Samuel Krafsur

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This article is part of the
Venona
series.

Secret apparatus
Abraham Lincoln Brigade
TASS

Samuel Simon Krafsur (January 10, 1913[1] – June 1983) was a Boston-born journalist who worked for the Soviet news agency TASS during World War II. He was also known as Bill Krafsur.[2]

Krafsur was mentioned in the Venona intercepts under the codename IDE. He was used by the KGB during the war as a source of information and for recruiting journalists as informants and agents, and is referred to in the NSA archives as a "KGB agent".[3][4]

Contents

Family

Krafsur was born to Jacob and Selia Krafsur on January 10, 1913 in Boston, Massachusetts. His father had been married previously and was left a widower before marrying Selia. The family name was originally Krapin. His father was working as a tailor in Boston in 1930. His father was born in Poland and his mother in Russia; they were ethnic Jews who spoke Yiddish.

Early career

In 1934, Krafsur joined the Communist Party of America.[5] He attended Northeastern University for a year.[6] Before going to Spain to fight with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War,[7]he lived at 68 Phillips Street in Boston. Krafsur was wounded in Spain in 1937 and returned to the States. That same year he married Dixie Elizabeth Scoville in Vermont.[8]

In 1938 Krafsur was a member of the editorial staff of The Volunteers for Liberty a newspaper which was an, "organ of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade" organization out of 125 West 45 Street in New York City.[9] In April of 1938 he was in charge of finding veterans to tell their war sotries to be made into radio plays written by Irwin Shaw.[10]

He began working for TASS in New York in 1941[11] after being recruited by the Soviet agent Vladimir Pravdin. Krafsur spent he Summer of 1941 working in New York and was sent down to Washington, D.C. in October of that year. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, he was located in Washington perminently.[12]

Krafsur was considered an important asset to the KGB because of the many contacts he had with other newsmen. He was the deputy TASS bureau chief in Washington, D.C. and the FBI spent a lot of time and effort trying to identify who he was under his codename IDE.[13]

In May 1944, he was described in a KGB cable from New York to Moscow as, "absolutely devoted to the USSR." He provided at least twenty leads of people for possible recruitment including Joseph Berger, a personal aide to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and I. F. Stone.[14]

On August 17, 1944, Krafsur attended an off-the-record press conference in which Secretary of State Cordell Hull made an off-the-record remark concerning the Soviet Union. Krafsur reported the comment to the NKVD.[15]

Although Krafsur is suppose to have left TASS in October 1949,[16] he was mentioned in a newspaper article of November 26, 1949 as S.S. Krafsur as having press credentials along with five others out of the Washington office.[17]

Later life

In the 1950’s Krafsur lived at 6423 Dahlonega Road, Washington 16, D. C. and worked in Rockville at the Rockville Toy Craft.[18] On February 24, 1956 Krafsur testified before a Senate sub-committee.[19]

According to his son, Elliot Scoville Krafsur, "S. S. Krafsur was 'uncooperative' with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956 because they only wanted him to name publicly people he might have thought were communists or communist supporters."[20] Krafsur resigned from his toy job on the Saturday before his testimony on April 17, 1956, when he was invited to testify under oath for Subcommittee To Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws. Krafsur took the Fifth when asked if he had ever used another name or belonged to the Communist Party. He did state that after December 1940 and while working for TASS he was not a member of the Communist Party. Apart from the questions relating to his being a Communist he answered all the questions put to him and was far from being uncooperative, at least at this meeting, as his son suggested. He was asked no questions as to who he believed was or was not a party member.[21]

In the early 1960's he married the ex-wife of the secretary-treasurer of the Mine, Mill, and Smelters Union. He died, at the age of seventy, in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1983.[22]

Venona

Samuel Krafsur is referenced in the following Venona project decryptions:

  • KGB Agent Samuel Krafsur reports on potential recruits.
705 KGB New York to Moscow, 17 May 1944
  • KGB reports on two journalists.
734 KGB New York to Moscow, 21 May 1944
  • Identity of "IDE" and recommendation of his friend Joseph Berger.
738 KGB New York to Moscow, 23 May 1944
  • KGB Agent Samuel Krafsur's wife.
789 KGB New York to Moscow, 1 June 1944
  • US Diplomatic Policy.
847B, 848 KGB New York to Moscow, 15 June 1944, p.1
847B, 848 KGB New York to Moscow, 15 June 1944, p.2
847B, 848 KGB New York to Moscow, 15 June 1944, p.3
847B, 848 KGB New York to Moscow, 15 June 1944, p.4
  • KGB agent Sammuel Krafsur receives information.
998 KGB New York to Moscow, 15 July 1944, p.1
998 KGB New York to Moscow, 15 July 1944, p.2
  • Report of Secretary of State Cordell Hull's informal views.
1178 KGB New York to Moscow, 17 August 1944, p.1
1178 KGB New York to Moscow, 17 August 1944, p.2
1291 KGB New York to Moscow, 9 September 1944, p.1
1291 KGB New York to Moscow, 9 September 1944, p.2
  • Interest in recruiting I. F. Stone and in deal in Chile.
1313 KGB New York to Moscow, 13 September 1944, p.1
1313 KGB New York to Moscow, 13 September 1944, p.2
  • Resend of newspapers' views of correspondents on pending Roosevelt and Churchill meeting.
1312 KGB New York to Moscow, 14 September 1944, p.1
1312 KGB New York to Moscow, 14 September 1944, p.2
1312 KGB New York to Moscow, 14 September 1944, p.3
1433, 1435 New York to Moscow, 10 October 1944, p.1
1433, 1435 New York to Moscow, 10 October 1944, p.2
1433, 1435 New York to Moscow, 10 October 1944, p.3
  • I. F. Stone' reluctance to help KGB as he fears FBI.
1506 KGB New York to Moscow, 23 October 1944, p.1
1506 KGB New York to Moscow, 23 October 1944, p.2
1535, 1537, 1538 KGB New York to Moscow, 28 October 1944
  • Joseph Berger is assessed by KGB agent Samuel Krafsur.
777–779 KGB New York to Moscow, 25 May 1945, p.1
777–779 KGB New York to Moscow, 25 May 1945, p.2
777–779 KGB New York to Moscow, 25 May 1945, p.3

References

  1. U. S. Social Security Death Index
  2. The Volunteer For Liberty, Vol. 1, No. 3, April, 1938
  3. National Security Agency Archives[1], National Cryptological Museum, [2] Custodian of documents for the Army Signals Intelligence Corp.
  4. [3]
  5. The Venona Secrets: Exposing America's Cold War Traitors, Herbert Romerstein, Eric Breindel, page 430
  6. Venona: Decoding Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Yale University Press, (1999), pgs. 242–244, 248.
  7. Jews Who Served in the Spanish Civil War, by Martin Sugarman
  8. GeneaLinks, Online Marriage Records for Your Genealogy
  9. The Volunteer For Liberty, Vol. 1, No. 3, April, 1938
  10. The Volunteer For Liberty, Vol. 1, No. 3, April, 1938
  11. Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States: Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, 84th Congress Second Session [85th Congress First Session] Transcript, April 17, 1956
  12. Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States: Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, 84th Congress Second Session [85th Congress First Session] Transcript, April 17, 1956
  13. Venona: Decoding Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Yale University Press, (1999), pgs. 242–244, 248.
  14. Venona: Decoding Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Yale University Press, (1999), pgs. 242–244, 248.
  15. The Venona Secrets: Exposing America's Cold War Traitors, Herbert Romerstein, Eric Breindel, page 430
  16. Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States: Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, 84th Congress Second Session [5th Congress First Session] Transcript, April 17, 1956
  17. The Evening Standard, "Monty Has Private Bodyguard for His Beret," George Dixon, page 10.
  18. Venona: Decoding Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Yale University Press, (1999), pgs. 242–244, 248.
  19. Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States: Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, 84th Congress Second Session [85th Congress First Session] Transcript, April 17, 1956
  20. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Samuel_Krafsur Elliot Scoville Krafsur, August 31, 2005
  21. Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States: Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, 84th Congress Second Session [85th Congress First Session] Transcript, April 17, 1956
  22. U. S. Social Security Death Index

Sources

  • Venona: Decoding Espionage in America, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Yale University Press, (1999), pgs. 242–244, 248. ISBN 0-300-07150-7
  • Mortal Crimes - The Greatest Theft in History: Soviet Penetration of the Manhattan Project, Nigel West, Enigma Books, (2004).

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