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April 1, 1943

Note of I.Kurchatov for M. Pervukhin, 'About Necessity to Demobilize V.M. Kelman'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

Записка И.В. Курчатова М.Г. Первухину

«Онеобходимости демобилизаяВ.M. Кельмана»


1 апреля 1943 г.

Совершенно секретно


В Лаборатории проф[ессора] Ланге в Украинском физико-техническом институтедо войны работал научный сотрудник Кельман Вениамин Моисеевич очень талантливый человек, кандидат физико-математических наук. При объявлении войны т. Кельман был призван Кагановическим райвоенкоматом г. Харькова и сейчас находится в рядах Красной армии, являясь младшим лейтенантом воинской части № 43053,расположенной в пункте Кермине Узбекской АССР[1] .


Проф[ессор] Ланге не имеет сейчас ни одного сотрудника, и Лаборатория [2] выделяет ему для ускорения работы двух сотрудников проф[ессора] Кикоина  - тт. Симоненко и Полякова. Тов. Симоненко и т. Поляков в дальнейшем должны бытьпереведены на другую работу, и в связи с этим встает необходимость обеспечениякадрами работы, ведущейся проф[ессором] Ланге.


Т. Кельман, являясь исключительно способным и умелым работником, мог бы бытьрекомендован в качестве помощника проф[ессора] Ланге.


В связи с этим прошу Вас подписать письмо зам[естителю] наркома обороны т. Щаденко, содержащее просьбу об откомандировании т. Кельмана в руководимую мнойЛабораторию[3]. Тов. Кельман должен до встречи с проф[ессором] Ланге в Свердловскеприехать в Москву для получения инструкций.


Зав[едующий] Лабораторией проф[ессор] И. Курчатов

1.04.43 г.

[1] Так в документе: следует: Узбескекой ССР.

[2]Речь идет о Лаборатории № 2.

[3] В.М. Кельман был демобилизован только в декабре 1945 г. и начал работать в ЛФТИ.

Note of I.Kurchatov for M. Pervukhin “On the Necessity of Demobilizing V.M. Kelman.” 1 April 1943. Top secret.


Academic employee Kelman Veniamin Moiseevich worked until the war in Professor Lange’s Laboratory at the Ukrainian Institute of Physics and Technology. He is a very talented man, PhD in Physics and Mathematics. Following the declaration of war, comrade Kelman was mobilized by the Kaganovich military commissariat of Kharkov-city and is now in the Red Army, serving as a junior lieutenant of the military unit No. 43053 which is located in Kermin village in the Uzbek Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic[i].  

Professor Lange has not one research fellow, and the Laboratory[ii] allocates him two of professor Kikoin’s fellows – comrades Simonenko and Polyakov -- to accelerate his work. In the future, comrade Simonenko and comrade Polyakov should be transfered to other jobs, and therefore Professor Lange will need human resources.

Comrade Kelman is a very skillful research fellow, and he could be recommended as an assistant to Professor Lange.

Taking this into account, I ask you to sign a letter to Deputy of the People’s Commissar of Defense comrade Shchadov which will contain a request to send Kelman to the my laboratory[iii]. Before meeting with Professor Lange in Sverdlovsk, Comrade Kelman should come to Moscow to receive instructions.

Head of the Laboratory Professor I. Kurchatov

1 April 1943


[i] The correct name is Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic [note by editors of Atomic Project of USSR”].

[ii] This means Laboratory No.2 in Moscow [note by editors of Atomic Project of USSR”].

[iii] V.M. Kelman was demobilized only in December 1945 and started to work in LIPhT (Leningrad Institute of Physics and Technology) [note by editors of Atomic Project of USSR”].

In this document, the "father" of the first Soviet nuclear bomb, Igor Kurchatov, asks the chief of the Soviet ministry of energy, Pervukhin, to help demobilize the Ukranian physicist Veniamin Kelman, who was a fellow of UIPhT before the war. In this note Kurchatov writes about the high quality of the Ukrainian nuclear scientist and about his importance for the development of the Soviet nuclear program. This document once again demonstrates that Ukraine played a significant role in the Soviet military nuclear program.


Document Information


Atomic Project of USSR: Documents and Materials, Vol. 1, Part 1, Document No. 158, pp. 328-329. Obtained and translated for NPIHP by Oleksandr Cheban.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)