, the evidence against them was and is so scarce that's its not even worth mentioning it. - Wakefencer

Where is he mentioned? 65.185.190.240 00:30, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

1) It should include all the (American) names in the Appendix.

I strongly disagree. If the name does not appear in the Verona documents, it should not be on this list. If someone has inferred that the person is associated with one of the Verona "code names", then it should be noted as such. To my knowledge, Appendix D states that "Verona documents and documents from Russian archives" were the source for the conclusion that the individuals in Appendix D "were targeted" for recruitment, etc. Unless someone can find these names in the Verona documents proper, we can only assume they did not appear in Verona. Wysdom 09:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

2) The ones where it provides no evidence of successful recruitment (the ones with the asterisk) should be grouped separately

This I agree with--but again, only for the ones who appear in the Verona documents. But what's "it"? I sincerely hope we have another source or two (or more?) than Appendix D. Haynes/Klehr's book alone isn't sufficient--the only reason I'm going off Haynes' list alone at present is because it's the best I have, at present--and because it cites sources. Appendix D alone isn't a sufficient source to include a name on this list--mutliple, reliable, verifiable, etc. Wysdom 09:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

3) Articles should be written about those still with redlinks to provide fora summary of the nature of the evidence

Again, using more than Harvey/Klehr's Verona, right? Wysdom 09:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

4) Death dates should be obtained if possible

Thank you. Wysdom 09:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

5) An attempt should be systematically made to complete the sketchy articles, many of which do not record the further career of the people concerned--not even whether of not they were ever indicted.

Double thank you, and amen. :) Wysdom 09:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

6) Some of the people on this list confessed (or boasted) they were spies, and this should be at least indicated even on the list.

With (here I do again) and only with verifiable, reliable sources cited. Please. Wysdom 09:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I am glad attention was called to this in AfD, because it will result in stronger articles. DGG 09:40, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

You're welcome! :) :) :) (*wince* J/K! Don't hit me. ) Wysdom 09:14, 30 April 2007 (UTC) This all sounds reasonable to me -- and most of it doable. I am willing to put in (some) of the work outlined above (and it is quite a bit of work). But, look, I am also working on many other projects here at WP, not to say in real life, and the threat of someone coming to delete this, or other related articles, puts a damper on things (surprise, surprise!). I will be waiting for the results of AfD before investing much more time and effort into this particular area, but in the meantime, thanks for setting up the task at hand for this article, this should help. Turgidson 13:37, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

I object to the deletion of Marion Bachrach from the list. She definitely appears in the Venona papers. The John Earl Haynes list that I pointed you to is indeed useful as a check -- and I will not question each and every deletion you make based on that, I trust that some are justified, though I need to double check at some point -- but I must take exception with this one. First of all, the involvment of Bachrach in the Ware group is well-documented in the article on her. Second, there are several references in that article, including the "Venona" book by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr on which this list is based. Finally, if this is not enough, just look up the book, say here. Turgidson 01:07, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

  1. Bachrach appears in the "Venona" book by Haynes and Klehr -- as the Google Books link I provided above clearly shows.
  2. In her article, she is listed under Category:Venona Appendix D, which I think is correct, in view of the above.
  3. Haynes does not include her on his list.
  4. In her article, a Soviet intelligence communication from November 20, 1942 is mentioned, where her name comes up.
  5. The NSA/Venona site, where all the transcripts are maintained, does not have anything under that date. Unfortunately, one can only search by specific date--not by keyword, I guess because those are gif files, not text files.

According to Haynes' notes, this is what appears in the Verona documents:

Samuel Bloomfield, manager of the Progressive Book Shop in Washington

According to the list presented here, we have something a little different:

Samuel Bloomfield, Eastern European Division, Research and Analysis Division, Office of Strategic Services

I've fixed it. Wysdom 01:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I see she was deleted from the list, but that's another case that needs to be discussed. Yes, she's not on Haynes' list, but that could be an ommision. In her article, there are 5 Venona-intercepted communications from Mexico City to Moscow from March 14, 1944, in which she is said to be implicated. I read all 5 of them, and it's not quite clear to me where she fits. Clearly, both Jacob Epstein and Ruth Beverley Wilson appear there, so they should stay on the list. It could be that Colloms is one of the unidentified people on the Venona transcript (Juanita? Anita?), or perhaps she was simply too low-level to rate a mention in the cable (addressed to Lavrentiy Beria --code name Petrov-- himself!) Again, not sure what to say -- this seems a borderline case, to be kept in mind. Turgidson 03:55, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Turgidson--I know we got off to a rough start on the AfD discussion, so please know that I very much respect the work and research you're doing on your end. I do need you, and others, working with me and fact-checking me, and adding/adding back things that may have been omitted in Haynes' list, or by me, in error. However, we also need to keep in mind that our best reference is the direct source--you didn't see her name in the Verona documents, she's not on Haynes' list, so it's pretty clear that name isn't there. Now, from what I understand, the article here was compiled from several different sources: it may be that her name appears in one of them--i.e., a researcher has inferred (perhaps correctly) that she is the person codenamed "XYZ". That may even be the case with Bachrach. If we can find that information, then the names should be returned to the list, the source cited, and a footnote added explaining that, "(Researcher name) believes (name not appearing in Verona) is the identity of (codename in Verona)" or something similar. A name actually appearing in Verona is conclusive. The inference, no matter how well educated, of researchers after the fact is less conclusive. We owe it to ourselves and to readers to make that distinction. Thanks for your help in this, and your constructive dialogue. Wysdom 04:17, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I noticed that, in Haynes' list, Boleslaw Gerbert is listed a Polish citizen and U.S. resident. That doesn't quite jive with the current name of the article (". Americans apearing in. ").

There are a couple of steps we might take to correct this. Here are my thoughts.

  • We make it a criteria that anyone currently appearing in the article who is/was not, in fact, American be removed
  • We change the name of the article to "List of peopleassociated with the Verona documents".

The latter solution would solve more than one potential problem: A) inclusion/exclusion based on nationality would no longer be an issue and B) the change of "in" to "associated with" paves the road for later (when proven) addition of people like Bachrach and Anna Colloms--i.e., people who aren't in Verona by name, but are suspected to be the identities of code names in the documents.

Actually, I know the article on Bolesław Gebert quite well-- I edited it at length yesterday. He was born in Poland in 1895, and immigrated to the US in 1918. Gebert was one of the founding members of the Communist Party USA, and a labor organizer in the Chicago area. He appears in nine Venona-intercepted KGB messages between May and October 1944 (he was the contact of Oskar R. Lange, an economist and professor at U. Chicago, who was a personal emissary from Roosevelt to Stalin on the "Polish question"). It was only after the end of World War II that Gebert returned to Poland, where he became an official in the Communist Goverment there (even Polish Ambassador to Turkey). A rather intriguing career path -- but I think it's safe to put him down as being an American citizen during the period covered by the Verona papers. (Although, to be 100% sure, one would need to know exactly when he was naturalized US citizen, and when he renounced his citizenship.) As for the wider question — my tendency would be to widen the scope, and include also some people who were not American citizens, but were involved in this affair. After all, as someone rightly said, WP is not just about the U.S., but the whole world. By that token, if notable non-US citizens were mentioned in those transcripts, why draw an barrier? At any rate, that's my take. Turgidson 06:25, 30 April 2007 (UTC) Turgidson--Thanks for the feedback. I, too, think it's acceptable to widen the scope, but I feel in order to retain factual accuracy, we should agree to somehow alter the title of this article to reflect that wide scope. Would "List of names appearing in the Verona documents" be acceptable? That broadens the criteria to include people like Gebert, and also allows for the inclusion of items that are a little more "speculative"--like Samuel Bloomfield. Looking at Appendix D, I'm not convinced the manager of the bookstore (which is the way he's identified in the actual Verona documents) and the guy working at the OSS were the same person. That's pure speculation on my part, but it's kind of hard to have a job at a government agency and manage a bookstore on the side, one would think, and Haynes/Klehr don't really make it plain how they made the association. However, "List of names appearing. " etc would make it a little more feasible to add a note explaining how Haynes/Klehr believe that this is the same guy from the OSS, instead of completely restricting the identification to "bookstore manager". Best wishes, Wysdom 08:19, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

So that no one mistakes my intentions, here are the criteria I'm working by (for right now--if there are things to be added/recovered later with good, cited sources, then #1 might not apply, for example):

1) If the name does not appear in Haynes, 2007 [5], out it goes.

2) If a name appears in Haynes, 2007, but does not state its source as "Verona", (e.g., [source Weinstein Vassiliev ''Haunted Wood'']), it gets a ** (meaning, this name does not actually appear in the Verona documents, etc--see my addition to the article intro)

3) If the identifying characteristics of an individual, such as the list of job titles following a name, does not appear in Haynes, 2007, I am removing it. This does not mean I object to this information being added back, BUT it needs to be sourced and cited. We need to be sensitive to the fact that just because someone is named "John Doe" and the Senior Correspondent Politico General Assistant Whatsit of Some Organization is also named "John Doe", they may not be the same person. Please remember, good research does not assume and requires proof.

4) I may have broken some Wikilinks in correcting the names/spellings of some individuals on the list. Having realised this, I'm going to go back and attempt to correct the matter--the articles that these individuals are linked to may contain better references/notes on which Verona documents, specifically, contain the person's name--which I'd like to see eventually cited here, as well. It's getting tedious citing the same source for these names, over and over )

I think that's it for now. Thanks everyone :)

  • lol* Far be it from me to suggest Mr. Weinstein was incorrect :) Remember, I'm only marking the name with a **, meaning the name "Joe Generic" doesn't actually appear in the Verona documents. That he was later identified as being "Agent XYZ"--who is in Verona--is another matter entirely. The ** isn't saying "this is wrong", just "this isn't in Verona, per se".

Okay--it's 7:17 AM. do you know where Wysdom is? Still awake and cracked out at her laptop, that's where D Anyhoo, figured since I have to shower and drag my carcass into work, I'd leave a note as to the work thus far:

1) Finally managed to stop myself from typing "Verona" when I MEAN "Venona" (darn that Shakespeare!)

2) I've gone through the entire list of names. Once. *thunk* Many more passes remain in the future, methinks.

  • Spellings and alternates--How they appeared here v. how Haynes has them listed as appearing in Venona. I think this is important for both accuracy and fact-checking. In the vast majority of cases, I added the Haynes spelling/alterate to the Wikilink after the "pipe" (|), so the Wikilinks should still be good.

3) Any identifications not specified by Haynes as being provided in the Venona documents have been removed, replaced with a simple citation to the Haynes, 2007 list. I'm not trying to "cover up" anything exceptional claims require exceptional sources. When we have the source(s), those things can be added back and cited, simultaneously.

  • By the same token, identifications provided by Haynes/Venona that differed from the ones provided here have been "corrected"--again, other info can be added as it's sourced.
  • A few of the identifications (the Rosenbergs, for example) that are kinda "gimmes" I've left alone--for the present. I still think it's imperative that it be properly sourced that the Julius Rosenberg--and yes, even the Alger Hiss--in Venona is the same as the person we're linking them to with the Wikilinks. It's just good policy.

4) Names not appearing in Haynes, 2007 have been removed entirely. I know this is going to be a topic of dispute, esp. with names appearing in Appendix D. The fact of the matter is, though, that there are names in Appendix D that do appear in Venona (according to Haynes, 2007). and others do not. Additionally, Haynes, 2007 is rather exhaustively referenced--if one of his fellow researchers had listed the "absent" people in Appendix D as being associated with Venona, they would have been in the Haynes, 2007 list (see all the people in the article with ** marks). Pretty much, it doesn't appear at present that there's anything other than Haynes' research in the Soviet archives backing up the Appendix D names. Again, if I'm wrong, lets source/cite them puppies and add 'em back!

5) Minor edits to the inro (aside from inroducing the two asterisk notation). I know there's been substantial controversy over the presentation of "how many" researchers, scholars, etc. support or don't the Venona documents and the research related to them. "Many academics" (I believe it was) was changed to "A number of". I think that's pretty neutral--"A number" could be small OR large.

"A few" scholars who are skeptical has been eliminated entirely, simply stating that "To what extent any given individual named in the Venona documents was involved with Soviet intelligence is a topic of dispute." Best to keep it simple. There's no refuting that statement, and it's not weighted in either direction with implied numbers. The word "clandestinely" has also been removed from that passage--it's a matter of dispute to what extent (clandestinely, overtly, or not at all) they were involved, period. Again, keeping it simple. Finally (I think?) "named below" was changed to "named in the Verona documents"--since not all the individuals on the compiled list were named in the Venona documents, some having been inferred by researchers, etc.

Coming up next! Edit

1) Another pass through the list to add references as they appear in Haynes, 2007 (where Weinstein, West, et al back up the identifications, it should be noted)

2) Checking the articles Wikilinked to our list. Are they properly sourced and cited? Can we improve that, if not? Should they be removed, if they can't be improved?

3) Checking the Venona documents themselves --it's not clear in all cases where the identifications of individuals in Haynes, 2007 are actually cited in Venona and where he's making an "obvious" correlation. Anything not in Venona, again, should come off the list, initially, until it can be checked.

4) Compile a changelog (to make searching for the removed info easier). I know, I know. it's not very scientific to start with a conclusion and work backward, but I truly believe that anything untrue and unsubstantiated that has been removed will stay removed--a single source isn't enough to add something back in, and we all know that, as Wikipedians, researchers and honest folks.

5) Other stuff. I can't think right now *lol* My brain hurts.

Someone keeps adding to the lead the following claim: "others suggest that most likely had no ill intent or committed no crimes", implying that these "others" are "academics and historians". But the supposed references for this claim go to some articles in the Nation (are the journalists there academics or historians?) and to some comments by Ellen Schrecker, who is a an academic and historian all right, but I do not see the exact quote in there. Thus, I view the above claim as dubious, and not backed up by reliable references -- and so I will tag it, accordingly. Turgidson 23:08, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

The full sentence in question is "While a number of academics and historians assert that most of the individuals mentioned in the Venona papers were likely either clandestine assets and/or contacts of the KGB, GRU and Soviet Naval GRU others suggest that most likely had no ill intent or committed no crimes." I think it is obvious that leaving out the disclaimer phrase is excessively POV. This is a longstanding and extensively documented controversy. The arguments advanced for this being 'dubious' information seem exceedingly strained. YES, Victor Navasky from The Nation is an 'academic or historian'. it kind of goes with being a university professor who studies and writes about history. No, Ellen Schrecker did not use the exact words stated in this article, any more than Robert Benson or Sam Tanenhaus made the exact statements they are cited in support of, but a perusal of the linked text (or indeed the Wikipedia article on her for that matter) clearly shows that they are an accurate description of her position. --CBD 00:31, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

The current name gives a false description of this page. This is not a list of Americans named in the Venona papers, but rather a list of Americans who one or more people have suggested might be individuals identified by codenames in the Venona papers. Many of these speculative identifications are disputed. Any suggestions for a corrected page name? I'm thinking something like, 'Americans suggested to correspond with Venona codenames'. though a less wordy way of saying it would be nice. --CBD 00:48, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Who exactly disputes the identifications from the Venona papers? These are not "speculative identifications" -- they are backed by a massive, decades-long decryption effort by the U.S Government, and certified by recognized scholars and historians. Turgidson 02:02, 22 July 2007 (UTC) C'mon. If you know anything about Venona you know that many of the supposed identifications are disputed. Navasky, Schrecker, Kunstler, Lowenthal, and many others have questioned these identifications - as clearly shown in links already in this and other Venona articles. Heck, the government and McCarthyite leaning historians themselves frequently say things like 'possibly' or 'probably' in their identifications. Turning around and saying that these then AREN'T speculative is simply false. --CBD 11:27, 22 July 2007 (UTC) Labeling serious historians you don't agree with as "McCarthyite" in a transparent attempt at discrediting their work won't do -- the names in the Venona list are there for very sound reasons, despite what apologists like Navasky may or may not say (and even he doesn't dispute most of those names belonging to the list -- does he?) The Venona papers were declassified in 1995 by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Chairman of the bipartisan Commission on Government Secrecy. Moynihan wrote: "[The] secrecy system has systematically denied American historians access to the records of American history. Of late we find ourselves relying on archives of the former Soviet Union in Moscow to resolve questions of what was going on in Washington at mid-century. [. ] the Venona intercepts contained overwhelming proof of the activities of Soviet spy networks in America, complete with names, dates, places, and deeds." (Secrecy: The American Experience, Yale University Press, 1998, pg. 15. ISBN 0-300-08079-4) Among many others, noted military historian and author, Nigel West, expressed confidence in the decrypts: "Venona remain[s] an irrefutable resource, far more reliable than the mercurial recollections of KGB defectors and the dubious conclusions drawn by paranoid analysts mesmerized by Machiavellian plots." (Venona--The Greatest Secret of the Cold War, Harper Collins, 1999, pg. 330. 0-00-653071-0) So yes, there may be some who do not like the conclusions of the Venona project, but that's their problem. This does not invalidate the facts uncovered, or the huge amount of historical evidence adduced by the people who worked on the Venona project, or the conclusions of those historians who wrote about it. And that's what matters here at WP. Turgidson 12:06, 22 July 2007 (UTC) The historians in question advance the same claims as Joseph McCarthy and via the same 'guilt by association' methodology. thus, 'McCarthyite', regardless of how 'serious' they may be. Quoting people doesn't change the fact that they are disputed by those you term "apologists". You obviously KNOW they are disputed. but say "that's their problem" and that only the views of the other side 'matter here at WP'. That's blatant naked POV. and why this article needs to be balanced with the dissenting views and facts you are so determinedly censoring. --CBD 11:24, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

I've been trying to correct the egregious point of view problems in this article a bit at a time, but as even the most glaringly biased/incorrect is being fought for I think we need to address the issue in general. It is permissible to have an article which says that various Americans are suspected by various researchers of being tied to codenames in the Venona papers - provided we also cite that many of these identifications are contested, as is the guilt of many of the individuals. It is not permissible to have an article which says that all of these people were probably involved in espionage. The former is fact which can be backed up by references while the latter is an opinion which is widely disputed.

Other problems in this article are the selective inclusion and exclusion of names (why exactly are names like 'Kapitan' = Franklin Roosevelt and 'Star' = Enrico Fermi excluded/removed?), the footnote supposedly identifying 24 individuals targetted for recruitment but not confirmed (which falsely implies that everyone else on the list was a confirmed agent), the second footnote which purports to identify individuals who were not named in the Venona decrypts (but then is not included on many whose real names were not used - Julius Rosenberg for instance), et cetera.

The article as it exists is just plain biased. If, as I suspect, some of these people are still alive then it is also a BLP violation. For instance, I know Bernstein was still alive a few years ago (Magdoff apparently died last year), but I'd have to hunt around to determine if he still is. Sorting through to identify and remove all the still living people would be a monumental task. so I think our options are to fix the biased text or delete the article entirely. --CBD 11:50, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

There was AfD discussion about this whole subject a few months ago, see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Americans in the Venona papers, with much the same arguments brought up. The result was No consensus. Please familiarize yourself with that discussion (and the comments on this talk page that were brought up by that discussion) before pursuing this further. In particular, I recommend looking at the work done by User:Wysdom, who was the one who brought up the AfD in the first place, and ended up checking each and every entry on the list, keeping only those that could be checked independently, according to several reliable sources. As for the stunning discovery that FDR's name was mentioned in the Venona decrypts, that was done earlier here, but later retracted here by the same user, on the same grounds I did a few days ago. Turgidson 12:17, 22 July 2007 (UTC) I'm familiar with the AfD and that it correctly noted the BLP and POV problems in this article. Wysdom's work in reviewing and referencing has reduced the, also mentioned, verifiability and sourcing problems, but not changed the fact that this page and, as I now see, the numerous individual articles on these people, are presented in an excessively POV manner which violates our BLP policy for all those still living. of which I've confirmed Bernstein at least and likely several others. The removal of FDR is simply another example of the POV bias displayed here. it is being claimed that these people having code names which were used in the Venona intercepts means they were most likely spies. The fact that Roosevelt was in the exact same situation demonstrates how absurd that position is. so Roosevelt is removed from the list. Ditto Enrico Fermi. never any suspicion that he was a Soviet agent, and if he had been they wouldn't have had to go to other people for info on nuclear weapons - ergo, he's off the list. It is a biased presentation. The fact that the Soviets talked about someone does not inherently constitute any sort of evidence that the person was committing espionage. despite the claims to the contrary by your 'serious historians'. Which is why only a small percentage of these people were ever charged with any sort of crime. Accusing them of crimes, based on potentially erroneous identifications and pure 'guilt by association', is an obvious violation of BLP for the living and POV for the rest. --CBD 11:42, 23 July 2007 (UTC) This page and the numerous related ones were the result of a project by primarily one editor. The outcome was the creation of a POV anti-communist blacklist using Wikipedia as its base. There are dozens of pages that were created just to claim that the individual was a Soviet spy. Every attempt to make it clear that many of the names involve people who may or may not have been properly identified in the decrypts or may have simply been contacted unwittingly by Soviet intelligence or may have been simply the idle boasts of lazy Soviet agents has been met with fierce and sometimes fanatic resistance. We do not have to minimize the existence of Soviet intelligence during the cold war to recognize that many of these pages are full of crap. These pages disgrace Wikipedia as a reliable source. --Cberlet 13:16, 23 July 2007 (UTC) Berlet, the numerous articles you reference have evolved significantly since their creation, and most of them are well cited and well documented. Torturous Devastating Cudgel 14:50, 23 July 2007 (UTC) I disagree. Please have the common courtesy to address me using the Wiki custom of my user name. Tacky.--Cberlet 19:29, 23 July 2007 (UTC) I'm sorry, but is Berlet not part of your name? Secondly, it obvious you disagree, but as shown many times before, your criticisms were off base. Torturous Devastating Cudgel 21:08, 23 July 2007 (UTC) I started seeing those articles when I looked to see if people on this list were still alive. Alot of them are still just, 'this person was mentioned in the Venona cables so they are a suspected spy' with references to the particular cables and the source of the supposed identification. I started deleting those yesterday as obvious BLP / A7 issues (someone says that this person may be someone who might have done something which might have involved espionage does not equal 'notability'). I haven't done anything with the 'expanded' ones thus far, but most of those just look like they've added general biographical information about the person (where they worked/went to school et cetera). which still does nothing to assert notability or defuse the POV and BLP problems. --CBD 21:05, 23 July 2007 (UTC) Whatever is not referenced, ask for it and I will dig it up if it exists. Torturous Devastating Cudgel 21:09, 23 July 2007 (UTC) Not the issue. Alot of these articles consist of things like, 'This person was Venona codename XYZ, a Bell aviation employee and accused spy who gave a report to another Bell aviation employee who then gave it to the Soviets'. Even if the identification could be proven, rather than speculation falsely presented as fact. so what? There is nothing remotely notable about this person. Even if you then went and wrote their entire life story, with detailed references for all of it. an aircraft engineer who gave a report to a co-worker is NOT notable. Heck, even if you could prove that they weren't supposed to share the report. Even if you could prove it was 'classified' information. STILL not notable. Not even close. A person who was never tried, never the subject of any media coverage, et cetera. That's what something like 90% of these people are. just ordinary people that most users have never heard of and would never go looking for an article about. --CBD 21:28, 23 July 2007 (UTC) It’s the articles subject notability not the content notability. Every person here has been identified by a researcher, or group of researchers. I think it would be acceptable to delete the names of any individual that does not have a description after it. If you think this lacks Notability, list the article under an AfD, just alert me know though, as I am watching over these articles for the prior editor. Torturous Devastating Cudgel 21:35, 23 July 2007 (UTC) I do not think that the solution is to make Wikipedia a more extensive POV blacklist.--Cberlet 21:59, 23 July 2007 (UTC) What is the solution then? Torturous Devastating Cudgel 22:05, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Why is it that Roosevelt (KAPITAN), Churchill, Hull & Morgenthau (NABOB) (just to name several off the top of my head) are not on this list? Ok. Churchill's not American. They're certainly mentioned several/many times in VENONA. What's the distinguishing attribute that leaves these guys off the list? DEddy (talk) 22:35, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I restored the "Inappropriate title" tag I put on a year ago. The content of the article seems to be more "List of Americans who have been asserted to have had code names which appear in the Venona papers and to have had some connection with Soviet intelligence operations." - a rather vague and probably POV-dependent list. The current title would be more appropriate for listing (USA) Americans whose names plainly appear in the papers, uncoded.John Z (talk) 03:37, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

The text of the article says "Twenty-four persons targeted for recruitment remain uncorroborated as to it being accomplished. These individuals are marked with an asterisk (*)". I can find no names with a single '*'. Should this sentence be removed from the article text? Hmains (talk) 16:06, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Why is it there's no list of Brits in Venona? TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 21:45, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

The "Minor" mentioned in Venona (Moscow to Washington 3711 29 June 1945) is "Presumably Robert G. MINOR, an OSS employee." This is most definitely NOT Robert B. Minor, "political cartoonist, radical journalist, and a leading member of the American Communist Party." At this time, THAT Robert Minor was over 60 years old and serving as acting secretary of the CPUSA—although he did receive at least one coded cable from Moscow. (See Haynes & Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, p. 426, note 32) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.126.190.200 (talk) 01:42, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Where is there the "work" that details how a VENONA code name is attached to a real person? I remember in high school math being reprimanded. just producing an answer was not enough. If there was no "work" to show the explicit details how I got the answer, that was simply not good enough.

Also. shouldn't we disassociate the NSA work on the actual cables (decryption & translation) from the work of associating the code names with real people. The NSA didn't have that sort of street level manpower, did they?

Where in the Haynes & Klehr collection is the work paper trail of HOW they got their answers? DEddy (talk) 00:23, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

The result of the move request was: not moved. If later discussion can arrive at an agreeable (consensus) new name, this article can be moved there as a technical request (or a notification on my Talk). -- JHunterJ (talk) 15:40, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

List of Americans in the Venona papers → List of Hypothesized Names in Decoded Venona Messages – If not deleted because some of this is original research and much of it controversial, at a minimum the page should be renamed to emphasize that these are as much guesses as serious scholarship. I will also place a delete message here, the previous delete discussion was inconclusive and long ago. --Relisted Armbrust, B.Ed. WrestleMania XXVIII The Undertaker 20–0 09:10, 6 June 2012 (UTC) Washingtonian1976 (talk) 20:23, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

It is a bad idea to move a page while a deletion debate is in progress. Please put this on hold until the AfD has run its course. Spinning Spark 07:50, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

The deletion discussion has now closed. The suggested target needs decapitalising per WP:CAPS. A title more accurately reflecting the content of the article would be List of Americans alleged to be Soviet agents from the Venona decodes. Spinning Spark 12:17, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment. SpinningSpark's suggestion looks vastly preferable. Jenks24 (talk) 05:46, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment. I was going to close this as moved to Spinningspark's suggestion, as seconded above, except that I don't know that decodes can be used as as a noun in this manner, and it sounds odd to me—if "decodes" was a term of art used in the article that would be different. Dicionary.com only provides the verb form. Maybe instead (though I admit it's a mouthful) List of Americans alleged to be Soviet agents from decoding of the Venona papers .--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 15:06, 3 June 2012 (UTC) You are right, I can't find it in any dictionary, including OED, but it is certainly verifiably a term of art [6][7]. Maybe I'll mosey over to Wiktionary and inflict it on them. SpinningSpark 16:53, 3 June 2012 (UTC) I've seen "decrypts", which I'd tend to use, since it's not actually a code. TREKphilerany time you're ready, Uhura 00:40, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Can we just try to delete again? Renaming won't deal with many of the legitimate issues affecting the article. I know an AFD recently closed, but I can't find any policy that would prevent another try. Since the previous attempts have resulted in no consensus, I don't think it's unreasonable to try a third (the closing admin on the second one suggested as much). This requested move raises the profile of the article (I didn't know about it before), and there's no reason we can't solicit further opinions. --BDD (talk) 21:55, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If the identification is made by the NSA in a footnote for a released decrypt, then it is not original research. If an article is original research, it should be deleted. Either way, it is not a reason to change the title. Kauffner (talk) 04:34, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Much of this is guesswork and some original research. The guesswork is largely driven by weak or even bad scholarship aimed at getting attention by making wild and sensational speculation. Perhaps the book some of this is based on should have a page, at most, but this list looks like confirmed scholarship and it simply is not. These often are suggested names of very high ranking officials for codenames that have not been reliably broken. Washingtonian1976 (talk) 20:22, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Verifiability, not truth. These people have been identified in a published source. How reliable it is, IDK. Don't like the claims, refute with better sources. Don't try to delete. It won't work. (If bogus & indefensible claims were deleted, this would've been gone long ago.) TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 02:49, 27 May 2012 (UTC) Verifiability and Veracity. We have a duty to be right. Carrite (talk) 05:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC) Then explain the claims in the linked page. They are a fiction from beginning to end. Moreover, WP policy does not demand veracity, only verifiability. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 06:55, 28 May 2012 (UTC) Yes, but verifiability must come from reliable sources. --BDD (talk) 21:55, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

The deletion debate is taking place at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Americans in the Venona papers (2nd nomination). Your comments will be ineffective in influencing the debate on this page. Spinning Spark 07:48, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

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A New Class Of White-Collar Victims: The Family

Reverend Jeff Grant wrote a powerful post on his blog, Prisonist.org, announcing that the Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project in Greenwich, CT, for the first time in United States history, obtained a recovery from a U.S. Receiver for an innocent spouse after her personal assets had been frozen by federal authorities. The seizure of assets was the result of her husband being a defendant in a financial crime case.

In a recent blog post, Grant spoke of the plight of innocent spouses and children of white-collar criminals:

"There are innocent mothers and children suffering in silence in this country. In hiding places you are least likely to suspect. Their family names have been blazoned across headlines. Their children have been taunted, ridiculed and bullied at school. Their friends have abandoned them. They are whispered about, pointed at and disdained. They have been shunned in their churches, synagogues, and civic organizations. They cannot afford to feed themselves without food stamps, or to heat their homes without state aid. They sit with the blinds and curtains drawn - waiting for the day their homes will be sold out from under them."

The first time I met Grant was last fall in Grand Central Station in New York City, where we spent several hours talking about the state of criminal justice in America, and the plight of white-collar families in particular. In November, I wrote a column for Forbes.com about his ministries, “Starting a Discussion on White Collar Crime & Recovery.” At the time, Grant started to give me some indication of how committed he, and the team he had put together, were to the life of one family - and how important their success could be for the innocent spouses and children of all men going to prison.

"We started to see a class of victims that had never been talked about before," Grant told me in an interview, "spouses and children who are pulled into a legal quagmire because of the actions of someone else." Grant was referring to this case where Josephina (real name withheld) and her two young children (ages 8 and 10) were living in a million dollar-plus home in the northeast. Josephina's husband had been arrested for a large financial crime, put behind bars and is still awaiting sentencing. He had been the breadwinner, decision maker and the actions that led him to prison were as much a mystery to the family as they were the victims of his financial scheme. Certainly not all spouses are like Josephina, but far too many of them are.

“When we met this woman she was hopeless she and her children were penniless and on the verge of homelessness,” explains Lynn Springer, Grant’s wife and partner in the ministries. Grant and Springer first met with this woman in June 2013, in the backyard of a common friend from the New Canaan Society, a men’s fellowship organization, the friend had approached Grant about this family’s terrible situation. Grant and Springer met with Josephina, who explained that the government had frozen all of her assets when it froze her husband’s. When he was taken into custody she was shocked to find only $150 in her bank account. When she met with Grant an Springer, she and her children were living on food stamps and state health insurance. Unable to tap any funds meant that she could not even leave her home to rent a smaller apartment. She had become a squatter in her own home, which was falling into disrepair. When Grant and Springer ascertained that she was not complicit in her husband’s crimes, they agreed to become her ministers and try to find legal counsel and a team to recover her assets.

"I understand that prosecutors have a job and an obligation to prosecute," Grant said, "but this family had no support system in place." While the two children were born in the United States, Josephina was from South America and had no support in the area. Once the family’s money was frozen, their friends were gone. Grant told me that she had no money for lawyers or accountants to pursue a remedy to her situation, even though she had assets that could be identified as being rightfully hers and not associated with her husband's crime. Josephina could not even afford to get a divorce from her imprisoned husband. She was trapped.

Grant reached out to attorney George F. Hritz, Esq. (Kaplan Fox) who had 40+ years of large firm litigation experience - and a huge heart. "This was a whole new area of law for a new class of victims what Josephina needed for legal representation did not seem to exist," Hritz explained. “She needed a team of attorneys who would advocate for Josephina not as a defendant, but as a white-collar crime victim." As Grant explained, “it was the perfect opportunity for ministers and attorneys to learn from one another, to show compassion, to become teammates, and to create a new field of ministry/advocacy.” With Hritz and Marion Bachrach, Esq. [a white-collar specialist at Thompson & Knight] on board, Grant and Hritz next had the arduous task of convincing a U.S. Receiver, assigned to Josephina’s husband’s large and complex financial crimes case, that Josephina was a crime victim who was at least entitled to the return of her personal assets that had been wrongfully frozen by the government. The forensics to prove what assets were hers alone, and had not been tainted by her husband’s activities, took hundreds of hours of time prove and months of negotiations to explain.

In February, a federal judge approved an agreement that had been reached with the support of all parties including the U.S. Receiver, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the S.E.C. There were no objections from any other of the husband’s victims. Hritz said of the settlement, ". we were able to achieve this resolution on behalf of this mother and her children only after it became absolutely clear they they would be receiving compensation only from the sale of her personal assets that had been wrongly frozen, and not from the sale of ‘tainted’ assets." Josephina recently moved from the large family home into a home much smaller and commensurate with the settlement she received. This has allowed her to continue on with her life in a new and different way and to raise her children. Another sad but understandable consequence of this matter was that, in March, Josephina’s divorce from her husband was finalized. “It breaks our heart that the children will likely grow up without a father,” said Springer. "While we understand that people and institutions who did business with her husband lost money," Grant said, "Josephina and her children were the first victims of this crime. We have found that this has unfortunately been the case in so many other families, as well. "

Jeff Grant and Lynn Springer hope that Josephina’s story is just the beginning for their family ministry and a ray of hope for victims living with undeserved shame. “No more hiding, no more going it alone in fear, unknowing, grief and shame. We have been where these people have been and we are here to help them to the other side,” Grant explained, “”this is a story of shining a light on a dark place, a story of triumph.”


Life and times of Claudia Jones: In her own words

Claudia Jones (1915–1964), an Afro-Caribbean woman born in Port of Spain, British West Indies (Trinidad), was a Communist activist in the U.S., holding several responsible positions within the Communist Party and for its publications until her deportation in 1955 to Great Britain. There, based in London, she played a leading role in the West Indian community, editing the left-wing West Indian Gazette, and founding (in 1959) the Caribbean Carnival, a cultural event now attracting some two million people each year. Below is an excerpt from a letter Jones wrote to then-CPUSA National Chair William Z. Foster, dated Dec. 6, 1955, the eve of her deportation. The letter is part of a small file of material donated to New York University’s Tamiment Library by Howard “Stretch” Johnson, an African-American Communist, which also contains a letter (London, April 21, 1956) from Jones to Johnson, her friend and former lover. People’s World is honored to publish a brief autobiographical glimpse of the life of this extraordinary woman.

December 6, 1955

Dear Comrade Foster,

As a child of eight, I came to the United States from Port of Spain, Trinidad, British West Indies. My mother and father had come to this country two years earlier, in 1922, when their economic status (which were middle class land owners on my mother’s side and hotel owners on my father’s side) had been worsened as a result of the drop in the cocoa trade (on the world market) from the West Indies which had impoverished the West Indies and the entire Caribbean. Like thousands of West Indian immigrants, they hoped to find their fortunes in America where “gold was to be found on the streets,” and they dreamed of rearing their children in a “free America.”

This dream was soon disabused. Together with my three sisters, our family suffered not only the impoverished lot of working class native families, and the multinational populace, but early learned the special scourge of indignity stemming from Jim Crow national oppression.

Early education

My formal academic education on American soil began when I entered public school. I have early recollections of being hurt by youngsters of my own age who mouthed anti-West Indian propaganda against me and my sisters. But by the time I reached junior high school, I had formed friendships and became integrated in the student body, and was nominated in Harriet Beecher Stowe Junior High for the highest office in the school and was subsequently elected Mayor. (The form of student administration of this particular junior high was patterned after the then-established pattern of the N.Y. City administration).

One incident I recall with some pride today. Namely that running with me then as President of the Board of Aldermen was a young Chinese girl. Numerous teachers tried to pressure me to refuse her as a running mate, on the grounds that she was Chinese, and that had the situation been reversed, this would not happen in China of that day. I refused to be drawn in or to accede to any such narrow concept—choosing instead to have her as my running mate. (To use the phrase, I exercised my “preemptory challenge!”) We were elected by an overwhelming majority of the students, proving the teachers wrong, and showing the internationalist approach of the student body.)

Lessons from capitalism

Jones speaks at a Communist Party event in the 1940s. Seated behind her is Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. | People’s World Archives

I began to wonder why there was wealth and poverty why there was discrimination and segregation why there was a contradiction between the ideas contained in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which contained its precepts of the pursuit for all of “life, liberty, and happiness.”

My mother had died two years earlier of spinal meningitis suddenly at her machine in a garment shop. The conditions of nonunion organization of that day, of speedup, plus the lot of working women who are mothers and undoubtedly the weight of immigration to a new land where conditions were far from as promised or anticipated, contributed to her early death at age 37.

My father, who together with her had come earlier to America, was left to rear four young girls, the oldest of whom was 14. I was the second child of my parents. Because of my pride, I didn’t ask friendly teachers to help provide me with a graduation outfit, at which I was to receive high honors (including the Theodore Roosevelt award for good citizenship), and officiate as Mayor of the school, choosing instead to stay away, sending them some lame excuse while I bawled my eyes out in humiliation and self-pity.

I was later to learn that this lot was not just an individual matter, but that millions of working-class people and Negro people suffered this lot under capitalism—if not identical, in one degree or another.

Confronting Jim Crow

Following my graduation from junior high school, I entered Wadleigh High School. Here I was confronted with Jim Crow in the classrooms and in the social life of the school. White kids would borrow notes from me in school, and then on leaving the school would turn their faces the other way under pressure of the Jim Crow society. Teachers with audacity would hold Negro students after school, asking if they wanted to make an extra dollar by doing domestic work for them or as they not-so-quaintly put it, whether I wished to “wear a pretty white apron” at their own social affairs. Or they would select poems in dialect and ask Negro kids to read these pointedly. While I even then had, as do other Negro youth, a searing indignation about these things, I didn’t know that they were part of a conscious plan designed to perpetuate the national oppression of the Negro people in the U.S. of which these incidents were reflections of the badge of inferiority perpetrated on the Negro people in the North, with the more hideous features of lynching, poll taxes, (crop lien laws), and economic strangulation devolving on the (Negro people) in the heartland of their oppression in the Black Belt of the South.

Great Depression

My formal academic education in a bourgeois sense ended with my graduation from Wadleigh High School. One year before my graduation, however, in the midst of the Great Depression, where I was one of the so-called “lost generation” of American youth, I contracted tuberculosis of the lung.

My family’s economic condition had worsened as had millions of American families, native and foreign born, second generation, etc. My dad, who was an editor of an American West Indian newspaper, lost his job as later also when he became a furrier, and to guarantee our support, became a superintendent of an apartment in Harlem where I lived all my life in the U.S. In the room where I slept, it was later discovered that an open sewerage flowed, and undoubtedly it was this dampness that contributed to my contraction of TB.

Sea View Sanitorium

I was sent to Sea View Sanatorium from Harlem Hospital at the age of 17, where, with pneumothorax treatment for my condition, I fully recovered since fortunately my sputum was never positive. I was there for one full year. There, too, I had an opportunity to read avidly, to think deeply, about the social ideas instilled in me by my mother and father. My mother had left the Catholic church, in which faith we were baptized from early childhood, choosing to become a Bible student, since her alert mind rejected early the hierarchal teachings of Catholicism. My father’s social ideas instilled in us were that of a pride and consciousness of our people, of our relation to Africa, from which my antecedents sprang, to our interrelationship to Caribbean independence, the dream of San Simeon, great Caribbean patriot to the new recognition of the struggle for Negro equality in the U.S., linked indissolubly as I later learned with the freedom and equality of the American trade unions and working class as the future class of society.

One incident, I remember, while in Sea View—namely when I gave a blood transfusion voluntarily (since I was her blood type) to a young Italian woman patient. This created quite a stir in the hospital on the question of “black blood” and “white blood.” Many of the white patients looked for days to see if the young Italian woman, who was eternally grateful (to the point of my embarrassment!) to me, had turned “black.” One of the first hospital speeches I ever heard was from a young Jewish doctor who in the midst of this scientific lecture stood in the middle of the ward and gave a lecture to the interracial patients asserting the inviolability of blood types as the antithesis of any false teaching on “race.”

First job

Upon recovery, I completed the last term of high school at Wadleigh. (During my teens I was active in numerous social clubs in the community, in Junior NAACP, in tennis clubs, and also studied dramatics at the Urban League. I performed in this capacity with a troupe in many churches in the Harlem community and in Brooklyn.) Upon graduation, I went to work in a factory, since college was out for me and I had to help support myself and contribute to the family larder.

My first job was in a laundry, where I observed, under the incredible (to me then) conditions of overwork, speedup, etc., in the heat of summer young Negro women fainting regularly because of the unbearable conditions. I didn’t want to become like them, so I went to work in a factory. But being unskilled, my job was setting nail heads—with a toothpick, a small jar of paste and placing these in the nail head setting. Boredom and ennui set in and I quit this job. Besides the pay was about $14 a week. Next, I got a job in a Harlem millinery store and lingerie shop as a salesgirl. This continued for quite a while—about two years or so.

Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia

Jones remained friends with Communist Party USA leader William Z. Foster even after her deportation to Britain. Here, she is photographed holding a copy of Foster’s autobiography, ‘Pages from a Worker’s Life.’ | People’s World Archives

These were the years of the Ethiopian war and the invasion of Mongolia. During this period (1935-36) I worked on a Negro nationalist newspaper (circulation about 4-5,000 copies), where I wrote a weekly column called “Claudia’s Comments.” My job consisted there also of writing precis [summaries] of the main editorial comments on Ethiopia from the general commercial press, Negro press, trade union press, etc. To my amazement, on attending one of their meetings (of the nationalists), I saw my boss reading my precis to the applause and response of thousands of community people in Harlem, men and women. When the next day, he would come in and tell me what a “Big Negro” he was, I would challenge his facts. What he did was to read books on Ethiopia all day and fuse his accumulated knowledge with my precis which were listened to by thousands of people in the mass rallies held by nationalists in Harlem.

I spent a lot of time coming from work listening also to the street corner meetings of the various political parties and movements in Harlem. These were the days of the famed Scottsboro Boys frame-up.

I was like millions of Negro people and white progressives and people stirred by this heinous frame-up. I was impressed by the Communist speakers who explained the reasons for this brutal crime against young Negro boys, and who related the Scottsboro case to the struggle of the Ethiopian people against fascism and Mussolini’s invasion. Friends of mine who were Communists began to have frequent discussions with me. I joined the party in February 1936 and was assigned to work in the Young Communist League shortly after. My first assignment was secretary of the YCL executive committee in Harlem and it was about this time, I got a job in the Business Dept. of the Daily Worker. This job coincided with my application for a $150 a week job in the field of dramatics with the Federal Theatre Project under WPA. I took the job at the Worker for $12–15 a week instead.

— Claudia Jones

Continuing her story

Jones, second from right, along with three other women members of the Communist Party in a police van at the Federal Courthouse in New York City, June 20, 1951, en route to the Women’s House of Detention after arraignment on Smith Act frame-up charges of ‘criminal conspiracy to teach and advocate the overthrow of the government by force and violence.’ From left: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Marion Bachrach, Jones, and Betty Gannett. | AP

Jones went on to be elected to the national leadership of the Communist Party and many peace and early civil rights organizations. She edited and wrote for numerous publications including Spotlight, the publication of American Youth for Democracy, and the Daily Worker. Jones wrote a column on women’s issues for the Daily Worker, called “Half the World.”

“From 1947 to 52,” Jones wrote, she was “active in national women’s movements and united front movements such as Congress of American Women National Council of Negro Women I toured the nation—43 states in connection with work among the masses of women, particularly working-class and Negro women in struggle against the Korean war, for peaceful coexistence between nations, for peace, national dignity, full equality for women, and the equal rights of women.” And urging “American women, Negro and white, to unite lest their children like those in Korea suffer the fate of Hiroshima’s atomic destruction.”

Jones was arrested three times during the McCarthy era anti-communist witch-hunts. She was among the 17 Communist leaders arrested in 1951 under the Smith Act, eventually serving nine months in prison in 1955, alongside “Rebel Girl” Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Shortly after her release, she was deported to Britain under the provisions of the McCarran Act.

In Britain, she continued her struggles against racism and for peace despite the ill health she suffered. Claudia Jones is listed as one of the 100 Great Black Britons for her “lasting legacy” as a founder of the Notting Hill Carnival, which she helped launch in 1959 as an annual showcase for Caribbean talent. These early celebrations were held in halls and were epitomized by the slogan, “A people’s art is the genesis of their freedom.”

Jones died on Christmas Eve, 1964, aged just 49, due to a heart condition and tuberculosis. She is buried in Highgate Cemetery, famously, “to the left of Karl Marx.”


Welcome to Berachah

The purpose of Berachah Church is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unbeliever and teach the believer the plan and will of God for his or her life. This is accomplished through exegetical and expository communication of Bible doctrine, the body of teaching drawn from literal interpretation of the Scriptures.

And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the same place was called, the valley of Berachah, unto this day.

2 Chronicles 20:26

2 Corinthians 5:21

God made Him who had no sin to be sin as a substitute for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness for by His wounds you were healed.

John 3:36

Whosoever believes in the Son has eternal life but whosoever rejects the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.


Amnesty!

New York: New Century Publishers, 1952. Pamphlet. 23p., stapled wraps, illus., 5x7.25 inches, lightly shelfworn, staples rusted else very good condition.

"Proposal of an amnesty program to release the members of the Communist Party imprisoned under the provisions of the Smith Act." *Seidman B11.

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Her Story: Chicago Women in History

Rededication of Jane Addams Monument near Widow Clarke House in Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 2011.

Beginning on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, I will be giving a three-part Newberry Library seminar called Her Story: Women in Chicago History. This seminar features two in-class sessions and a very special tour of the Widow Clarke House and Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens. Registration is still open, and there are a few spaces available. So I hope you’ll consider registering at newberry.org/F18HerStory.

Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens new signage. Photo courtesy of Jell Creative, Inc.

Ida B. Wells Barnett. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum, i12868.

Although women’s contributions to Chicago history have long been overlooked, things are starting to change. This July, Chicago’s City Council passed an ordinance to rename Congress Parkway in honor of civil rights leader, anti-lynching crusader, and journalist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931). Let’s hope that this marks the beginning of a movement to officially name more Chicago streets for noteworthy women.

My own initial “deep dive” into women’s history was spurred by such a movement. Fifteen years ago, while serving as the Chicago Park District (CPD) historian and planning supervisor, I received a note from Maria Saldana, the CPD’s first female board president. The note said that she and Cindy Mitchell (a founder of Friends of the Parks who also then served on the CPD board) wanted me to create a list of all Chicago parks named in honor of women.

Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, 2003. Photo by Julia Bachrach.

When I compiled the list, I found the results somewhat surprising. At that time, there were 555 parks in Chicago. I discovered that while approximately 350 of them were named for individuals, only 27 honored women. This paltry list included two parks named for Chicago’s internationally renowned social reformer, Jane Addams, several for developers’ wives or daughters, and a few for girls who had died tragically. Houston Park, which had been named in 1991, was then one of the few parks that actually honored a female who had made substantial contributions to Chicago history. Reverend Jessie ‘Ma’ Houston (1899-1980) was the first local woman allowed to minister to prisoners on Death Row.

Jessie ‘Ma’ Houston Park. Photo by Julia Bachrach.

The park renaming assignment was exciting for me. I feel inspired when I learn about seemingly ordinary people who do great things. Women, especially those of color, have often had to overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve success. So I find their contributions to be especially meaningful.

Bessie Coleman worked as a manicurist on Chicago’s South Side before she became the nation’s first female African American pilot. Wikicommons photo, 1922.

When I started, I had hoped to bring dozens of naming proposals to the CPD board as quickly as possible. But I also wanted to make sure that I did my homework. The CPD has a well-defined naming procedure in Chapter 7 of its official Code. To help guide this project, I developed a methodology specifying that, in addition to meeting the Code’s park-naming criteria, candidates should also have lived, worked, or performed community service within a three-mile radius of the proposed park site. I thought this would make the naming initiative more meaningful to residents of the surrounding communities, and decisions would be somewhat less arbitrary. (Appropriate sites for naming or renaming were identified beforehand.)

Lucy Parsons, 1920. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum, i12071.

In April of 2004, I proposed a group of parks to be renamed for nine significant Chicago women. This ambitious proposal called for parks honoring: radical labor leader Lucy Parsons architect Marion Mahony Griffin poet Harriet Monroe musicians Lillian Hardin Armstrong and Mahalia Jackson playwright Lorraine Hansberry social reformer Esther Saperstein physician Margaret Hie Ding Lin and scientist Chi Che Wang. Eventually, most of these important women would be honored with her own park. But, the procedure didn’t go as easily or as smoothly as I had hoped.

The CPD’s naming process involves substantial input from community members and political leaders. There were a variety of reasons that specific proposals did not move forward. The most controversial of the initial group was the proposed naming for Lucy Parsons, whom the Chicago Police had once described as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.” In 2004, the Fraternal Order of Police filed a letter of objection against naming a park for a “known anarchist,” implying that her husband Albert Parsons was responsible for deaths (including those of policemen) caused by a bomb thrown during the Haymarket protests of 1886. (That accusation was disproved long ago. Albert Parsons was hanged, and posthumously exonerated.)

Lucy Parsons Park. Photo by Julia Bachrach.

When I made the naming proposal, there was growing interest in Lucy Parsons’ importance to Chicago history. She helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, and was a prolific writer and advocate for labor and other social reforms. Artist Marjorie Woodruff had created a temporary artwork in Wicker Park called Spiral: The Life of Lucy E. Parsons in Chicago 1873-1942, and the City of Chicago had installed a tribute marker to Albert and Lucy Parsons in front of their home on N. Mohawk Street. A detailed entry on Lucy Parsons had also been published in the book Women Building Chicago 1790-1990, edited by Rima Schultz and Adele Hast. (This extremely well-documented and written book inspired a number of the park names that later moved forward.)

Mahalia Jackson. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum, i34969.

In May of 2004, the CPD Board made its first approvals to name parks for noteworthy Chicago women. But, only two of the proposed nine names were accepted: Lucy Parsons and Mahalia Jackson. Lucy Parsons Park is located at 4712 W. Belmont Avenue, about two miles west of the home where she lived for many years at the end of her life. (Interestingly, last year, the Chicago City Council dedicated an honorary Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Way at N. Kedzie and W. Schubert Avenues, even closer to her home.) Mahalia Jackson Park, at 8385 S. Bickhoff Avenue, lies only four blocks from the home she purchased at 8358 S. Indiana Avenue in 1956.

Left: Marion Mahony Griffin Park was dedicated in 2015 after several earlier failed attempts to name a park for her. Right: Boulder in Marion Mahony Griffin Park. Photo by Julia Bachrach.

Although the women’s naming project proved to be more difficult than I had expected, many friends, colleagues, community members, and civic leaders jumped on board. The CPD board remained committed, and over the years, there were many successes. As of 2017, more than 40 additional parks had been named or renamed for significant Chicago women. (As this is still less than 20% of all parks named for people, I hope the trend will continue!)

Leslie Recht at Exhibit Dedication in Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, September 14, 2017.

Another milestone last year was the dedication of new signage and an exhibit in Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens. This project was the brainchild of park activist Leslie Recht. I was honored to work with her, Jell Creative Inc., and several colleagues at the CPD on this project before I resigned last spring. (The installation was also made possible by Alderman Pat Dowell.)

Today, a new movement is afoot to create local monuments honoring women in Chicago history. Depending on how one counts, as of now, there are five outdoor public monuments to noteworthy women in our city’s history. These include the Cheney-Goode commemorative bench on the Midway Plaisance the Helping Hands monument to Jane Addams in Chicago Women’s Park Lincoln Park’s Fountain Girl, also known as the Frances Willard monument the Laura Liu sculpture in Ping Tom Park and a Gwendolyn Brooks installation in Gwendolyn Brooks Park. There is no doubt that Chicago also will soon have an Ida B. Wells Monument.

Gwendolyn Brooks Monument in her eponymous park. Photo by Julia Bachrach.

I hope you’ll join me at the Newberry Library to learn more about many fascinating women in history. Through this seminar, I hope that we can put our heads together and find new ways to increase awareness of Chicago’s great matriarchs.


The Case of Cases

The Hiss-Chambers case was the cause célèbre a half century ago. Now two books have appeared that bring it once more to our attention. A young biographer has spent seven years on a 638-page book going over the ground of Whittaker Chambers&rsquos own autobiography, Witness. A historian has put out a new edition, filling 622 pages, of his previous study of the case.

My impression is that today anyone under the age of fifty&mdashand certainly forty&mdashknows hardly anything about the case. Yet not so long ago the case stirred up the most agonizing conflict it separated friends and divided families. The reason for the difference today is the change in the country and the world. The Hiss-Chambers case turned on the threat of communism and was exacerbated by the element of espionage. That threat has evaporated the espionage is antiquated and it is necessary to use some historical imagination to see into the innards of the case.

Historically, the case came at a major turning point in American life. It had its start in the New Deal of the 1930s and came to a climax during the cold war of the late 1940s. Anyone who seeks to understand the struggles over the New Deal, communism, and the cold war can hardly avoid it. It brought to national attention a future president, Richard Nixon, who was then an obscure first-term congressman from California. One of the early anti-Communist prosecutions that helped to define the 1940s and 1950s, it gave Senator Joseph McCarthy encouragement for his first attack on the State Department. In no other case in this century has the cry arisen&mdashas from Hiss&rsquos supporters&mdashthat a high official was an American Dreyfus and had been politically framed. An American Dostoevsky&mdashhe was one of Chambers&rsquos favorite writers&mdashis necessary to extract the full drama and pathos of this story.

Above all, the Hiss-Chambers case set off a social as well as a political schism in American life, one that may still be with us in various forms. Most of &ldquothe educated, progressive middle class, especially in its upper reaches, rallied to the cause and person of Alger Hiss, confident of his perfect innocence, deeply stirred by the pathos of what they never doubted was the injustice being visited upon him,&rdquo wrote Lionel Trilling. &ldquoBy the same class Whittaker Chambers was regarded with loathing&mdashthe word is not too strong&mdashas one who had resolved, for some perverse reason, to destroy a former friend.&rdquo 1

Allen Weinstein notes that, during the Vietnam War, Hiss &ldquofound himself transformed from a symbol of deception into one of injured innocence,&rdquo and &ldquoin no segment of American society did Alger Hiss benefit personally more than among university audiences, faculty, and students.&rdquo Chambers himself scorned &ldquomost of the forces of enlightenment [which] were poohpoohing the Communist danger and calling every allusion to it a witch hunt.&rdquo Some members of the &ldquoeducated, progressive middle class,&rdquo such as Richard Rovere and James Wechsler, changed their initial views and came to be persuaded of Hiss&rsquos guilt and the authenticity of Chambers&rsquos testimony. But others, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Walter Lippmann, remained in Hiss&rsquos corner, even after his conviction. Weinstein himself tells us in Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case that he began by siding with Hiss and only after studying the record did he move over to agreeing with Chambers.

One reason for the social and political split was that Hiss gave himself protective coloration by making himself into nothing more than a representative of the New Deal. By the time Chambers&rsquos Witness came out in 1952, it was clear that Chambers was not only a repentant anti-Communist he was also a fierce antiliberal. The sides were thus confused. In fact, the case against Hiss was irrelevant to whether one was a conservative or a liberal, a Republican or a Democrat. He was found guilty of perjury&mdashthe proxy of espionage in the case&mdashbecause, whatever Hiss&rsquos political allegiances or Chambers&rsquos new intellectual infatuations, he had passed documents and papers to Chambers for the benefit of the Soviet Union. But the political and social implications could not be easily set aside. Hiss&rsquos guilt tarnished the memory of the New Deal and Roosevelt&rsquos liberal administration. For some, to be with Hiss was to remain faithful to the New Deal or even the Communists&rsquo Popular Front of the late 1930s, while to side with Chambers was to condone turning on a friend and to help usher in a period of reaction. Thus this case was about more than an ordinary&mdashor even an extraordinary&mdashcrime it was beset with political and social connotations and consequences that often overshadowed the legal issues on which Hiss was tried.

Sam Tanenhaus&rsquos book goes over the ground of Chambers&rsquos Witness but in a fully justified way. Chambers wrote from a purely personal point of view. He alluded to many other actors in the drama without being able to use their memoirs or other documentation. Tanenhaus had the ingenious idea of filling out what Chambers wrote by going to the memoirs, letters, papers, FBI interrogations, and testimony of all the others in the story. As a result, he rounds out Chambers&rsquos account from different angles, drawing on the accounts of many people who knew Chambers.

Allen Weinstein&rsquos new edition of Perjury, originally published in 1978, deals equally with Hiss and Chambers, and thus extends the scope of the treatment. It is almost obsessively concerned with every detail and nuance of the case, sometimes as if Weinstein were conducting another trial of Alger Hiss. Tanenhaus clearly sides with Chambers but mainly refrains from injecting himself into the story Weinstein does not hesitate to refute pro-Hiss arguments and allegations in the midst of his narrative. Nevertheless, his book is based on such close examination of the almost inexhaustible sources that it is indispensable in any consideration of the subject. It is a fine historical reconstruction and it almost defies imagining how much work went into it.

Both Tanenhaus and Weinstein use documents and reports never exploited by previous works on the subject. Weinstein has the advantage of using new material from the NKVD files in Russia, which he and a Russian collaborator intend to bring out in a subsequent volume. He also has new material from Hungary and Russia to bolster some particulars and has brought his concluding section up to date about more recent events. For those who did not get the old edition, the new one is a bonanza.

Immediately after Chambers identified Hiss as a secret Communist before the House Un-American Activities Committee in August 1948, Hiss said the issue &ldquois whether I am a member of the Communist Party or ever was.&rdquo But Hiss himself immediately moved away to a more factual issue: &ldquoIf I could see the man [Chambers] face to face, I would perhaps have some inkling as to whether he ever had known me personally.&rdquo 2

The point was not lost on Richard Nixon, then a first-term congressman and soon the most effective member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), which launched the case in August 1948 by asking Chambers to testify. &ldquoIn most cases we were in the almost impossible position of having to prove whether or not an individual had actually been a Communist,&rdquo he later wrote in his memoirs. &ldquoThis time, however, because of Hiss&rsquos categorical denials, we did not have to establish anything more complicated than whether the two men had known each other.&rdquo After Chambers was sued by Hiss for libel, at the end of September 1948, and before Chambers produced the hidden documents, films, and memos he had received from Hiss, Chambers said he had realized that &ldquothe issue had ceased almost completely to be whether Alger Hiss had been a Communist.&rdquo &ldquoThe whole strategy of the Hiss defense,&rdquo he writes in Witness, &ldquoconsisted in making Chambers a defendant in a trial of his past, real or imaginary, which was already being conducted as a public trial in the press and on the radio.&rdquo

As a result, the case turned on the exact relations between Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss. The sessions of HUAC and the two trials of Alger Hiss largely concerned themselves with matters of fact rather than the politics of their engagement. The books by Tanenhaus and Weinstein inevitably follow this pattern.

Did Hiss know Chambers by the name of &ldquoGeorge Crosley&rdquo or by that of &ldquoCarl&rdquo? Did Chambers and his family stay in a Hiss-leased apartment on P Street in Washington, D.C., without paying rent? Or did Chambers agree to pay rent for the apartment and never keep his part of the bargain? Did Hiss pay Communist Party dues to Chambers or did he make some small loans to Chambers? Did Hiss turn over an old Ford car to Chambers in connection with the apartment or did Hiss insist on giving it to &ldquosome poor organizer in the West or somewhere&rdquo? Did Chambers give Hiss a rug as a token of esteem by his Soviet superiors or was it a gift from Chambers in part payment for the apartment? Above all, were the copies of State Department memos taken out of the pumpkin by Chambers typed by Hiss&rsquos wife, Priscilla, on an old Woodstock typewriter once owned by the Hisses, or was some form of &ldquoforgery by typewriter&rdquo committed by Chambers or a government agency to implicate Hiss and enable the prosecution to produce the critical evidence tying Hiss to espionage for the Soviet Union?

Such were some of the key questions that occupied the prosecution and defense from May 1949 to January 1950. The first trial resulted in a hung jury of eight to four against Hiss. The second trial convicted Hiss of perjury for two alleged lies&mdashthat he had never given any government documents to Chambers and that he had not seen Chambers after January 1, 1937. (The statute of limitations for prosecution for espionage had expired.) The date was important because Chambers had produced sixty-five typewritten documents from Hiss dating from the early part of 1938. Hiss received a five-year sentence and served forty-four months for perjury.

One reason Hiss&rsquos supporters were not convinced by the trials was that Hiss afterward claimed to have found new evidence that impugned the government&rsquos case against him. The new evidence mainly turned on the old Woodstock typewriter on which Priscilla Hiss had allegedly typed the memos it was alleged by the defense that the prosecution had known that the typewriter was not Priscilla&rsquos but had been manufactured or forged to take its place, a claim that Weinstein dismisses in long critical analyses. Hiss tried to get a new trial but was turned down by a three-member Court of Appeals in 1983 and again failed in the Supreme Court later that year.

By this time, little more can be said about the factual issues I have mentioned. The books by Tanenhaus and Weinstein have wrung the facts of the case dry for anyone who wishes to reexamine the specific issues which preoccupied the hearings and trials.

But I found myself wondering about the political aspects of the case. Couldn&rsquot more be done to look into Hiss&rsquos original complaint that the only issue was whether he was or had been a Communist? I was also struck by the need to restudy Chambers&rsquos political development, especially the last phase, after his breakaway. For these purposes, it was necessary to go back to some of the old materials which contain bits and pieces of the political puzzles presented by Hiss.

Until after the Yalta Conference, Hiss&rsquos career had been one of steady advance. Born in Baltimore into a middle-class family which had seen better days, Hiss went to Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School served as clerk for Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and came to New York in 1932 at the bottom of the Depression. His credentials were ideal. The following year, Hiss went to Washington to serve on the legal staff of the newly formed Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), where he met friends from Harvard who were also starting out on their Washington careers and were soon recruited into a secret group of professionally ambitious Communists. From the AAA, Hiss went to the Nye Committee investigating the munitions industry, to the Solicitor General&rsquos office, and in 1936, to the State Department. He did not achieve real bureaucratic eminence until 1945, when he attended the Yalta Conference, and served as secretary general of the San Francisco Conference, where the United Nations was founded. In 1946, however, he was eased out of the State Department and accepted the presidency of the Carnegie Endowment by that time he was being shadowed by accusations that he had been&mdashor was&mdasha Communist. In effect, he was struck down at the very climax of his bureaucratic career.

The political sides which Hiss and Chambers now came to represent were paradoxical. Hiss, the model of a career bureaucrat, was cast as a secret revolutionary Chambers, whose past life was much more checkered, appeared as the defender of the existing order.

The incongruity of the two may have contributed to an inability to accept them for what they were. In ordinary life, Hiss was open, friendly, and courteous Chambers was brooding, furtive, and suspicious. For much of their lives, they seemed to belong in different social worlds. When Chambers confessed, he let everything out Hiss never confessed anything. Some who knew Hiss could not believe in his guilt. &ldquoI know Alger Hiss,&rdquo Walter Lippmann confidently asserted. &ldquoHe couldn&rsquot be guilty of treason.&rdquo

Hiss&rsquos strategy throughout the case was both his strength and his weakness. He not only denied that he had committed any espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union but maintained that he had had no sympathy whatsoever with communism. His strategy of absolutely denying all the charges against him made it necessary for his opponents to break through a blank wall of negation. If the wall could be breached at any point, his entire defense collapsed.

Hiss wrote two books about the case, but they tell little about his political development. In the second book, Recollections of a Life, he merely mentioned that he had begun his political life in the spring of 1933 and was &ldquoa stalwart New Dealer.&rdquo He says that he was never a Communist and, as far as one can tell from his pages, he did not even know Communists. Little more can be learned from him.

Chambers&rsquos story is just the opposite of Hiss&rsquos. Chambers says that he met Hiss in Washington in 1934, had later received Communist Party dues from him and, still later, State Department documents and memos for transmission to Soviet Russia. He had stayed at Hiss&rsquos home for days at a time, had lunch with him, and had known intimate details of his private life.

To go back to Hiss&rsquos original question&mdashWas he or had he been a Communist?&mdashI have brought together seven sources of information that bear on the subject. Some of them are old and some new, some directly and some indirectly pertinent.

  1. John Chabot Smith&rsquos book on Hiss of 1976 is the closest to an authorized biography. 3 Smith was the New York Herald-Tribune reporter who covered the two Hiss trials. They made him an advocate of Hiss&rsquos innocence, and he wrote his book with the assistance of Hiss.

Smith contributed a number of clues to Hiss&rsquos political development. Before coming to Washington, Hiss had been a member in New York of the International Juridical Association (IJA), for which he had written reports and analyses. The IJA was a small organization mainly made up of Communists and fellow travelers, and later put on the Justice Department&rsquos subversive list but to Smith they were just &ldquoyoung liberals.&rdquo Smith called Hiss not merely a stalwart but a &ldquoradical New Dealer.&rdquo Before coming to Washington, both Alger and his wife, Priscilla Hiss, had been interested in Socialism (according to Socialist Party records of the time, she had been a member). During the Spanish civil war, Hiss was tempted to join the International Brigade but had never taken the temptation very seriously. Hiss wanted to tell HUAC &ldquowhat a fine man he thought Lee Pressman was, but Marbury advised him against it.&rdquo Pressman, later the chief counsel of the CIO, had known Hiss at Harvard and was admittedly a Communist 4 William L. Marbury was one of Hiss&rsquos lawyers. In fact, Smith says, Marbury was later persuaded of Hiss&rsquos guilt.

All this casts doubt on Hiss&rsquos insistence that he had merely been a New Dealer and knew nothing of radical activities.

  1. Alger&rsquos son, Tony, a writer for The New Yorker, wrote a book about his father, whom he called, more familiarly, Al. My eye suddenly fell on one passage, in which Tony quotes Al:

Al was, in fact, &ldquointrigued&rdquo by Chambers, as he recalls. Why? Well, I hate to have to tell you this, because I personally find it a bit creepy, but the real reason, as Al admitted to me the other day, over and above Chambers&rsquo laying on the flattery about Al&rsquos job and his well-liked Renaissance Man conception, was that Al felt sympathy for Chambers. &ldquoI like people when they&rsquore in trouble,&rdquo Al said. &ldquoBecause they have to like you, and you can feel powerful by helping them. I love to visit people in the hospital.&rdquo And there you have it. 5

&ldquoIntrigued&rdquo by Chambers? It seems as if there was more to their relationship than merely the generosity of a more prosperous bureaucrat to an impecunious journalist. Alger Hiss had earlier claimed that he had known Chambers&mdashas &ldquoGeorge Crosley&rdquo&mdashas a casual acquaintance who had come to him in 1934 for information to write an article, when Hiss had been working at the so-called Nye Committee investigating the munitions industry. Hiss said that he had taken pity on Chambers&rsquos poverty and neediness and had lent him some money and the use of an apartment and a car. Hiss had rid himself of &ldquoCrosley&rdquo when he decided that he was never going to pay him back.

If Hiss felt so much &ldquosympathy for Chambers,&rdquo why did he make such a fuss about not being paid back a few dollars? Clearly he had known Chambers with some intimacy, had talked with him seriously, and enjoyed being with him. This was not the Chambers that Hiss presented in the hearings and trials.

  1. Of the members of the small Communist group assembled in Washington by Harold Ware, John Abt was the only one to write an autobiography. Ware, a Communist specializing in farm problems, came to Washington in 1933 to build up Communist membership among government workers. Abt went to Washington in October 1933 to serve as chief of the litigation section of the AAA. In June 1934, he was brought into the Communist Party by Ware. Abt later became the chief counsel of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers&rsquo Union, headed by Sidney Hillman, who was President Roosevelt&rsquos favorite union leader, and still later the general counsel of the Communist Party. In his autobiography, Abt gave this account of what his group in Washington did:

We mainly talked about our work in the various agencies where we were employed, what this indicated about the drift and policies of the Roosevelt administration. If there were developments we thought were particularly interesting or important, someone would be asked to draft a report to be given to Hal [Ware], who presumably passed it on to the national leadership in New York for its consideration in estimating the direction of the New Deal and what might be done to influence it.

Then Abt somewhat coyly admitted that these reports might have gone on to the Soviet Union:

On reflection, I would say it is conceivable that the commentary and analyses we provided to the national Party leadership may have reached the Soviets&mdashthere were regular exchanges of information with all the fraternal parties through the Communist International&mdashbut I can&rsquot imagine they would have been interested in what we had to say nor, had they been interested, that it could have been any use.

When Ware died in an auto accident in August 1935, his place was taken by a Hungarian Communist who used the name of J. Peters. Abt confirmed one of Chambers&rsquos points&mdashthat Peters had replaced Ware in charge of the group and had come to Washington from New York to meet with them about once a month.

Abt&rsquos sister, Marion Bachrach, also joined the party in 1934, and she worked for it for the rest of her life. Abt notes that she was friendly with Hiss during their Washington days. Abt also met Chambers in Washington &ldquoand found him somewhat odd.&rdquo Abt imagined him to be German, &ldquoperhaps a representative of the Communist International.&rdquo 6

In effect, Abt&rsquos book confirms some of Chambers&rsquos statements, and Abt&rsquos one specific reference to Hiss&mdashhis friendship with Marion Bachrach&mdashsuggests, at a minimum, that he would have known the group that she belonged to in Washington.

  1. Another member of this Communist group was Nathaniel Weyl, then a young economist in the AAA, fresh from the London School of Economics. He was a Communist before he went to Washington and was taken into Ware&rsquos group. He later said that Hiss was a member of the group and that Hiss, like the others, paid Party dues. &ldquoHe impressed me with his great firmness of conviction,&rdquo Weyl recalled. &ldquoHiss had a good mind. But I didn&rsquot think a very original one. Also an attractive personality. He was somewhat older than most of the rest&hellip. Pleasant but also aloof and withdrawn.&rdquo 7

It is difficult to believe that Weyl would have invented the presence of Hiss in the group originally organized by Ware.

  1. An observer of these events in Washington during the 1930s was Josephine Herbst, the novelist, and at that time the wife of John Herrmann, a struggling writer. Herrmann was a member of the Communist Party Herbst was not but was close to it. Early in 1934, Ware asked Herrmann to work with him in Washington, and Herbst came along.

Herbst frequently met with Chambers&mdashwhom she knew as &ldquoKarl&rdquo he sought her out, she said, mainly for literary conversations. She also knew that &ldquoHiss had been considered a prospective [Communist] contact during the period she was in Washington,&rdquo and Ware had talked to her about Hiss. Herbst was &ldquocritical of Hiss for his excessive denials of commitments which she believed ought to have been affirmed.&rdquo She wrote to a friend:

He should have boldly admitted to certain ideas now termed subversive but which were only honestly enlightened and leftish in the &rsquo30s. Instead he took too pure a stand, denied too much, admitted nothing&hellip. You suspect a man who denies everything and is a pinnacle of proper conduct&hellip. Admitting smaller things would have validated major denials. Any novelist could have told them that. 8

Herbst put her finger on the difficulty with Hiss&rsquos strategy of absolute denial. He denied so much that he prevented himself from appearing to be candid or even believable. Yet Herbst herself had not been entirely forthright in her statements. According to Weinstein, she told FBI agents that she knew nothing of espionage activities but had given a full account earlier of those activities to Hiss&rsquos lawyers. In any case, Herbst knew enough to doubt Hiss&rsquos denials and to know that he had attracted Ware&rsquos attention as a prospective member of his group.

  1. Hede Massing (originally Gumperz) was the former wife of Gerhard Eisler, who had served the Communist International in the United States in the 1930s. She had worked as a courier for a Soviet spy ring run out of Paris. She came to the United States in 1934 and met Alger Hiss at a small dinner party in the late summer or early fall of 1935 at the home of Noel Field, then also in the State Department. She wrote in her book, published in 1951, that she had engaged in the following conversation with Hiss:

Massing: I understand that you are trying to get Noel Field away from my organization into yours.

Hiss: So you are this famous girl who is trying to get Noel Field away from me. What is your apparatus, anyhow?

Massing: Now, Alger, you should know better than that. I would never ask you that kind of question.

Hiss: Well, we will see who is going to win.

Massing: You realize that you are competing with a woman, and women generally win in such a situation.

Hiss or Massing: Well, whoever is going to win, we are working for the same boss. 9

When I first read Massing&rsquos testimony, I wondered about her exact memory of a conversation with Hiss in 1935 which she first related to the FBI in 1948. Hiss and Massing later confronted each other, and Hiss denied ever having met her.

But now Weinstein has presented critical new information. In 1948, Noel Field was interrogated in Prague, when he applied for an extension of his Czech visa. According to Professor Karel Kaplan, a Czech historian and member of the Dubcek government&rsquos 1968 commission, which investigated the purge trials of the late Stalin period, Field named Alger Hiss as a fellow Communist agent in the State Department. Kaplan was also able to read the interrogations of Field by Hungarian security officials, during which Field said the same thing.

In 1992, a Hungarian historian, Maria Schmidt, examined the interrogations of Noel Field in Hungary after he was caught up in the East European purge trials of Communist leaders in the 1950s and landed in a Hungarian prison. 10 Schmidt, who wrote an article for The New Republic of November 8, 1993, about her findings but has not yet published her book on the post-World War II Eastern European purge trials, prepared a longer, unpublished paper on the subject, which was available to Weinstein. She found similar statements by Field, such as: &ldquoIn Fall 1935 Hiss at one point called me to undertake espionage for the Soviet Union&hellip. I informed him I was already doing such work.&rdquo Nevertheless, these statements of Field about Hiss were made to Czech and Hungarian officials under some duress, and in 1958 Field sent Hiss a letter in which he denied that Hiss had met Massing in his apartment in 1935.

But Weinstein and his Russian colleague then found in the NKVD archives a message by Massing of April 1936. It also concerned Noel Field, who told about his recent conversation with Alger Hiss. &ldquoAlger told him that he was a Communist and that he was connected with an organization working for the Soviet Union&rdquo and that he knew Field also &ldquohad certain connections.&rdquo Hiss wanted Field to talk to Laurence and Helen Duggan&mdashhe was a specialist in Latin American affairs at the State Department&mdashto &ldquogive him [Alger] access to them.&rdquo But Duggan &ldquobecame upset and frightened&rdquo and said that he needed time to make &ldquothat final step.&rdquo

In 1938, according to documents in the Soviet archives quoted by Weinstein, the Soviet controller in New York, Isaac Akhmerov, sent two messages to the NKVD in Moscow about incidents in which Hiss was involved. In one, Michael Straight&mdashwho has written a book about his role in a Soviet network&mdashworried Akhmerov by offering to recruit Hiss, whom Akhmerov wanted left alone. In another, Akhmerov discussed Hiss&rsquos status and wondered whether Hiss was still connected with Soviet Military Intelligence. Curiously, Akhmerov&rsquos messages to Moscow use the actual name of Hiss, although everyone else is given a code name.

Weinstein also cites a previous dispatch from another Soviet agent, Bazarov, which mentions a meeting between Massing and Hiss. Weinstein writes that Bazarov

complained about this unseemly socializing among active agents in an April 26, 1936, communication to his superiors in Moscow. Bazarov expressed special concern that, a few months earlier, Hedda Gumperz and Alger Hiss had apparently introduced themselves to one another in their capacity as Soviet operatives, as Hedda Gumperz Massing would testify a decade later. &ldquoI think, after this story,&rdquo Bazarov wrote, &ldquowe should not speed up the recruitment of &rsquo19&rsquo [Laurence Duggan&rsquos code name] and his wife. Evidently, [a] persistent Hiss will continue carrying on his initiative.&rdquo

These sources&mdashKaplan, Schmidt, the NKVD file&mdashseriously implicate Hiss, although much remains unclear about them. I would be happier if the new NKVD materials were not the monopoly of one author, enterprising though he was to get them, and if other American historians could evaluate them independently. Meanwhile, we must await the opening of the files of Soviet Military Intelligence, with which Chambers and apparently Hiss were connected, for a fuller insight into their operations.

  1. The so-called VENONA documents were released by the US government in 1995 and 1996. These documents were intercepted transmissions to Moscow from Soviet agents in the United States. One document, dated March 30, 1945, from the Soviet station chief in Washington, dealt with a &ldquochat&rdquo with one &ldquoALES.&rdquo He was said to have worked with Soviet Military Intelligence &ldquocontinuously since 1935&rdquo and to work &ldquoon obtaining military information only.&rdquo He was also said to have been &ldquothe leader of a small group&hellipfor the most part consisting of his relations.&rdquo In the last few years, the message explained, Ales did not produce State Department materials regularly, because they interested Soviet Military Intelligence &ldquovery little.&rdquo Ales and his entire group had recently been awarded Soviet decorations. After the Yalta Conference, Ales had gone to Moscow, where Ales &ldquogave to understand&rdquo that Soviet Foreign Minister Andrey Vyshinsky had expressed the Soviets&rsquo gratitude &ldquoat the behest&rdquo of Soviet Military Intelligence. 11

The editors of the VENONA documents added a footnote after the first appearance of ALES: &ldquoProbably Alger Hiss.&rdquo This is what made the telegram of March 30, 1945, so significant. Another VENONA document of September 28, 1943, from the Soviet vice-consul in New York, mentioned the name of Hiss (spelled out in the Latin alphabet): &ldquoThe NEIGHBOR [Soviet Military Intelligence] has reported that [one group of words unrecovered] from the State Department by the name of HISS&hellip.&rdquo But with nothing more to go on, it is impossible to say in what connection his name was used. 12 Nevertheless, it is again significant that a Soviet cable should have used the name Hiss in its Latin spelling.

Weinstein considers that the VENONA documents and the KGB archives, together with other indications, &ldquoare compelling in pointing toward Alger Hiss,&rdquo while Tanenhaus writes that Hiss was &ldquoimplicated&rdquo in the March 30, 1945, cable.

This cable is both important and frustrating. Only one thing is verifiable&mdashHiss had gone to Moscow after the Yalta Conference with Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius and two lesser US officials. We have no other information about Hiss&rsquos leadership of a small group made up for the most part of his relatives. We do not know whether Hiss and his group received Soviet decorations in Moscow or whether Vyshinski expressed Soviet gratitude to him. We do not know enough about the documents handed over by Hiss to say that he had at one point worked on obtaining &ldquomilitary information only&rdquo or that, for some years before 1945, he did not produce State Department documents regularly, because Soviet Military Intelligence was not highly interested in them.

In effect, we do not know enough to interpret some of the new Soviet material confidently. The March 30, 1945, cable is an example of allusions for which we had little preparation. It is only one of several sources of information, and it is best to wait for more information in order to decipher it fully.

Beginning in 1934, Hiss admittedly knew Abt, Pressman, and the others in the group brought together by Ware. Pressman and Abt were known to be Communists, and Abt even believes that Sidney Hillman and Philip Murray chose them as their lawyers precisely because they knew that they were Communists after all, eleven of the thirty-two national CIO unions were led by Communists. It is inconceivable that they should not have talked to Hiss about communism they were fast-talking, hard-driving types who were confident of the rightness of their cause. Yet Hiss told Weinstein that he had talked about communism only once in his years in the government&mdashwith Abe Fortas, then in the AAA, later a Supreme Court justice.

Hiss&rsquos behavior after his trials was not what one would expect from a man who said that he had been framed, and that he had been the victim of &ldquoforgery by typewriter.&rdquo Hiss claimed that &ldquoChambers was a pawn in the hands of others,&rdquo by which he meant Nixon and the FBI, who were &ldquomanipulating&rdquo Chambers. Hiss even accused half a dozen judges of deciding against him prejudicially. In effect, the political and judicial system had conspired against him. One would imagine that someone who had been politically and judicially framed would have cried to high heaven that he had been the victim of an insidious plot. Yet Hiss wrote two books which are so well-mannered that they disappointed his own supporters.

Why, of all the Communists in Washington, would Chambers have chosen to make Hiss his victim? &ldquoYears later,&rdquo Hiss wrote in his Recollections of a Life, &ldquoI learned that in the mid-1930s, when I knew him as Crosley, Chambers was a closet homosexual. I now believe my rebuff to him wounded him in a way I did not realize at the time. I think that the rebuff, coupled with his political paranoia, inspired his later machinations against me.&rdquo Chambers was also a &ldquopossessed man and a psychopath,&rdquo a character of &ldquoflimsy and inconsistent fantasies.&rdquo

But Hiss at the time did not have these thoughts. He apologized for having been taken in by Chambers: &ldquoMy gullibility was large indeed, and my willingness to believe astonishes me now.&rdquo It is hard to believe that Hiss would have been awakened to Chambers&rsquos homosexuality only by his subsequent discovery of it and not by any suggestions of it at the time, or that Hiss could have found &ldquogood company&rdquo in a psychopath and a fantasist.

In any case, one thing is clear about Hiss&rsquos political position: it could not have been what he said it was&mdashjust that of a &ldquostalwart New Dealer.&rdquo Enough evidence exists, apart from Chambers&rsquos own testimony, that he was a Communist and behaved like one, even to the extent of giving se-cret aid and comfort to the Soviet Union. In the 1930s, when Hiss made his choice, such allegiance to the Soviet Union was not at all strange. He differed from the other Washington Communists of his time chiefly in his loftier bureaucratic success and his determination to admit nothing and reveal nothing.

If the Military Intelligence files of the Soviet Union are ever opened, we may get to the absolute bottom of the Hiss case. As it is, some questions still persist about some of our information on Hiss&rsquos activities, but they are questions which should lead us to get more information, not to reject what we have.

This is the first part of a two-part article. The second part, on Whittaker Chambers, will appear in the next issue.


Marion Mahony Griffin Beach Park Dedicated

Sign informs visitors of park’s new name. Photograph by Julia Bachrach.

A few days before dedication ceremony: newly installed stone and plaque look good! Photograph by Julia Bachrach.

People start to gather early. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

The crowd builds, awaiting the ceremony. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

Alderman Joe Moore addressing the crowd. Julia Bachrach, Chicago Park District Prof. David Van Zanten, Northwestern University and Joan Pomeranc, AIA Chicago look on. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

Alderman Joe Moore. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Alderman Joe Moore. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Julia Bachrach. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Julia Bachrach at the podium. Person watching her is Prof. David Van Zanten, Northwestern University, who has published books and articles on MMG. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

Julia Bachrach. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Julia Bachrach. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Julia Bachrach. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Australian Consul General Michael Wood. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

Consul General Michael Wood. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

Ken Walchak (speaker and RP/WRHS President) shares joke with Joe Moore and Consul General Wood. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

A young attendee reads the plaque to the assembled guests. (She actually read out the wording of the plaque after it was unveiled.) Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

The dedication plaque. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

Boulder and Plaque. Photograph by Joan Pomaranc.

People waiting to tour the Emil Bach House, after the dedication. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.

After the dedication and tour, a little nosh on the lawn of Emil Bach House. Photograph by Stephanie Barto.


Watch the video: The SECRET to the BEST fried chicken youll ever have. Marions Kitchen #alwaysdelicious #athome (May 2022).