9 February Gold Star 1995 was brought to the hospital by two generals. The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, General of the Army Mikhail Kolesnikov, and the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, Colonel General Fedor Lodygin. Kolesnikov read the presidential decree and gave Chernyak a scarlet box with the highest award of the country.
Chernyak's wife took out a star and put it in her husband's lifeless hand. Jan Petrovich woke up for a moment from oblivion and whispered with cold lips: "It's good that it is not posthumous ..."
Ten days later he was gone.
Then General of the Army Mikhail Kolesnikov, Chief of the General Staff, will speak about him. "This old man was a real Stirlitz." From 1930 to 1945, he “worked in the same place as Maxim Isaev”.
HIS AGENTS WERE OLGA CHEKHOV AND MARIK RYOKK - FAVORITE FAVORITE ACTRESSES
But Yan Petrovich Chernyak was never Stirlitz, whose literary image was created by the writer Julian Semenov. He did not serve a single day in the German army, and because of non-Aryan origin, he could not even dream of making a career there and join the leadership of the Hitlerite Wehrmacht. Nevertheless, he had his informants there. And not only there. The famous Soviet rocket designer Sergo Gegechkori, in his book “My Father - Lawrence Beria”, published after Chernyak’s death, claimed that even Marika Ryokk, Hitler’s favorite actress, was his agent.
The unique document only reveals the secret of the life of the scout Chernyak.
And, of course, Chernyak made for our country immeasurably more than the literary and cinematic character of the story by Yulian Semenov “Seventeen Moments of Spring”. Especially since, voluntarily or involuntarily, he also made his personal contribution to the creation of this book and film. At a time when his name and intelligence past was a state secret, and an extremely limited circle of people knew about his extraordinary biography and even his wife and co-workers in the translation department of the TASS foreign news editorial office did not guess, he advised the writer on many episodes of the future popular publication.
The author of this material is lucky. For my first publication about Chernyak in the Izvestia newspaper, when it became known that he was awarded the title Hero of the Russian Federation, I managed to get a photo of a scout, which the newspaper was denied to the GRU. And even the departmental military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, where the obituary on Chernyak was published, was published without his photograph. And in "Izvestia" he appeared. The TASS news agency helped, where he worked as a translator for the last nineteen years before retiring.
And recently, in my hands, I turned out to be a personal file of Jan Petrovich with the number 8174, issued to him in the personnel department of an information agency. And the autobiography of the intelligence officer, in which he did not mention a word about his illegal past. Although he said that during the war he carried out special tasks of the Soviet command in the rear of the enemy. But then the rear was very large - from the walls of Stalingrad to the Atlantic Ocean. And go and guess where exactly the civilian soldier of the Red Army was performing special tasks. Moreover, in his personal file he did not write anything about it. True, in recent years there have been quite a few publications about his intelligence activities. How reliable they are is difficult to judge. Scouts, especially illegal immigrants, both during life and after death are accompanied by legends. It is almost impossible to determine where the truth is, and where the fiction is, to the common man and the journalist. Moreover, the question of whether to do this is also not all clear.
But still. If you fluently list everything that is written about Chernyak in various publications, and what he has done during the years of illegal work abroad, then there will be at least another ten no less popular stories than Yulian Semenov’s work about Maxim Isayev. Only during the prewar period, from 1936 to 1939, as reported by writers and journalists, for short visits to Germany, Chernyak created a powerful intelligence network there, which had the code name “Krona”. He was able to recruit over 20 agents, whose work was supervised from abroad through messengers. At the same time, none of his agents have ever been exposed by the Gestapo, even today nothing is known about the absolute majority of them. Although among his informants were a major banker, secretary of the minister, head of the research department of the aviation design bureau, the daughter of the head of the tank design bureau, and high-ranking military personnel. And one of the agents, besides Marika Ryokk, was supposed to be another favorite actress of the Fuhrer - Olga Chekhova.
In 1941, Chernyak's agents managed to obtain a copy of the Barbarossa plan, and in 1943 - an operational plan for the German offensive near Kursk. And if in the first case in Moscow they did not attach due importance to the unique documents sent by illegal immigrants, then in 43 his many-page reports served as a good help for preparing the defeat of the fascist hordes near Belgorod and Kursk and for creating a decisive turning point in the Great Patriotic War. But, besides this, Chernyak transmitted to the USSR valuable technical information about tanks, including about "Tigers" and "Panthers", artillery guns, on jet weapons, on missiles "V-1" and "V-2", the development of chemical weapons, radio electronic systems. The outstanding Soviet scientist and design engineer, academician and admiral Axel Berg said that the materials on the most advanced Western developments, obtained before the war by Soviet reconnaissance, greatly helped him in creating the domestic radar system that contributed to the defense of Moscow’s sky against the Nazi bombers. The admiral did not know that one of them was a freelance GRU, Yan Chernyak. Only in 1944, this illegal sent more than 12,5 thousand sheets of technical documentation and 60 samples of radio equipment to the country. Veterans of the Main Intelligence Agency claim that the intelligence network created by Chernyak was one of the best in stories intelligence - there was not a single failure in a half dozen years of his work abroad.
Chernyak made a great contribution to the creation of Soviet atomic weapons. He obtained information about these works in Great Britain, and then, having moved on instructions from his leadership to Canada and the USA, he sent thousands of sheets of materials about American nuclear weapons and even a few milligrams of uranium-235 to the Union, which is used to manufacture the atomic bomb. How he did it, we'll talk a little later. We also speculate about the fact that Hitler’s counterintelligence was able to detect, expose and completely arrest all participants of the Soviet intelligence network, which the Gestapo men called “The Red Chapel” and which were led by Leopold Trepper and Anatoly Gurevich, not without difficulty, not without mistakes. The agency liquidated another intelligence network, the Red Three, which was headed by the Hungarian geographer and cartographer Sandor Rado. But she was never able to get on the Krona informants. I could not even identify its leader, Jan Chernyak, who was called "a man without a shadow." He never left a trace behind him. In the meantime, a few words about how Jan Chernyak became an illegal intelligence officer and a citizen of the USSR, whose passport he received only at the age of 37.
SPACES AND MUTTERIES OF ENDORSED BIOGRAPHY
Born Jan Chernyak in Chernivtsi in 1909 year, in the family of a small Jewish merchant, married to Magyarke. Jan's parents disappeared into the depths of the First World War. And an orphan at the age of six was assigned to an orphanage in Kosice. And in the native places of Chernyak, in Northern Bukovina, which was then part of Austria-Hungary, there were a lot of representatives of various nationalities - Ukrainians, Hungarians, Romanians, Jews, Czechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians, Germans, who were called here "Swabians", Serbs and even the Austrians ... The mash of nations - a jumble of tongues allowed a small and very quick-witted, one might even say, talented boy to imbibe them like a sponge. At sixteen, he already spoke in six languages - native German and Yiddish, Czech, Magyar, Romanian and Ukrainian, and when he entered the Prague Higher Technical School, he began to intensively study how he later wrote in his autobiography, English.
Photo by Jan Chernyak from a TASS case. Photo courtesy of the author
In the same autobiography, which the author has at his disposal, he wrote that after graduating from the Prague School, from 1931 to 1933 a year, he worked as an engineer-economist at a small factory, Prager Electromotiver. And then, when, due to the global economic crisis, the plant closed, was unemployed for two years and earned a living by private English lessons. True, various sources, including publications in some books, claim that since the beginning of the 30s of the last century, he studied at the Polytechnic Institute in Berlin, where he joined the Communist Party of Germany and after signing a meeting with a representative of the Soviet military intelligence on her. In addition, in 1931 – 1933, he allegedly served in the Romanian army, in the headquarters of a cavalry regiment in the rank of sergeant, had access to secret documents and transferred their contents to the Soviet Union.
According to the same sources, after retiring from the army, Chernyak lived in Germany, where he created a reconnaissance group, a prototype of the future Krona, and in 1935 – 1936 he studied at the intelligence school in the USSR under the leadership of Artur Artuzov, the former head of the OGPU-NKVD Foreign Department, and at that time, the Deputy Chief of the Fourth (Intelligence) Directorate of the General Staff of the Red Army, met with the Red Army intelligence chief of the army commissioner of the 2 rank, Yan Berzin. And then he went to Switzerland under the guise of a TASS correspondent with the operational pseudonym "Jen." And since 1938, after the Munich Agreement, he lived in Paris, and from 1940, in London.
Chernyak himself writes in his autobiography about this period of his life that from February 1935 to November 1938 worked as a translator in the library of higher technical institutions in Prague, and then went to Paris, where before his occupation by German troops he also worked as an interpreter . And then he moved to Zurich, where he again gave English lessons in private. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War and the “attack of the German troops on the USSR, he began active work in the enemy's rear, where he carried out special tasks of the Soviet command (July 1941 - December 1945). In December, 1945 came to Moscow and in May 1946 received Soviet citizenship. From May 1946 to February 1950, he worked as an Assistant of the Department of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR. ”
Where is the truth here, and where is the legend that all intelligence-illegal immigrants have had and have, one can only guess. In the publications about Chernyak, which were published after his death, there are many contradictions with his own biography, which he wrote with his hand when he went to work at the TASS news agency, and with the questionnaire, which he filled out for the personnel department of the agency. For example, in various Russian-language materials, especially those published in the West and in Israel, they call him Yankel Pinkusovich Chernyak. And he called himself Jan Petrovich, although he did not hide the fact that he was a Jew by nationality. On his tombstone at the Preobrazhensky cemetery in Moscow, “Hero of the Russian Federation Chernyak Yan Petrovich”, the year of birth and year of death, was also beaten out.
The personnel department questionnaire says that he never changed his last name. At the same time, the authors of essays about him unanimously say that he had several passports of different countries for different surnames of people with different biographies and kept these biographies in his head so securely that when someone woke him somewhere in Switzerland or England in the middle of the night, he is in pure French, who also studied in 30-s, or in English without hesitation would have told his fictional biography, never having gotten lost or confused dates, cities and streets, where there used to be somewhere then lived.
And, as they say, he possessed a truly bestial intuition, never spent the night in the same place for more than a week, constantly moving from place to place to different parts of the city or to other countries. It was possible to envy his hypnotic abilities. He was able to convince and find common ground with any person, which was manifested in his recruitment of informants. And an explanation for this, probably, can be found in the orphan childhood, when a little boy who did not have great physical strength could easily negotiate with children from the orphanage much older and more prudent, or even with street hooligans.
His memory was phenomenal, the researchers tell us of the laid-back or true biography of Chernyak. He could run through his eyes ten pages in any language of small, fine text and retell it word for word, what is called, one to one with the written. And I also memorized 70 items in the room where I was, and then I could put them in place after someone had completely changed them. His future wife, a medical institute student Tamara Ivanovna Petrova, as one of the authors of the essay about the intelligence officer tells, was struck by the fact that, having played chess with her in Moscow Hermitage Park, the next day brought her a recording of these two games, which he easily remembered.
The authors of the essays about Chernyak, some of them (this is not a reproach, but a guess that they wrote from one source presented to them by someone), unanimously claim that he did not have any awards, and in the Tasse questionnaire it is indicated that he He was awarded the medal "For the Victory over Germany" and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. True, the order - already in 1958 year. For what - the question of filling. It is known that from time to time, when he worked at the TASS news agency from 1950 to 1957, as a freelance translator, and then up to 1969, and on staff — also a translator, then a senior translator from English and German at the TASS Foreign Information Office. . But where and why - also a secret. It is not excluded to visit their informants or those who replaced them then. Or maybe for other particularly delicate tasks.
And one more discrepancy, which catches the eye. The authors of the essays about Chernyak claim that he and Tamara Ivanovna had no children. And in the questionnaire recorded son - Vladimir Yanovich, 1955 year of birth - and the address of residence in Moscow - Rusakovskaya street. Now there is a library and cultural center named after Antoine Saint-Exupéry and the Moscow Drama Theater of Journalism. But, the truth, there is still no memorial plaque or plaque that the legendary illegal reconnaissance Hero of Russia Yan Chernyak lived here. There is no such board on the Tass building, where Chernyak worked for almost twenty years.
Marika Ryokk was believed to be one of the agents of the Soviet intelligence officer. Photo from the Federal Archives of Germany. Xnumx
TAKEOFF AND FINAL CAREER ILLEGAL
An interesting detail. Many Soviet illegal intelligence officers who returned to Moscow after the end of the Great Patriotic War ended up behind bars. Among them are the leaders of the Red Chapel, Leopold Trepper and Anatoly Gurevich, who had previously been in the dungeons of the Gestapo, as well as Shandor Rado, who managed to deceive the fascists and hide in Egypt, were taken out of Cairo by the NKVD. He was also unable to avoid the colonies. All illegal immigrants were charged with treason, and in fact - they laid someone else's blame for the failure of the initial period of World War II. And Ian Chernyak happily escaped both the charges and the “cellars of Lubyanka”. Lucky? Not. Simply, he was still in demand.
In 1942, while in London, Chernyak recruited English physicist Allan Nunn May to work on the Soviet intelligence, who participated in the Tube Ellloyz (Pipe Alloys) nuclear weapons programs in the UK and in the Manhattan Project in the United States. Over the past six months of close cooperation, May gave Chernyak documentary information on the main areas of research on the uranium problem in Cambridge, a description of plutonium production, drawings of the “uranium boiler” and detailed the principle of its work. And when May was invited to continue nuclear research in Canadian Montreal, Chernyak, following the instructions of his leadership, followed him. The English scientist repeatedly visited his Canadian colleagues at a heavy water plant in the town of Cholk River on the banks of the Ottawa River and American colleagues at the Aragon Laboratory at the University of Chicago, who, among many others, worked on the creation of the American atomic bomb. This is Mei who gave Soviet military intelligence personnel samples of uranium and detailed materials related to the development of US nuclear weapons. It was issued by the defector - the cipher clerk of the USSR military attache in Canada, Igor Guzenko.
From September 1945, May lived and worked in England, taught at the Royal College of the University of London. But the British counterintelligence officers monitored him and in February 1946, interrogated and arrested. The scientist was not ready for such a turn in his fate and, as they say, split. The threat of exposure hung, including over his curator.
And he, during his time in Canada, was able to establish the work of illegal residency there. Obtained information on the atomic bomb, which was his main task, but not only. A large number of agents were in his connection, including a world-renowned scientist (now deceased, but not declassified). Chernyak's network of agents worked in many other areas of scientific and technical intelligence. By the way, those materials for which Berg so thanked the GRU were sent at that very time. In total for the 1944 year, the Center, as already mentioned, received from Chernyak 12,5 thousands of sheets of technical documentation relating to radar, electrical industry, ship armament, aircraft manufacturing, metallurgy and 60 equipment samples. Not decreased the amount of information received from Chernyak next year. The work was in full swing, and it would, in all likelihood, have been going on for many more years if it were not for the very betrayal of Guzenko’s coder
But the topic of this material is not a cryptographic crime. We won’t talk about him anymore. Only Jan Chernyak had to leave the pursuit of the Canadian counterintelligence. How he did this is another story. Illegally taken out by our sailors, military or merchant fleet, - in different publications the information is completely different. I like the dressing up plot.
Legend has it that a group of our sailors settled in one of the seaside hotels, invited the girls, and then one of them, half-dressed, in a vest and not buttoned up, his friends carried it on their hands to the ship. He himself, having gone over his temples, could no longer go. And the policeman on duty at the ladder of the Soviet cargo ship did not even ask him for the documents. What documents can a sailor have that does not knit a bastard ?! Let him deal with his own captain.
The “sailor of the sailor”, as they say, was then handed over to the great chief, who arrived at the vessel moored in Sevastopol on the trophy “Opel-admiral”. And they took a subscription from the crew that nobody had ever seen anything or anyone on board. You want to go to the "zagranku" - sign and not that.
Jan Chernyak continued his service in the GRU. Civilian He did not receive any awards for the materials delivered from the USA on the atomic project. Not punished - and it was a great joy. Because they could. Illegal spoke in defense of the military intelligence attache of Colonel Nikolai Zabotin, a military intelligence officer in Ottawa, who patronized his cryptographer, Guzienko, during his service in Canada. And this is not forgiven. Zabotina planted. Chernyak moved away from operational work. Then he slowly found another use for him. Especially since by that time he had brilliantly learned another language - Russian. His autobiography in the TASS case file was written without a single mistake.
Yan Petrovich Chernyak worked at TASS for almost 19 years and went on a well-deserved rest when he turned 60. True, he received a personal pension. But, I think, not allied, but republican. In 1969, it was equal to 150 rubles. Salary of a leading engineer in a defense enterprise. And for those unique documents and materials that he transferred to the country during his unknown residence abroad and which helped the Soviet state, its scientists and designers to create weapons that reliably defended its national interests, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. The reward is high, but I think it is hardly sufficient.
The feat, accomplished by an illegal scout, was truly appreciated only at the end of his life, already in new Russia.