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Edward P. Gazur papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS352

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Edward P. Gazur Papers (1 Box, 1.5 linear feet) consist of a typed manuscript by Edward P. Gazur entitled, "Me and the KGB General: The Secret Odyssey of KGB Master Spy Alexander Orlov." The manuscript is divided into 27 chapters, and also includes introductory material, a prologue, a postcript, and what Gazur calls a "Basic Intelligence Primer," containing a brief history of Russian intelligence operations and common terms used by agents. The manuscript was written between 1999 and 2001, and published in 2002 by Carroll & Graf Publishers under the title, "Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General."

From 1971 to 1973, FBI agent Edward Gazur conducted a series of interviews with three-star general Alexander Orlov, the highest-ranking Soviet officer to ever defect to the West. Through these interviews, Gazur became quite close to the Orlov family and learned the most intimate details of Orlov's remarkable experiences in Soviet intelligence operations. Twenty-six years after Orlov's death, Gazur decided to rectify the unflattering public opinion of his KGB friend by writing a more "accurate" portrayal of Orlov's life and work. Interweaving the author's experiences with Orlov and a detailed biography of the KGB General, the manuscript is arranged into roughly two sections. The first is Alexander Orlov's life as he defected to the West, moved his family to the United States, and hid from the KGB until 1953. The second part is written mainly in the first person--using Gazur as narrator--as the interviews commence and Gazur relates his story-swapping sessions with Orlov, frequently pausing to insert more historical information about the events Orlov discusses.

Significantly different from the final, published product, the manuscript of "Me and the KGB General" contains hand-written notations and corrections by the author. Both the manuscript of "Me and the KGB General" and its published counterpart, "Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General" provide readers with detailed accounts of the extraordinary life of Alexander Orlov, Soviet efforts in the Spanish Civil War, Stalin's Great Purge of the old Communist Party and NKVD officials, the Soviet machinations for and against Adolph Hitler, and the dangerous position all intelligence officals occupied under the Stalinist regime. Full of double-crossing spies, kidnapping, and murder, "Me and the KGB General" is also a window into Cold War America, and the fear of Soviet infiltration that pervaded both the government and the public.


  • 1999-2001

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Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

Edward Gazur was an FBI Special Agent assigned to gather intelligence on General Alexander Orlov, a former KGB official hiding in the United States. Born to parents who had immigrated in the 1920s to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia and Austria, Gazur served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and became a U.S. Treasury agent assigned to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigating criminal violations. During his FBI training, Gazur attended various universities part-time to obtain his law degree. His first FBI assignment was to the Boston field office in 1951, later transferring to Puerto Rico, Miami, and Cleveland, Ohio. Some of his work included the investigations of newly Communist Cuba and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy before he was assigned, "by default," to investigate General Alexander Orlov, who had resurfaced in 1953. After Orlov's death, Gazur became the executor of his estate.

Alexander Orlov (1895-1973) was a high-ranking KGB officer who served as economic director and foreign diplomat for Joseph Stalin's secret police (the NKVD) before he broke with Stalin in 1938 and moved his family to the United States. Born to Jewish parents on August 21, 1895 near Minsk, Orlov was drafted into the Russian Army in 1916. The Stalinist government first took notice of Orlov after he completed a series of successful operations in guerrilla warfare and counterintelligence on the Polish front in World War I. He married Maria Rozentskiy, a native of Kiev, in 1921, and their only child, Vera, was born in September of 1923. Back in Moscow, General Orlov took over the government's Foreign Department as Chief of Economic Intelligence and State Control. He traveled frequently as Stalin's representative (and spy) during the 1930's, staying in Berlin, Paris, New York, Prague, and Vienna. Finally, Orlov was sent to Spain in 1936 as the Soviet liaison to the civil war Republican Government for matters of intelligence and guerrilla warfare. It was there that Orlov aided Stalin in a multitude of crimes, including the theft of over $600 million in gold from the fledgling Spanish republic. Orlov's growing moral revulsion to Stalin's terror tactics, summary executions, and secret trials, however, provoked a break with the Soviet governmnet in July of 1938. Living on stolen Soviet operational funds, General Orlov and his family fled to Canada, and from there, entered the United States. Thanks to a lengthy blackmail letter to Stalin and a series of kindnesses from U.S. officials, the Orlovs were able to stay safely hidden in a number of cities--with only a few run-ins with the KGB--until General Orlov died on April 7, 1973 in Cleveland, Ohio. He wrote two books: "The Secret History of Stalin's Crimes" (1954) and "The Handbook of Intelligence and Guerrilla Warfare" (1963).

(Source: Edward Gazur, "Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General" (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2002)).


1 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger Record Storage box)

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Edward P. Gazur papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057