July 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Execution of Alexander Karpov

Part 10

(Continued from last week)

From Lance Ackerfeld I received a suggestion to contact Bill Leibner in Israel saying that he “may be able to put you in the right direction.” Well I did correspond with him back and forth several times, but not too surprising, he could not help with Alexander either. He seemed to be more interested in arguing with me about the facts of Dorothy’s mother and family’s travails in Russia during the war. When I finally told him I was not interested in anything but Alexander, the correspondence ended.

Six months passed since I wrote to the Office of State Security in Belarus. The letter was sent registered with return receipt requested. The post office never returned the receipt to us. I took that as an indication that the government office there had no intention of replying. I therefore consider that another dead end.

I have one more happening to tell you, and that started and ended in a day. I decided, as a last act, to call the Consulate General of Belarus in New York and then their embassy in Washington. What happened is so interesting, since we are now in the 21st century and not anymore in the 1930s or ’40s, in Stalin’s time.

I called the consulate and asked for someone who speaks English. In response I was asked whether I speak Russian. (If I spoke Russian why would I ask for someone who speaks English?) In reply I get a recording telling me to call the embassy in Washington. Amazingly, it seems the consulate in New York has no one who speaks English. Since I was going to call Washington anyhow, it did not matter.

I called the embassy. After about eight tries getting a busy signal, finally a lady picked up the phone. I told her I had written a letter to Brest in Belarus in January and had received no reply. She asked me who the letter was addressed to, and I replied that it was sent to the office of the state security committee. She replied “Hold” and that was the last human voice I would hear. After holding on for almost five minutes, I was disconnected. I called back (with automatic call back, it is easy) and after a few rings someone picked up and then immediately hung up without saying anything. I repeated this game several times with the same result. I then waited 30 minutes and called back. The phone rang about 20-30 times and nobody picked up until I got a disconnect from the phone company. I did that one more time with the same result. I then sent an email to the embassy asking them to contact me with a reply and also giving my phone number.

Well, this world is not without miracles. Two hours after that email, I received a phone call from a Mr. Likita in the consular service of the embassy. After explaining everything, he asked me to send him a copy of the letter, but adding that he could not promise that he could do what I had asked, namely, to communicate with Brest and find out why I was not receiving a response to my letter.

I received an email from Mr. Likita giving me two links that I should try. The first link was completely in Russian (and my computer says it cannot be translated) so that was no help. The second link was in English and gave me a number of email addresses that I could write to. I wrote to four of the addresses, this time with a simple request for help to find the burial place of Alexander. The emails went to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the Archives & Records Management Journal, the State Archives of the Brest Region and the Zonal State Archives in Baranovichi.

I really did not expect any response from the four, particularly since they were in English. To my complete surprise I received a reply from all of them, in Russian, naturally. But thanks to Google that was no problem. The first two responses just referred me for further information to the other two. The third just said they have no information, but the fourth one told me that they needed a letter in Russian with documentary evidence enclosed showing the relationship between the sender (Dorothy)and Alexander. All the enclosures would have to be translated into Russian and would have to be notarized.

(To be continued next week)


Norbert Strauss is a Teaneck resident and Englewood Hospital volunteer.

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