By Gary Kern
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Additional resources for A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror
Jay Wynshaw, my long-suffering and eagle-eyed editor at Enigma Books, caught some in English. Margarita Dobert, the last friend of Krivitsky to see him alive, was extremely patient in going over that enigmatic last weekend—again and again. Among friends, Selim Karady kept on the lookout for news items on the Stalin period. My brother, Charles Kern, clipped articles for years from the DC papers, went to DC archives, and drove me places when I was back in my hometown, such as the road Krivitsky traveled that last weekend to Barboursville, Virginia, and then the return to Washington DC and the Bellevue Hotel.
Insiders used either designation in Krivitsky’s time. The later acronym GRU (three syllables) was not used in his day, but is handy, and sometimes appears here. A glossary provides the details. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations into English are by me. Cyrillic names are transliterated into Latin letters using the “popular” system, unless foreign equivalents were established by residence abroad. For example, Krivitsky had two friends, the Umansky brothers. But the unrelated Konstantin Umansky, an ambassador, established the spelling Constantine Oumansky while in France, and it is used here.
Rather, it was the atmosphere. In that back room, on the morning of Monday, February 10, 1941, Walter G. 38 calibre pistol on the bed at his left armpit, its handle covered by a clot of blood. Some notes in different languages were picked up from the nightstand. 50 a night in which to wait for a train at the nearby station. The hotel had 280 units in 1941, but half that number in the 1980s after a renovation, which combined two rooms into one, or even three rooms into a suite. The alterations did not deter the curious.
A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror by Gary Kern