Pauker, Karl Viktorovich

   Born into a family of hairdressers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Pauker served as a barber for the Budapest Opera before World War I. He was captured by the Russian army in 1915 and, while in prison, joined the Bolshevik Party. During the Russian civil war, he joined the Cheka and rose quickly to head of the Moscow department. From 1934 to 1936 he was chief of Joseph Stalin’s security detail. According to recent research, Pauker—like other senior security police officers—was very close to Stalin personally. He was a drinking companion and confidant for several years, and he arranged a state funeral for the leader’s second wife, Nadya, who had committed suicide. He also took part in planning the trial of Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev in the first of the Moscow Trials. Pauker soon afterward fell out with Stalin and NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov. He was arrested in March 1937 and tried five months later, on 14 August. He was shot immediately following the trial.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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