Tscherim Soobzokov

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Tscherim Soobzokov - if hat sends a man out knocking on strange...
if hat sends a man out knocking on strange doors in unfamiliar cities „ asking questions many people are afraid to answer? In a true account , R anted! A Search for Nazis in America," Howard Blum analyzes the impulse and the action . This is the second in an 11-part series excerpted from the new book . <r> mi o%w 4 nag^r^e* v«.t times b®*i <• SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS—Monday January 17 1 977 Page 11 A Hunters and hunted By HOWARD BLUM Harold Goldberg, as we shall call him, had been a New York City police detective for 22 years, and now that he was retired retired and working for the Social Social Security Administration in Maryland, he made a hobby of maintaining files on certain subjects that interested him. Investigation was just an old talent he played with at night instead of watching television; like a former athlete he assembled the files as a workout, a mental exercise to prevent flab. Until the arrival of the letter that sent him out knocking on strange doors in an unfamiliar city, asking questions many people were afraid to answer: material for a very special file. The top sheet of this particular file was a clipping from The Paterson News, a New Jersey newspaper. It. read in part: Ale likes the Stars and Stripes and has helped others do the same ' “Tscherim ‘Tom’ Soobzokov of 704 14th Ave., presented with a framed citation by Michael Ardis, president of Teamster Local 945, ‘for the outstanding outstanding job he had done in aiding displaced persons forced out of their native country to find a new life and democracy in America.’ “Soobzokov, a Russian by birth, escaped from the Soviet Union after World War II and lived in Jordan before coming to this country in 1955. . “Harry Schoen. counsel for the Democratic Party in Passaic County, said that many testimonials were phony, ‘but this one is sincere for Tom is truly deserving. He likes the. Stars and Stripes and has helped others to do the same. . .’ “The citation reads: *. . . Be it therefore resolved, that Tscherim Soobzokov is herewith bestowed the citation of Local 945, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, as a distinguished distinguished servant of all man kind. . Harold Goldberg had read this news item hundreds of times in the last three years. forXazIsin W A mirici»« He knew the truth: This “distinguished “distinguished servant of all mankind” had served as an Obersturmfuehrer in the Waffen-SS, the equivalent of a first lieutenant in a Nazi mobile killing unit that had participated in the murder of 1,400,000 Jews on the Eastern Eastern Front. Yet after three years of building his case against Soobzokov, Goldberg had also discovereil that, no one was interested. The U.S. attorney for New Jersey had promised an investigation; three years later his office was atill investigating. investigating. So was the Immigration Service. And Goldberg’s boss at Social Security, Security, who had originally initiated the matter, became less enthusiastic when an angry member of Congress arrived at Social Security headquarters headquarters in Maryland demanding that the case be closed. In a fix Harold Goldberg had been a New York cop for too long not to realize when the fix was in. He took a day off from work and drove into New York City to see a man named Tony DeVito he’d been reading about, the man who had forced into being the extradition trial of Queens' housewife Herminc Braunsteiner Ryan, accused onetime concentration-camp supervisor. Goldberg met DeVito, during a recess recess in the Ryan trial, in a cubicle on the 9th floor of the Immigration Service Service building. DeVito listened to Goldberg’s accusations accusations and then excused himself. He left the room and took an elevator elevator to the office where he kept his personal files. Quickly thumbing through the many folders, he stopped at the list with 59 names, the secret list that had been given him of 59 Nazi war criminals criminals in America. Near the end of the second page was the name “Soobzokov, Tscherim.'' Tscherim.'' DeVito hid his file and returned to the cubicle on the ninth floor. Planning effort cuts Mexico’s birth rate NfW YORK TIMES SERVICE MEXICO CITY - After just three years’ operation, the official official family planning program has already succeeded in significantly significantly reducing Mexico’s population growth rate. The birth rate is still one of the world’s highest, but officials, doctors and demographers have all been surprised by the receptivity of women to the program in this largely Roman Catholic and male-dominated society. President Jose Lopez Portillo, who took office last month, is reported a strong believer in the need for family planning and has endorsed the program. Demographic statistics are unreliable unreliable because births and deaths in rural areas are frequently not reported. But the traditionally accepted accepted figure for annual growth rate was 3.5 per cent, with the current population estimated at 63 million. Before the program began in December 1973, only middle and upper upper class women, comprising perhaps perhaps 3 per cent of the women of fertile age, were using contraceptive methods through family doctors or private clinics. By adding family planning service to government hospitals and health clinics, Mexico has given poorer women access to birth control. A study by El Colegio de Mexico, a research institute, said 2.2 million women were now planning their families and the growth rate had dropped to 3.2 per cent. If this progress were maintained, the rate could drop to 2.5 per cent by 1982, the study concluded. The Health Ministry endorsed these conclusions, reporting that 2 3 million women were registered as using birth control and that the growth rate was 3.0 to 3.2 per cent. Problems remain Judging by the initial success of the program, the introduction of family planning could mean that the population in the year 2000 may be about 115 million instead of the current forecast of 130 million. At present, family planning is benefiting benefiting mainly urban women between the ages of 35 and 49 who have already already had several children and have .turned to birth control in desperation. “Jesus Christ, Harold,” yelled DeVito. DeVito. “Thi^ case is made to order.” Suayip Kardan’s legacy to his wife and two sons in Paterson, N.J. was the furniture that filled their apartment apartment and a pile of bills. Nothing in Suayip Kardan’s life had been so expensive expensive as his dying. The hospital bill, including two emergency operations, had come to f$21.362.19. An anesthesiologist wanted wanted $1,400 Other physicians’ foes totaled $425. And the funeral had cost $775. Suayip Kardan’s widow' now' had debts of $23,962.19 and no prospects of paying. Except Emin, the elder son, thought there might be a w'ay. About a year earlier Emin had accompanied accompanied his father on a business visit to see this man because Suayip Kardan was not receiving his entire Social Security benefits; it was well known to the Paterson Circassians, immigrants from Southern Russia, that if there were any questions about the intracacies of any level of the government, this was the man to see. He would I k ? glad to handle all So- AJe learned the American American way very , very fa»t' __________________ cial Security problems. For a fee. Emin listened as a deal was made ’with this man. His father agreed, filling out the required forms and paying $500 before leaving. But nothing was done. Harden never received any responses to the papers he had filed. Then, within the year. Suayip Kardan Kardan was dead and there were almost $24,000 in debts. Emin thought that if he could collect collect the Social Security money that was rightfully due his father, the family family could begin to pay its bills. This time Emin decided to avoid the Circassian with the government connections. Instead he went to Dr. Jawadd Idriss, their family physician, a man of some standing in the Circassian community. In fact a man who had been feuding for the leadership of that community. Tribal leader Idriss took Emin to the Social Security Security office in downtown Paterson and demanded to see Suayip Kardan’s Kardan’s file. He had a suspicion which, if true, .would explain everything. When the file came, Idriss realized his suspicion had been justified. The Kardan’s mailing address for all benefits had been crossed out and a new address had been written in: 704 14th Avenue, Paterson. The address belonged to the one man in Paterson who had the audacity audacity to think that he, not Idriss should be the leader of the tribe — Tscherim Soobzokov. Car wash Before he arrived in the United States on the S.S. Saturnia on June 28, 1955, Tscherim Soobzokov had probably never even beard of the Democratic party. Like most of the Circassians on board from Amman, Jordan, his voyage was paid for and sponsored by the Tolstoy Foundation, a White Russian philanthropic organization committed to the resettlement of the 1,200 Circassians in Jordan, “Sturdy, ardent anti-Communists,’’ anti-Communists,’’ the Foundation bulletin promised, promised, “people of integrity, imagination imagination and independence." Soobzokov’s first job was in a car wash for 90 cents an hour. Two years later he began working as a machinery operator in the local Colorite Plastics plant just as the Teamsters were trying to unionize its workers. Here was a volatile situation, and Soobzokov approached the Teamsters with a proposal: He would convince newly arrived Circassians to become dues-paying union men If the Teamsters Teamsters would guarantee them jobs. Union activities While most of the immigrants remained remained confused by life in New Jersey Jersey and spoke little English, Soobzo­ kov bad already smoothly managed to cement deals and connections. “Let's shake on it,” Soobzokov would say with bis quick, broad smile. Or be would nod in agreement and offer a friendly “Okee-doo-kee.” He wanted very much to seem like an American. A friend remembers Soobzokov’s “coming around the Circassian families families on the night before a union election. If a family wasn't in. he would come back at twelve, one o’clock at night. If they were asleep or they didn't answer the door, Soobzokov would throw rocks at their windows until they would come downstairs and talk.” Vote deliverer The Paterson Democrats, an organization organization with eyes — and hands — everywhere, became quickly aware of Soobzokov’s recruitment work for the Teamsters. He soon became knowTi in Paterson politics as “the man who could deliver deliver the Circassian vote.” Soobzokov’s name and picture began began appearing in the local newspapers. . In 1965 be was appointed a county purchasing inspector, ij $20,000-a-year job, after his predecessor predecessor had been indicted, but — as is the wav in Passaic County — escaped conviction In 1968 he was named to a five-year term on the Paterson Zoning Board of Adjustment The following year he was selected by Rep. Charles Joelson to head the congressman’s New Americans program. program. Every Circassian in the area received received a letter written by Joelson on House of Representatives stationery, informing them that if they wanted anything done, Soobzokov was the man to see. Young look A/ter 20 years in Paterson, “Tom” Soobzokov bad certainly arrived. A “Circassian Carmine DeSapio” is the way one local Democrat described described him. A Republican friend says: “He’s a promoter. He learned the American way very, very fast. He didn't sit ar ound and wait for things to happen.’’ Both men meant their character) zatlons as praise. At 58 a man who managed to keep» in shape, Soobzokov looked years younger. He was quick to smile, facile with compliments, always noticing a now tic or a hair cut. His own hair had remained thick and glossy black, setting off artfully shaped “swinger” sideburns and a bushv black mous (ache under his long hawk nose. 11 is English w as remarkably fluent Ale didn't sit around and wait for things to happen ’ and colloquial. He now had five children, children, three born in Paterson Soobzokov appeared to be a true Paterson success story: from rags to double knits. Claims desk And so Soobzokov’s past might have remained forever past if Suayip Kardan had not died and Dr. Jaw ad Idriss had not written a letter to tin* Social Security’s Administration of Hearings and Appeals in Washington, urging an investigation into the Kardan Kardan affair Ibis letter was passed from dr partment to department until it landed in Baltimore on the desk of Harold Goldberg, claims investigu tor. For the past four years Harold Goldberg had fibs! papers and made sure old men were getting their allot allot ted $181 a month. They paid him well, gave him a title and a secretary to type his memos, memos, and he hated it He bated Maryland He had never before in his life sat behind a desk. This job made him feel unnaturally old. He had joined the police right after the Air Force. During the war he had been a pilot with the 94th Airborne, and be had been shot down and spent a rough year in a German POW camp. . He was proud of this war record. Jumped at chance So when the letter came to Ids desk alleging a Social Security payoff in Paterson, he jumped at the chance to investigate. It was not so much the ease that interested him, but the location — Paterson was only 16 miles from New York lie told his boss lie would spend three days in New Jersey cheeking the allegations. And ho told his wife that she should meet him for a weekend in New York. Goldberg interviewed Dr. Idriss and spent the rest of his time in Paterson Paterson questioning other members of the Circassian community. For two days he listened and took notes in a small black notebook, and then he called his wife and told her In* wouldn’t be going to New' York. . On Saturday morning he drove home to Maryland and spent the weekend working up a new file. Police revolver On Monday morning ho drove back to Paterson, but before he left lie did something lie had not done since lie retired. He took Ins police service revolver down from the closet in his study and strapped the holster around lus waist Then he drove off, armed, making only one stop along the way — the post office. He mailed a special delivery letter to Berlin As he headed for the turnpike and Paterson, he felt excited, nervous, happy. This was the way it used to be. Harold Goldberg was back on a ease. H ESDA Y: The rhosv. urn 111 I \ KB.'7.11 IN STOCK 1189 K,iN0tf ONLY HUNDREDS TO CHOOSE FROM: •PICTURES* PILLOWS «RUGS •NEEDLEPOINT • CREWEL •CROSS STITCH «MANY OTHERS • ALL TOP QUALITY FROM WORLD'S LEADING MANUFACTURERS.

Clipped from San Antonio Express17 Jan 1977, MonPage 11

San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas)17 Jan 1977, MonPage 11
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  • Tscherim Soobzokov

    aklostan – 24 Oct 2014

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