Frenkel, Naftalii Aronovich

   One of the most odious of the first generation of Chekists, Frenkel went from prisoner to security service general in less than a decade. His early life is shrouded in mystery. He was according to most accounts a petty criminal in the Odessa underworld. Following the Revolution of November 1917, he was arrested several times for theft and robbery. In May 1927 he emerged from prison to take an important post in the labor camp directorate, apparently because he sold the OGPU leadership on the long-term economic benefits of prison labor. In the 1930s he supervised the work on the Belomor Canal, the first massive slave labor project of the gulag system. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1943 and awarded the Order of Lenin. He retired in 1947 and died peacefully in 1960.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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