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Transcriptions of MI5 / MI6 Case File Intelligence Records on the Covert Soviet NKVD Organisation Known as  Wostwag.

PRO Research by Nigel Linsan Colley (Oct 2005 - January 2007)


Wostwag was a very commercially successful trading cover for the Soviet secret services' operations across the world in the 1920s and 1930s, acting as a cover for many illegal 'Rezident' agents and providing funds for local Communist parties. Its connection with the NKVD was brought to Western security agency's notice in the late 1920s by  NKVD defector, Walter Krivitsky.

Originating in Germany in 1924; after the accession to power of Hitler, to avoid 'Nazification' and undue interest into its affairs, its international branch offices became autonomous creating a very complicated structure of separate companies.

Out in China, Wostwag had a sole monopoly of trade with Urga in Outer Mongolia, with 50% of its profits going straight to the Moscow State bank, Its operations concentrated on the fur business - in 1936, its General Manager Adam Purpiss, who had sole power of attorney over the company's finances banked over $900,000 in the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York. Evidence shows some of these funds were used for purchasing aeroplanes from America and Holland for Outer Mongolia - but the Chase believed that Purpiss was and a former member of the Cheka and also "one of the shrewdest and cleverest men the Far East".. Purpiss also travelled under a fake Honduran passport.

Wostwag were notably alleged by the Chinese police "to have imported arms and ammunition for the Chinese Communists and to have acted as their bankers”.

The following information comes from British Public Records Office files KV2 /1902 & KV2/1655 publicly released in 2004 & 2005.

[Transcription notes – the original copies are in some places very blurred, especially in so far as deciphering individual spelling on persons names and “?” marks are used appropriately. E&OE. Also, if you choose to use the PRO information elsewhere please courteously cite as your source of transcription. Finally, this information is offered and provided FOC in the hope of if you are able to contribute any information in return, then you will do so, so as to aid my personal quest into further researching the murder of Gareth Jones

(For background info into the tie-up with Adam Purpis & Wostwag with Gareth's murder, please see Chapter 1 of M.S. Colley's book: 'Gareth Jones - A Manchukuo Incident' - CLICK HERE -

For the salient 34-year MI6 case file on the covert Soviet activities of Gareth's co-captive, the German journalist Dr Herbert Mueller, who invited Gareth on his last fateful journey provided courtesy of Wostwag, and who was was released unharmed after two days in captivity CLICK HERE.)

FYI – references to my original JPG photos are accompanied by thumbnails to medium resolution pictures of the original documents. - A zipped file of all photos below is available on request as well as individual high resolution  images

– Thank you in advance for any constructive criticism and feedback, Nigel Colley (direct email: nigel 'at' –- January 2007.]

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Original in PF45633 WOSTWAG



In 1922 or1923 (legal papers suggest the date of incorporation was 24th October 1923) the firm WOSTWAG was established in Berlin as an import-export agency. It initially enjoyed a privileged position as an important agency for Soviet-German trade in German, maintaining close connections with the Soviet Trade Delegation in Berlin, although its business activities extended to other European and more particularly to certain Far Eastern countries as well.

KRIVITSKY disclosed that WOSTWAG was in fact created by the 4th (Intelligence) Department of the Red Army General Staff in order to provide cover for a “large number” of 4th Department agents. At the same time profits from its transactions were retained by the 4th Department to augment the Department’s espionage and internal disruption grants. An independent source also alleged in 1929 that certain of the firm’s supposedly financial transactions were in fact payments made by, or on behalf of, the Comintern. 

The subsequent careers of some of the persons originally connected with WOSTWAG in Germany, as revealed by the FBI report received in January 1949, suggest that WOSTWAG was in fact the first of a network of firms, whose establishment was probably encouraged by the 4th Department, and which was ultimately represented in the UK, France, the USA and the extreme Far East.

Unfortunately the vital details of espionage activities on the parts of the firm and persons concerned in the business network have not all come to light, but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence (particularly in the links with known Soviet Military Intelligence officers and “speculant agents”) to warrant all the companies and personnel mentioned in the following paragraphs being considered as having been consciously involved in 4th Department operations of some kind.

The whole issue is obscured by the large amount of genuine business conducted by the companies in question and by the undoubted business aptitude of most of the 4th Department men connected with the network. The following account is a digest of the 130 page FBI report made with a view to concentrating the essential facts of the case and explaining simply the connections between the companies and persons mentioned in it. A few additional details from other sources have also been included where they throw further light on the activities of the companies or their employees.

The whole case is still under investigation by the FBI in America.


a)      WOSTWAG, Germany.

KRIVITSKY stated that WOSTWAG was created by the 4th Department in Berlin about 1922 as cover for the espionage activities of large number of 4th Department agents and to provide funds for 4th Department work. It was set up by the brothers Aron and Abraham EHRENLIEB, both of whom…

[CIMG0288.JPG & CIMG0254.jpg]


may well heave been connected with the 4th Department or the Comintern. An independent source also stated in 1929 that WOSTWAG was connected with G.P.U. financial transactions in Europe.

The following were significant persons connected with WOSTWAG in Germany between 1923 and 1938 and provide the main links with the companies later formed in England, the United States and the Far East:-

(i)   Aron EHRENLIEB     - 1923 to 1925/6          Director.           4th Dept

                                                                              junior officer.

(ii)  Abraham EHRENLIEB 1923 to 1925/6          Director.           4th Dept

                                                                              junior officer.

(iii)  Uscher ZLOCZOWER  1923 to 1933 Director.           4th Dept

                                                                              Speculant officer.

(iv)  Adam PURPISS         1923 – 1936.               Manager in the Far East. 4th

                                                                              Dpt officer or agent and

                                                                              reportedly an “Agent of the


(v)    David ROSENBLIT   1923 to 1933.              Director.

(vi)  Joseph RUBER           1923 to 1936/7.           Held Power of Attorney for


(vii) Jacob KNOBIL          1923/4 to 1933.           Held Power of Attorney for


(viii)  Boris Niemcow          1923 to 1933 (1938?)  Book keeper.

(ix)    Ernst CZUCZA         1923 to 1933.              Manager.

(x)         Max ROTHSTEIN @ Max RONEY 1927/9 to 1936  Employee.

(xi)     Basilius BUCHHOLZ           - unspecified connection with WOSTWAG

                                                      Berlin prior to 1933.

It is of interest that all the above have at some time visited the USA (the EHRENLIEBs alone being refused admittance) while at least six of them are still there, having entered he country at the beginning of the 1939-45 war.

Of WOSTWAG’s capital stock in the CHASE NATIONAL BANK, 75% of the total of $100,000 was held by Alfred DEVINGTEL, of WOSTWAG in Germany, and 25% by Claude A. TUPPER of Chicago.

Branches of WOSTWAG were also developed in the Far East. See paragraph (h).


This firm was established in Paris some time after 1930 by the Soviet 4th Department agent, Jacob KIRCHENSTEIN @Frank KLEGES, who was trained for this purpose by the R.I.S. officers Nicholas DOZENBERG and Albert FEIERABEND. It was active until at least October 1937. During this period KLEGES is believed to have been in charge of Soviet Intelligence in France.

Payments made by SOCIETE to WOSTWAG are reflected in the accounts of the FAR EASTERN FUR TRADING COMPANY of London. Usher ZLOCZOWER and Rubin GLUCKSMANN, both of F.E.F.T.C., London balanced the books of the SOCIETE in 1937. KLEGES sent $150,000 to Adam PURPISS in late 1936 to establish the ORIENTAL TRADING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, New York.




By 1931, Wostwag, Germany, had established branches in Urga, (Outer Mongolia), Harbin, (Manchuria), Kalgan (near Pekin, China), Hankow (China) and Tientsin and had bought over the ORIENTAL TRADING AND ENGINEERING COMPANY, Tientsin. These branches were mainly concerned with fur shipments to Europe from China and Mongolia.

In 1933 it was alleged that the R.I.S. agent, Albert FEIERABEND was in touch with the Tientsin branch of WOSTWAG.

The local manager in 1931 was Aron EHRENLIEB, who appears to have arrived in China in that year and to have stayed until 1937. In January 1937, THE CHASE NATIONAL BANK, Shanghai, stated that according to a confidential source large sums of money were from time to time remitted by WOSTWAG to the interior of China for purposes which were not clear. The bank stated that EHRENLIEB always refused to discuss the operations of the firm or to submit any figures.

Adam PURPISS appears to have directed the WOSTWAG organisation in China in about 1937. He stated that WOSTWAG and O.T.E.C., Far East were entirely separate, but the stockholders of each had certain interests in the other. This statement seems at variance with the fact that O.T.E.C., Far East was legally transferred to WOSTWAG in 1931. In 1937 the CHASE branch, Shanghai, commented that WOSTWAG branches in China had for a number of years been more of a Russian than German concern.



A} Basilius BUCHHOLZ

[Next pages not copied]

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PURPISS is believed to be of Latvian origin and to have been born on the 14th March 1883. During 1936 and 1938, however, he was travelling on a Honduran passport obtained in Paris, which has since been repudiated.

Originally, a member of the WOSTWAG organisation in Hamburg, he first came to notice in the Far East in 1936. By then he had, however, been in Tientsin for sometime with the ORIENTAL TRADING AND MERCHANDISING COMPANY.

He was a 4th Department agent according to KRIVITSKY.

PURPISS was General Manager of WOSTWAG in the Far East and of the ORIENTAL TRADING AND MERCHANDISING COMPANY, when the latter was a subsidiary of WOSTWAG, while he was General Manager of O.T.E.C., Far East, following its purchase by the New York company of the same name.

The CHASE NATIONAL BANK of Shanghai stated quoted local reports in 1937 to the effect that PURPISS was at one time associated with the Cheka and with the 3rd International according to one report mentioned by CHASE, he was a High Commissioner for the Soviet Province of Outer Mongolia. The bank also stated that there was a certain amount of mystery concerning PURPISS’ past connections.

In April 1937, PURPISS ran a private import-export company at Kalgan (near Peking) under his own name.



PURPISS made at least two visits to the UK, one in October 1936 and a second in October 1938. On both occasions he stated he was here on “Fur Business” and on the second is known to have contacted GLUCKSMANN of the F.E.F.T.C.


      Born 6th June, 1889, at Wonkowitch, Russia. Married 20th April  1912 in Vienna. Wife, Gabrielle, born 4th June 1884 in Vienna. Children Walter, born 21st September 1913, Eric, born 11th December 1920, entered USA from France on 6th September 1939. Stated last place of residence was Paris.

ROSENBLITT was a director of Wostwag in Berlin from about 1923 up to September 1933. In 1929 an S.I.S. report on the methods used by the Comintern for transferring funds to local Communist parties named Wostwag. Germany, as being concerned in these transfers and cited David ROSENBLITT as the company’s liaison man with the Comintern transfer committee.

He is now in the United States (1949), where until at least 1946 he was operating an import-export firm known as SOCOMBO

[CIMG2440 – Page 1 - illegible in places on RHS]


WOSTWAG and its Associates

  1. According to KRIVITSKY a firm of this name was created in Berlin by the Soviet Military Intelligence in 1922 to provide business cover for “a number of Fourth Department (i.e. S.M.I.) agents.” He also stated that two junior intelligence staff of  Aaron and Abraham EHRENLIEB (known as Sigmund and Antek JANKOVSKI) were put in charge of the organisation and espionage side of the firm.
  2. Our files show very little about this firm during the first year of its life, except that it was a limited liability company, possibly called West-Ostenropaische Warenaustausch Action Gesellschaft GMBH and registered in Berlin in November 1922, and that by May 1923 it had a contract with the Soviet Commissariat for Trade and Industry to supply cotton, wool and chemical products against a value of 2.4 million gold roubles. This later became a monopoly concession valid till 31 December 1929, to handle all German trade with Berlin.
  3. On 24th October 1923, a joint stock company, “West-Ostenropaische Warenaustausch, A.G., was formed with a capital of R.M.830,000 to take over the liabilities of the former limited company and was registered in Berlin on 2nd January 1924. The stock at the time was held by one Alfred DEVINGTEL (R.M. 620,000) and David ROSENBLITT (R.M.207,000). The latter an Austrian Jew of Russian origin, was an expert in the ‘casings’ side of the business who had recently arrived from Vienna (He is now in New York specialising in the ‘casing’ business). DEVINGTEL, originally Russian [becoming a] naturalised German in 1915, is probably the “Old Bolshevik, a Latvian and friend of General ?????”,who KRIVITSKY says was in charge of the ? side of Wostwag and its various branches (see appendix A). Other directors ? and ? were relatives of his.
  4. There was no information about the firm’s activities in 1924, but in 1925 or 1926 it came under the suspicion of the German Secret Police, and the EHRENLIEB brothers and other R.I.S staff were withdrawn and replaced by one Dr. Usher ZLOCZOMER, a “speculant agent”, whose commercial [specialty] was the General poultry trade. Like ROSENBLITT, who he had known in his [?] days there, he came from Vienna, and also like him was last heard of in New York, where he was in business as an egg and butter importer (see appendix).
  5.  Far East – In 1926 a subsidiary, “The Oriental Trading Co.” was


[CIMG2441] Contains :"In addition, “WOSTWAG” is also reported by the Chinese police to have imported arms and ammunition for the Chinese Communists and to have acted as their bankers”."

[To see a high resolution image click here.]


/founded at Tientsin by one of the then directors of “WOSTWAG BERLIN”, David HALTSGECHT ?, while Aaron EHRENLIEB is believed to have opened a depot in Turkey and possibly in China and possibly also in Roumania before going to China. Between 1926 and 1931 there was a rapid expansion in China, Manchuria and Mongolia, with further branches being established in Shanghai, Hankow and Harbin under the name of “The Far Eastern Trading Company” and in Urga (Ulan-Bator) the capital of Outer Mongolia, under the original name of “WOSTWAG”. A branch under the latter name at Kalgan (Wanchuan) acted apparently as a link and staging depot between the Chinese and the Mongolian offices. “WOSTWAG-URGA” developed close contacts with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Mongolian Soviet Republic with the “Harodni Ko-Operativ”, and the “Mongoltrans” (the state transportation company), and is believed to have enjoyed a communications concession in Outer Mongolia, valid till 1929. In that year KRONBERG (not yet identified), a Latvian, joined the Chinese firm, which was renamed “The Oriental Trading and Engineering Company”. Dr. ZLOCZOMER in 1930 took over the Tientsin branch from Aaron EHRENLIEB, and on 16th June 1931. “OSTWAG-BERLIN” became the overt proprietors.

6          All these branches were engaged in the import into China and Soviet territory of German manufactured good, particularly chemical product, machinery, cars and lorries; the purchase and export to Russia of Chinese tea, silk, etc.; and the export to Europe and America of Russian and Chinese furs, “casings”, bones and skin glue. The Hamburg branch was the chief European depot for these imports. Amongst their chemical interests, the firm held from October 1931 an exclusive concession in Mongolia and Manchuria for “The Continental Caoutchouc [rubber] Co. (compare “Le Roi de Caoutchouc” in the TREPPER  (“Rote Kapelle”) [Red Orchestra] case and see conclusion, B below). In addition, “WOSTWAG” is also reported by the Chinese police to have imported arms and ammunition for the Chinese Communists and to have acted as their bankers”. Apparently no money was handled at Urga, all business being on a barter basis, but large sums were sent to the interior from Shanghai.

[To see a high resolution image click here.]

7.         U.S.A. To facilitate these developments, an account was opened on 4th September 1931 with the London office of “CHASE Bank of New York”. This account was later transferred to the H.O. of the Bank in New York and monies were transferred via New York from the Far East to Berlin. The capital stock of the holding company (WOSTWAG-BERLIN) was then declared as $100,000 held as to 75% by Alfred DEVINTEL of Berlin and 25% by Claude A. TUPPER, an American citizen of Delaware who had been a mining engineer in China. The Articles of Association of the company, first modified on 15th September 1927, were again….


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Later on 6th June 1934, a firm: “By-Products Importing Co,” was registered in New York, and almost immediately (25th June 1934) absorbed by a new firm, “Pacific Merchandise Corp.”, whose president was a Russian-born U.S. citizen, ex-British (?Palestinian) national Ernest WRIGHT of Pennsylvania. Associated with him were Boris NIEMCOW and Adolf STEINMANN, both former employees of “WOSTWAG” (for personalities, see Appendix A).         

8.      France.  On 25th September 1933 the Bank was advised that David ROSENBLITT [SIC - ROSENBLITH spelled differently elsewhere] had resigned and that Alfred DEVINGTEL (Berlin) was now the “sole manager”. This was apparently due to the fact that all Jewish members of the firm were leaving Germany in consequence of the Nazi racial policy. Some had gone to the Far East, others like ROSENBLITT, went to France, where they set up small import and export businesses:

“SOCOMBO”    “Societe de Commerce des Boyaux”, i.e. “casings”) ROSENBLITT (1933-1939).

“SOCIMEX”                                          [HOCHSTEADT]        HOCH STEDT


“PRODIMEX” (“Products, Import & Exports)                            CZUCZKA


“----?-----“   (Societe pour le Commerce d’Outre-mer)               ZLOCZOWER


(For these personalities, see appendix A.)

9.      England.  “WOSTWAG” had been represented in England since 1924 by I. RICHMAN and Co., Cross Keys House, Moorgate, E.C.  On 15th February 1936, ZLOCZOWER, (then in Paris), and Aaron EHRENBERG registered “The Far Eastern Trading Co.” in London, the latter person being replaced on 1st November 1937 by one Reubin GLUCKSMANN, a former British subject (Palestinian) (See Appendix A, No. ). The U.S. interests of the firm were handled by Ernest WRIGHT of the “Pacific Merchandise Corp.” (See para 7, above). A check on cable traffic of this firm showed that though throughout 1936 they were in frequent contact with France, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and Russia, between then and 1938 the traffic had been confined to London / U.S.A.

10.    WOSTWAG’S Chinese Interests under the American Flag. For a time after HITLER came to power, “WOSTWAG” in the Far East had been obliged to operate under the Polish flag, the German consul-general at Tientsin having refused to continue


[CIMG2443.jpg & CIMG2447.JPG & CIMG2448.jpg]


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/official recognition of a firm strongly rumoured to have a powerful Soviet backing, and who were discovered to be paying 50% of their profits to the Soviet Union in return for their monopoly concessions rights. The Chinese H.Q. of the firm was therefore transferred to Shanghai, and one Adam PURPISS, a Latvian travelling on a Honduran passport, came from Kalgan to take charge, and subsequently visited the U.S.A.. An account was opened on 11th December 1946 [SIC – should be 1936?] with the CHASE bank of New York by a deposit of $150,000, consisting of a draft on the Manufacturers’ Trust Co., New York, on the instructions of one “F. KLEBES, Paris” (See Appendix A, No.   ), the alias of a Soviet Military Intelligence agent of very old standing; according to the Bank records Mr. PURPISS had been introduced to the bank by Ernest WRIGHT of the “Pacific Merchandise Co.” (see para 7, above). On the same date, 11th December 1936, “The Oriental Trading and Engineering Co,” was incorporated in the state of Delaware with a capital of $150,000 held by two U.S. citizens TUPPER and CLARKE, with PURPISS exercising full power of attorney on its behalf, for all acts performed by its outside the U.S.A.. On the 12th December 1936, the firm, whose Chinese branches enjoyed something like a world monopoly in the supply of marmot skins, formed a selling agency with 50%-50% basis with the KITINGDON-SCHILD Fur Corporation of New York under the name of “The Chinese-Mongolian Fur Corporation”. Ernest WRIGHT was to have desk space at KITINGDON-SCHILD on behalf of the “Oriental Trading and Engineering Co.” The “Oriental Trading and Engineering Co.” henceforth enjoyed full extraterrestrial rights in China as a company incorporated under American law; “WOSTWAG” in Shanghai continued its business ostensibly unconnected with the new American firm whose head office was at another address at the same city. During the same year, 1936, according to the books of the “Far Eastern Trading Co.”, approximately $900,000 was transferred from Urga, via the Moscow Narodni Bank and MARTINS, London, to the credit of WOSTWAG in New York 

In October 1937, over $100,000 was transferred to “The Far East Fur Trading Co.” London, for the credit of WOSTWAG-URGA, by “F. KLEGES, Paris”, and also by the London firm to Shanghai. It is presumed the Paris office had received the monies from Berlin.

11.    On his return to China, PURPISS took over an agency for Chevrolet cars and opened up free driving schools for Chinese drivers in Tientsin and Kalgan. He also bought an expensive radio set and 100 spare valves. In the summer of 1938 he is reported to have been in Europe, and even London, where in October

/called on.

[Nigel Colley: What was the purpose of this 'expensive radio set' mentioned above? For communication with whom; Moscow perhaps? Is there any connection with journalist Soviet agent, Gunther Stein in Tokyo allowing is appartment to be used for secret broadcasts to Moscow by Richard Sorge spy ring in 1936? Sorge was a journalist operating in China in the mid-1930s, whose Chinese-based American journalist girlfriend Agnes Smedley (who wrote for the Frankfurter Zeitung & Manchester Guardian) and who is also now suspected of being a Soviet Agent, but would most probably have known Dr Herbert Mueller at least in a professional capacity, as both wrote for the FZ.

As an aside; J P Marquand, Pulitzer Prize Winner & author of Mr Moto, the highly successful spy series of the 1930s and who had had beena fforded a free lift by Wostwag one year before Gareth in 1934, fictionalised his time in Kalgan in 'Mr Moto is So Sorry' , where Purpis was transformed into the character Holtz, who uses his radio to speak with the SOvietts in Moscow!]




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/called on GLUCKERMAN, Manager of the “Far East Fur Trading Co.”) in transit to Russia “or some Western European Country”, and it was said that the Japanese occupation had forced the closing down of the offices in Shanghai, Tienstsin and Kalgan. We are also informed that the H.O. of “The Oriental Trading and Engineering Co.” was reopened in Hong Kong on 3rd August 1939 by a Dr. Jaques MAGRITTE, a friend of PURPISS, who had also been at Kalgan under another name (possibly KNOBIL [KNOEBIL]; see Appendix A, No. J and para 13,) until the Japanese arrived.

It is evident from the books of the “Far East Fur Trading Co, London that their New York representative, “The Pacific Merchandise Corporation”, through Ernest WRIGHT and a certain Max ROTHSTEIN (or RONEY) had been in 1938 and 1939 buying aircraft and equipment for or on the instructions of “WOSTWAG-URGA”.

12.    Change of Name. On 19th December 1938, the Chase Bank H.O. was advised that the style of the Berlin firm had been changed to “DEUTSCHE HANDEL A.G.” and the telegraphic address from “WOSTWAGIMEX” to “DELAGIMEX”.

13.    The New York account of the Oriental Trading and Merchandise Co. was closed in March 1941, the outstanding credit balance being paid by cheques to one Basilius BUCHHOLZ, then in Pennsylvania. At the same time this firm, and the “Pacific Merchandise Corporation”, whose president, also had an account in the Bank’s house in Pennsylvania, were both dissolved, trade with China being declared by them to be at a standstill. Other sums in the closing of the account were received by RUBER and KNOBIL (See personalities, Appendix A, No. ) both formerly of Paris and before that of “WOSTWAG”, Berlin.

[CMG2446.JPG  page 6]

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15.    Mr Ernest WRIGHT, who seems to have been the established centre for WOSTWAG business in the United States and guarantor of ex-WOSTWAG personnel immigrants, went to India in April 1944 in connection with some semi-official “distribution and transportation organisation”, and was said to be employed by the PAJXCT????- STRAIXAG?? Co, leather importers. PAJXCT??’s last known address was Hotel Astoria, Leningrad, while STRAIXAG?? (who applied for a visa to visit Russia in September 1945, was on the 15th January 1946 (according to a confidential source) credited by “The Bank of Foreign Trade”, Moscow, through his account with Vnechtorg, Moscow, with the sum of $10,000, apparently in connection with the fur trade, in which these two persons are brokers. They had till 1938 both been with the ????-???? co. in London.


 A.    Apart from the disclosures of KRIVITSKY, the one piece of indisputable evidence linking this complex of companies with Soviet Military Intelligence is that the well-known agent Jacob KIRSCHENSTEIN @ Frank KLEBES [mainly KLEGES elsewhere] (and several more aliases, who had set up business in Paris in 1930 in the “Societe pour l’Importation des Legumes Secs” as cover, was not only associated with but was instrumental in financing the American (1931), the British (1936), and very probably, some at least of the French companies (1933-36) mentioned above (see para 7, 9 and 10), as well as in transferring large sums to the Mongolian H.O. (1937). (See para 10 above, end).

B.      Connection with “Rote Kapelle” case. A more questionable link, but one which if confirmed would perhaps reveal much of interest, is based on the fact that among WOSTWAG’S representatives at least as early as October 1931 was an exclusive concession for Mongolia and Manchuria for the products of  “The Continental Caoutchouc Companie”, at Khoskhdu??? in September 1944 which was then an active member of the German Chamber of Commerce there. It may be recalled that the cover firm used by the G.R.U. (S.M.I.) agent TREPPER

/ (Rote Kapelle)…


[CMG2449.JPG  page 7]

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(Rote Kapelle) in Brussels from 1938 on was formed to sell, primarily, a garment known as „The Excellent Raincoat“ and was closely associated with a firm. “Le Roi du Caoutchouc” which imported this and other commodities, from or exported them to, among other places, Sweden. It will be noted that both the Swedish- registered company and the garment sold by TREPPER’s firm in Brussels have an English name, indeed TREPPER’s firm was called “The Excellent Raincoat”, as if the original trade mark were an English one and the firm were a branch of, or selling agency from a English manufacturing company. Moreover, its managing director GROSSVOGEL ??, though a French citizen living in Belgium, had been married, earlier in the year, [at] the … Holborn registry office in London. Finally, we know that TREPPER’s organisation was aimed till 1941 primarily against Britain. So perhaps it is not altogether fanciful to see in WOSTWAG’s representation of “The Continental Caoucthouc Co.”  A further link with Soviet Military Intelligence, even if the purpose of these ???? were no more than to provide and distribute funds for R.I.S. [Russian Intelligence Services?] purposes, as TREPPER declared was so in the case of “BLEXCO” ?? (Brussels), the successor of his firm after the first arrests of personnel, and in the case of “SIMEX” ?? (Paris). (Incidentally, there is perhaps significance in the uniformity visible in the short name or telegraphic address of several of these firms: WOSTWAGIMEX, SOCOMBO, SOCIMEX, PRODIMEX, SIMEX  [and other unfortunately semi-illegible names]).

C.     It is possible that the uniformity of nomenclature just mentioned derives not from association of these firms primarily with the R.I.S. but from the fact that they were, without exception originally founded by Jews, many of them active Zionists. ROSENBLITT, ZLOCZOMER, ROTHSTEIN, GLUCKSMAN [GLUCKERMAN] and CZUCZKA all knew each other in their student days in Vienna, where the last two at least members of “Poale Zion”. GLUCKSMAN, probably WRIGHT and certainly TREPPER had all three visited Palestine at some time or other, while GROHSVOGEL in 1934 approached a forger in Brussels ? for Syrian visas for two Polish passports . CZUCZKA Had been associated throughout his career with refugee organisations in Europe and the Americas, and when asked about the association of GLUCKSMAN (of “Poale Zion” and “The Far East Fur Trading Co.) with ZLOCZOMER (KRIVITSKI’s “speculant agent”) replied that it was more or less general knowledge “among Jewish refugees in Paris”. All these persons (except GLUCKSMAN and GROMVOGEL who are dead and TREPPER whose whereabouts is unknown) are now in the United States, WRIGHT being still employed in a fur business dealing with the Soviet Government, while



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ROSENBLITT’s firm, besides it business in “casings”, has been interested in the export of textile machinery to Palestine. ROSENBLITT and ZLOCZOWER, from their long association with WOSTWAG, would undoubtedly repay careful interrogation if this were possible; as would WRIGHT and ROTHSTEIN in connection with their dealings in aircraft as revealed in the scrutiny of the books of “The Far East Fur Trading Co.”

D.  A final conclusion is that any person of Eastern European connection who is or has been associated with commerce an any but the land level in the following commodities should be regarded as a possible conscious or unconscious agent for Soviet Military Intelligence:

a)      The group of animal by-products such as skins (pelts, furs), intestines (“casings”), bones, bone-and-skin glue, fats (e.g. glycerine), etc. (c.f. KRIVITSKY’s statement that “eight out of every ten fur merchants who deal with the Soviet Trade Delegation are conscious Soviet agents”).

b)      A similar group concerned with poultry and game birds and their by-products (shell eggs, dried eggs, liquid eggs, gull’s eggs, feathers, etc). In this connection the “black market” in these commodities would everywhere repay scrutiny from this angle.

c)      Natural and Synthetic rubber products of all kinds.

It should be remembered that the majority of the persons mentioned in this report on WOSTWAG, its ancillaries and associates are as far as we know still active, some of them in their old (commercial) specialties. 


The CHASE records showed that as of January 8th, 1937, the address of the ORIENTAL TRADING & ENGINEERING COMPANY in China in care of Mr. Adam Purpiss, 69 Taku Road, Tientsin. Later in February, 1937, it was changed to 660-668 Seschuen Road, Shanghai.

Continuing, the records of the bank showed a memorandum dated 1/17/37 from the branch in Shanghai wherein it was stated PURPISS had visited the Shanghai office on 1/12/37  and had advised that he had previously been general manager of the ORIENTAL TRADING & ENGINEERING COMPANY, and prior to that, had been in business for himself. He further reported that he was Latvian by birth, but was travelling under a Honduran passport.

At the time of this visit, PURPISS presented the bank with the aforementioned Power of Attorney which he had received from the main office of the Oriental Trading & Engineering Company in New York City. This memo also reflects that PURPISS would be General Manager of the organisation and a Mr. EHRENLIEB would be local manager in Tientsin.

Later the same bank records advised as to a visit of A. EHRENLIEB to the Shanghai branch of Chase. This was on February 5, 1937, and on this occasion; EHRENLIEB told them that ADAM PURPISS had previously been in Hamburg and had experience in hog-casings and the fur business.

In forwarding this information to the main office of CHASE, the Shanghai branch comments to the effect that PURPISS was the domineering factor in the Far Eastern business of WOSTWAG.

The bank records next showed a copy of an article dated April 15th1937, which appeared in the “North China Star”. This advised of the opening of a free automobile drivers and mechanics school on the premises of the ADAM PURPISS IMPORT-EXPORT COMPANY. It was noted that the article also referred to one S. C. GIEBE???NSTCHIKOFF of the ORIENTAL TRADING & ENGINEERING COMPANY.

In a memorandum dated May 26th, 1937,prepared by a CHASE official, it was stated that PURPISS told the Shanghai branch he was formerly general manager of the predecessor organisation (Oriental Trading & Engineering Company, Tientsin) for several years, and previous to that had been in business on his own account. The memorandum continues to state that “it is reported further that he was at one time associated with… 



CHEKA, Soviet Services extraordinary secret service organisation and also that he was forced to leave Kalgan owing to threats against his life. It has also been rumoured Mr PURPISS is associated with the Third International and reportedly he was previously in Hamburg, Germany and has had experience in hog-casings and furs. Of recent years, he has been the domineering factor in the Far Eastern business of WOSTWAG.

The New York indices failed to reflect any other information concerning ADAM PURPISS.

A careful name check at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service was made with negative results.


As a possible aid towards a more complete understanding of WOSTWAG and its related organisations there is presented on the following pages a diagram showing how these companies were connected. There is also being listed a summary of the pertinent information known which, it is believed, tends to substantiate the various connecting links exhibited in this diagram.

Diagrammatic representation of the inter-relationship between the individual NKVD companies:

[Click image above for medium (300kb) resolution image of the diagram  or CLICK HERE for very high (1.5mb) resolution image of the above]



P.F. 45633


SIS  report – dated 12-9-33

Albert FEIERABEND @ SZPOCAS, who is stated to be an important agent of the Third International, mentioned that whilst in China he had visited the ORIENTAL TRADING CO, in Tientsin.

Note: The above information was sent to the American Embassy on 14.9.33

 [CMIG2461.JPG & CIMG2462.JPG – Page 20 of a US report]

CLICK HERE for high resolution copy of this image referring to Purpis as the shrwdest operator in the Far East

 NY 100-15668 

Colonel C . [Claude] A. TUPPER (now deceased) President & Treasurer

Mr. L. [Lewis] L. CLARKE, Vice President & Secretary


It is stated that Chase has not been informed of the full list of directors but understood that Mr CLARKE is a Director as is Mr JOHN E. KLIEBEL of New York. It is stated that Mr PURPISS told the Shanghai Branch of Chase that he was formerly General Manager of the predecessor company for several years; and previous to that, had been in business on his own account. He is a Latvian by birth but travels under a Honduran passport. It is stated that he is considered one of the shrewdest and cleverest men in the Far East and in the past has made his headquarters in Kalgan. The memo continues to state, “it is reported further that he was one time associated with Cheka, Soviet Russia’s extraordinary secret service organization, and also that he was forced to leave Kalgan owing to threats against his life. It has also been rumoured that Mr. PURPISS is associated with the Third International and reportedly he was previously in Hamburg, Germany, and had experience in hog casings and furs. Of recent years, it seems he has been the domineering factor in the Far Eastern business of “WOSTWAG”.

Continuing, as to Mr EHREBLIEB, the memo states that he, “the Shanghai Manager, was originally sent by WOSTWAG to China about six years ago, principally to handle the casing business. He had worked with WOSTWAG in Germany and also Turkey in the hog casing line. He is reported to be of Austrian nationality and was formerly manager of the predecessor firm at Tientsin.

The memo then states that information was obtained by the Tientsin branch of Chase suggesting that some of the business of the predecessor business was conducted in Mongolia by Mr. PURPISS under his own name. A memo report of April 15, 1937 is quoted which states that “in the premises of ADAM PURPISS, Import and Export Company at Kalgan (about 200 miles north-east of Tientsin) the subject corporation opened a free automobile-drivers and mechanics school.”

Comment is then made in the memorandum relative to the sourcing of a balance sheet for this corporation, and it is then stated that Mr EHRENLIEB has informed the branch of Chase that it would be some time before such a balance sheet could be available due to the fact that it is necessary “to have a final accounting with WOSTWAG.” It continued to state that insomuch as WOSTWAG and predecessor firm had extensive operations in the Far East a great deal of work would be involved in the final liquidation of the old…

-- 20 --

 [CIMG2468.jpg & CIMG2469.jpg]


 [From British Interrogation of GLUCKMANN on 25.5.40 regarding background to the formation of Wostwag in Germany and subsequent dissolution into several related but autonomous companies  after Hitler's advent to power in 1933 - see enlarged images above for full testimony]

Salient extract: from second page:

“About nine planes were purchases, three in Amsterdam and nine in California.”



Extract for File No.: PF45 633             Name: Oriental & Engineering Company

Original in File No.: PFR 4342 Supp.vol.2        Serial: 55x        Receipt Date: July 1940

Original from: KRIVITSKY                                                

Extracted on: 5.5.49                                         By: EHD          Section B.2b


Most frequently some form of business cover would have to be arranged. Sometimes a firm was actually created for a particular purpose and sometimes it was possible to arrange through an intermediary that the intended agent should come to this country as the representative of some genuine and important continental firm. In these latter cases the firm would probably be quite unaware of the true character of their representative.

A highly important firm called OSTWAG or the Eastern Trading Co., was created by the Fourth Dept. in Berlin in 1922. It provided a genuine business cover for a large number of Fourth Dept. agents. The principal business of the firm was the sale of Russian produce in Germany. The business was passed to them through the Soviet Trade Delegation in Berlin.

In one year the firm made over a million roubles profit. As KRIVITSKY points out this was merely putting of money from one Soviet pocket into another. Nevertheless the proceeds of OSTWAG were retained by the Fourth Dept. to augment their espionage and internal disruption grants.

Two junior staff officers of the Fourth Dept., the brothers EHRENLIEB, Aaron and Abraham, were put in charge of the organisation and espionage



side of the firm. They were of Polish origin naturalised Austrians. The business side of OSTWAG, and later its various branches was in the hands of an old Bolshevik, a Latvian – a personal friend of General BERZIN. He travelled a good deal with a speculant agent Leo KATZ, a Roumanian. KATZ visited this country at some time in connection with the affairs of the firm.

[SPECULANT AGENTS – From CIMG2420.JPG are “usually people who have become outlaws in their own countries on account of their Communist activities and are mainly Austrians, Czechs, Hungarians and Roumanians.”]

About 1925 or 1926 the Fourth Dept. suspected that the activities of the firm had become known to the German police. They decided to withdraw the EHRENLIEB brothers and other agents of the Russian General staff and let the firm continue purely commercial activities under a speculant agent called ZLOCZOMER. A man called STUCHKA [CZUCZKA] also worked in connection with OSTWAG and its affiliated companies.

After their recall from Berlin the brothers EHRENLIEB worked for a time in the Fourth Department. Both men were first class accountants and managed the accounts of the Fourth Dept. in the second section. After a time Abraham EHRENLIEB was sent to Tientsin where he founded and built up a very important firm – the Far Eastern Trading Company. The profits were retained for their work in China by the Fourth Dept., and were a useful source of foreign currency…[{Continued from original document CIMG2477.JPG} Incidentally Abraham managed to inspire sufficient confidence in Tientsin to be appointed president of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce there. Later Adam PURPIS, a Lett, who travelled through London in 1937 or 1938, but probably only in transit to Russia from some other Western European country. Soviet ships sailed regularly to Leningrad from Hay’s Wharf, London, and the Fourth Dept. frequently used this means of returning agents to Moscow.]

The other brother Aaron was sent to Urga, the Soviet colony in Outer Mongolia. In 1935 he was recalled to Moscow with the idea that he should go to the American Branch of OSTWAG. The firm in the U.S.A. became very active and a lot of material can be obtained from the American Authorities. This plan fell through owing to the difficulty of obtaining an American visa. It was decided, in 1936 to send him to London where an affiliated company of OSTWAG, known as the Far Eastern Fur Trading Co. was formed in February 1936.

The Far Eastern Fur Trading Co. is properly registered in the United Kingdom and is staffed by commercial men carrying on legitimate business. Certain members of the staff however devote a proportion of their time to Fourth Department work. [{Continued from original CIMG2477.JPG} ZLOCZOWER was in London working for a time with EHRENLIEB during the Spanish war KRIVITSKY sent a man called Samuel HOCKSTEDT or ???CHSTEDT to meet EHRENLIEB in London and the two worked…]

CLICK HERE for page two of this document with US / British Correspondence regarding Wostwag, including a letter to Kim Philby by Roger Hollis on the subject...

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