|The Man With the Iron Heart|
POD: May 29, 1942;
Relevant POD: May, 1945
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
Moisei Shteinberg was Vladimir Bokov's immediate superior in the NKVD while stationed in Berlin. A Jew, he took a particular pleasure in making German civilians miserable after World War II, especially when the German Freedom Front launched its uprising. Bokov was wary of Shteinberg, fearing that his superior might be more devoted to his religion than to the Soviet Union. Bokov also wondered if Shteinberg might be a zek; his tough talk and callous indifference to the suffering of German civilians spoke of someone who'd been in a prison camp.
Shteinberg and Bokov worked closely together in their efforts to break the GFF. On 31 December 1945, both Shteinberg and Bokov came down with the flu. This actually saved their lives, as the GFF was able to successfully poison most of the Soviet Union's key occupation officials with wood alcohol. Both arrived at the site of the party, and quickly realized that the attack had been made possible in part due to the lax security. They also quickly realized that they were unlikely to catch the parties responsible.
Over the next year, Shteinberg oversaw Bokov's investigations. Bokov subtly began to hint that more cooperation between the USSR and the United States would be in their mutual interests, but Shteinberg, familiar with the ways of the Soviet Union, gently vetoed these suggestions.
In February 1947, Shteinberg lost the lower part of his ear during a truck-bomb attack.
In July 1947, the Allies were again ready to put various German war criminals on trial (two previous attempts had been foiled by GFF attacks). The USSR agreed to host the trials this time. Shteinberg and Bokov were both assigned to oversee security measures. By chance they encountered a Jew named Shmuel Birnbaum who'd survived the German camps. Birnbaum had been shot and wounded when he didn't move at the order of a soldier. During the encounter, both Bokov and Shteinberg realized that Birnbaum had helped build the GFF's headquarters. Unfortunately, the project had been in the American zone. Shteinberg, now sympathetic to the idea of cooperation, particularly as the information was clearly good, went with Bokov to request permission for contact with U.S. forces. Their superior, Lt. General Yuri Vlasov, flatly denied their request.
On the day the trial was scheduled to begin, a GFF pilot crashed an American C-47 into the Berlin courthouse. Both Bokov and Shteinberg witnessed the event. Bokov, having had enough, screwed up his courage, and suggested to his superior that they demand Vlasov allow them to share information with the Americans. Shteinberg, equally horrified, agreed. This time the two threatened that they would go to Lavrenty Beria himself. Vlasov agreed.
After Bokov delivered Birnbaum to the Americans, results were not fast in coming. In the meantime, the GFF destroyed the Red Army memorial the USSR had built in Berlin. Then, in the waning days of 1947, the American army killed Reinhard Heydrich. Despite Heydrich's death, the GFF remained active, hijacking two American planes and one Soviet plane. Bokov and Shteinberg were given the task of dealing with the Soviet plane, which was being held in Prague. Realizing that they were being tested by General Vlasov, the two NKVD men ordered that the plane be raided. The raid killed all the GFF men aboard, with only two dead hostages, a loss deemed acceptable.
Shteinberg continued at his station in Berlin, and watched with disappointment as the Americans left.