Samuel was born on September 2, 1899 in Astrakhan. From 1910 to 1917 he studied at the Astrakhan first gymnasium. Samuel graduated from high school with highest marks and was awarded the highest distinction of the most successful students.
In 1917, he became a student at the Petrograd Technological Institute (Petrograd, Leningrad, and St. Petersburg are all the same city).
In 1918 Samuel went on a summer vacation to Astrakhan. At this time he decided to enlist in the Red Army. From the summer of 1918 to 1922 Samuel was in military service in the Red Army. During his service, he saw action in the civil war that followed the revolution, and moved up in rank, eventually becoming an officer.
In 1922, he left the army and continued his studies at the institute. In 1926 Samuel graduated from the Leningrad Mining Institute (the name of the institute changed along with the name of the city).
In 1920, he married Rose nee Reck. They had no children. Rosa had some health problems and for half of their life together she was in poor health. According to a letter of Samuel’s, his marriage was not approved by his parents, and in fact, it caused a rift between Samuel and his parents.
Samuel became a prominent metallurgist, and was a key figure in the Russian war effort against the Nazis, which may have saved him from his brother, Alexander’s, fate. To date, we have limited information about Samuel’s life, but we know the following:
He was a member of the Communist Party from 1919 but was dismissed from the party in January 1937. Following this, he was exiled from Leningrad to Uzbekistan (which was at that time part of the USSR), where he worked as a school teacher. It’s likely that he narrowly escaped Alexander’s fate during these years. His internal exile lasted until 1940.
In 1934, he became director of the Centrolit plant, Leningrad, which was involved in the production of metalworking machines.
In 1930 he was part of a study delegation to Germany, and in 1934 he visited the US in the same capacity. During the 1930 visit, he and Yacov were apparently able to meet briefly in Paris…we have a notated photo in Jacques’ effects from this meeting.
From 1940 to 1941, he was once more in Leningrad, and in 1941 he was sent to the construction of the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant (Chelyabinsk). This plant became one of the largest metallurgical centers in the country. Samuel worked at Chelyabinsk until 1949.
From 1949 to 1954, Samuel worked at the Omutninsk Metallurgical Plant (Omutninsk city, Kirov region).
From 1954 to 1970 Samuel worked at the Cherepovets Metallurgical Plant. It was also one of the largest metallurgical plants in the USSR.
Samuel spoke German, French and English.
He wrote at one point that he believed his brother Yacov to have died in 1955. Whether he really believed so, or wrote it to allay suspicion of contact with outsiders, we do not know.
He also wrote that his brother Alexander (shot be the KGB in 1938) had gone missing. Again, it seems likely that this was an attempt to avoid allegations of spying.
He may have been compelled to rejoin the Communist party during the Great Terror. During and after World War II he was instrumental in the creation of the USSR’s metals industry.
Samuel’s last place of work was the Cherepovets Steel Mill, where he worked until 1970.
Samuel’s wife, Rosa, died before him, but we don’t have an exact date. And in 1975, Samuel died, apparently died of lung cancer.
Samuel – Documents
We have few documents relating to Samuel’s life, but we expect to add to our library soon.
Samuel – Photos
To date we have scant information about the life of Samuel. Thanks to recent contacts with family relatives in Russa, we now know that he was a well-known metallurgist, and was apparently important to the Soviet war effort. Before World War II, Samuel attended several professional conferences in Europe and possibly even in the US, which would indicate that he was seen with favor by the Soviet state apparatus during the period leading up to the war.