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Just declassified: More SACKLER FOIA
The latest FBI file on Beverly Sackler
Four years after my initial request, the National Archives has completed a de novo review of another FBI file regarding Beverly Sackler. As I always do, I am making the newly released files available publicly through my Substack account.
Beverly, who died in 2019, was the wife of Raymond Sackler, one of the three psychiatrist brothers who bought the Purdue drug company.
She served on Purdue’s board of directors during its OxyContin heyday.
The newly declassified FOIA document is FBI file 100-NY-73194. It consists of 44 pages, and 40 pages are released in full and 4 pages are released in part. All the information in this new FOIA release relates to Beverly and Raymond Sackler’s membership in the Communist Party of America.
Here is what I wrote about that in my book, PHARMA. Attached at the bottom of this post is a PDF of the FOIA release.
“On January 29, 1944, twenty-three-year-old Raymond married nineteen-year-old Beverly Feldman, a premed student at New York University. She was from a working-class Jewish family in the same Brooklyn neighborhood as the Sacklers. Raymond and Beverly shared Arthur’s hardline leftist politics. A confidential informant had secretly taken photos of the 1944 membership list of the Communist Party of America (CPA) Kensington Club on Church Avenue in Brooklyn. Among the names were Raymond Sackler and Beverly Feldman, both of whom the FBI discovered were card-carrying party members. When the newlyweds moved temporarily to Boston that April so Raymond could finish his Middlesex studies, they transferred their membership to the party’s Boston chapter. On Raymond’s graduation that September, the couple returned to Brooklyn. Beverly began studies at NYU Medical School while Raymond started as an intern at Harlem Hospital. Again, they requested their party memberships be returned to the local New York chapter.
The couple had joined the Communist Party during its peak in the years following the Great Depression and World War II. The party had only 6,000 members before the 1929 stock market crash. A decade later it was 66,000. In the 1930s and 1940s, half the members were Jewish, mostly Eastern European immigrant families like the Sacklers and Feldmans. According to A. B. Magil, a card-carrying member of the American Communist Party who later worked for Arthur, “a reliable source” told him that “all three Sacklers had been party members early on, but not for long.” I Raymond and Beverly remained steadfast communists through a period that tested the faith of some party loyalists. Joseph Stalin’s show trials of the old Bolshevik party leaders began in the mid-1930s. It was the start of Stalin’s bloody and brutal “Great Purge.” Germany’s communists had helped the Nazis bring down the Weimar Republic. Stalin signed a nonaggression pact with Hitler and then joined the Nazis in conquering and dividing Poland in September 1939.
The file the FBI opened on Raymond and Beverly in 1944 remained active at least until 1968. The Bureau occasionally assigned agents to call or visit the Sacklers, always under some concocted story, to discover if their Communist Party affiliation made them security risks. The family always refused to discuss any political allegiances with the FBI.”
From Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America (pp. 74-75). Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.