Benjamin Edwin Sackett

FatherLouis Sackett (1882-1945)
MotherLillian Dvorkin (1885-1958)
Benjamin Edwin Sackett, son of Louis Sackett and Lillian Dvorkin, was born in Newark, Essex County, New JerseyG, on 15 May 1911.1 He died aged 91 in the Baptist Medical Center, Jacksonville, Duval County, FloridaG, on 25 October 20022,3 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, VirginiaG, on 9 May 2003.4
     Benjamin was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, his father presumably taking the name "Sackett" upon immigration to the United States.
     In 1920 Benjamin was living at Stuyvesant Avenue, Irvington, Essex County, New JerseyG, in the household of his parents Louis and Lillian, and was recorded in the census as Benjamin Sackett, aged eight and born in New Jersey.5
     B Edwin Sackett was the special agent in charge of the New York division of the FBI. He retired from the service in November 1941 after 13 years' service.6
     Benjamin served in the US Army during the Second World War, enlisting on 29 June 1943 and achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
     Benjamin described in an article in Cosmopolitan magazine in March 1942 how he and his FBI team caught and successfully prosecuted 33 German spies in New York, using information given by the Gestapo to a German-born but loyal American citizen who had been "recruited" by the German secret service during a visit to his homeland.7
"Spies Active for Over Two Years

War against the United States did not start with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It had been in active progress for over two years.

Our internal enemies—agents of Japan, Germany, and Italy had been unceasingly active. So charges the report of B. Edwin Sackett, former special agent in charge of the New York division of the F.B.I., whose detailed report of smashing the Nazi spy ring appears in the March issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Sackett describes in his article the roundup of the largest group of espionage agents in America history, 33 in all, who were trapped by thorough-going, meticulous work of the F.B.I. With them worked William G. Sebold, a German-born, naturalized American citizen who was trapped by the Gestapo on a visit to his homeland. The German secret service enlisted the services of the one-time aircraft mechanic to obtain detailed plans of American defenses. But they were foiled.

Once he was back in New York, Sebold told his story to the F.B.I., and their collaboration resulted in the startling expose last June. Sackett relates how Sebold was given detailed instructions when he left Germany. Included were plans for a short-wave set direct to Germany, names of secret agents to contact in New York. These instructions Sebold carried out, but with the full knowledge of the F.B.I.

Sebold, Sackett says, met the secret agents, talked with them and gave them spurious information. But each meeting was recorded by F.B.I. motion picture cameras, cleverly concealed. Further counter-espionage efforts included constant surveillance of dozens of people; secret codes; invisible inks, micro-photographs the size of a pinhead. And after a year and a half's work, the agents were trapped.

The case was airtight. The jury found all the defendants guilty. The largest espionage ring in America's modern history was finally liquidated—the American way—through a fair trial before a jury instead of death before a firing squad."

—The Denison Press (Denison, Texas), 19 Feb 1942.
Benjamin Edwin Sackett (1905*–2002), Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia
(Src: Find A Grave, A Horan)
[*Actual 1911]

 Notes & Citations

  1. Death record, SSDI and father's naturalization papers have birth date 15 May 1911 and this is supported by the 1920 census record; cemetery record 15 May 1905 would appear to be in error.
  2. US Social Security Administration, "Social Security Death Index" (American Ancestors transcript), "B Edwin E Sackett, b. May 15, 1911, d. Oct 25, 2002, SSN 313-20-1536 issued IN, residence Greenwich, Connecticut, 06831, county Fairfield."
  3. "U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007" (Ancestry transcript), "Sackett, Benjamin E, b. 15 May 1911, d. 25 Oct 2002, claim date 3 May 1973. Also listed as B Edwin Sackett."
  4. "U.S. Veterans Gravesites" (Ancestry transcript), "Benjamin Edwin Sackett, LTC US Army, World War II, b. 15 May 1905, d. 25 Oct 2002, bur. Arlington National Cemetery, 9 May 2003, section 67, site 4058, service start date 29 Jun 1943."
  5. 1920 United States Federal Census, Roll T625_1030, p. 3B, Enumeration District 59, Image 103
    Stuyvesant Avenue, Irvington, Essex County, New Jersey, 3 Jan 1920
    Sackett, Louis L, head, home rented, 43, married, immigrated 1903, collector, insurance co, b. Russia, father b. Russia, mother b. Russia
    Sackett, Lillian, wife, 34, immigrated 1905, b. Russia, father b. Russia, mother b. Russia
    Sackett, Benjamin, son, 8, b. NJ, father b. Russia, mother b. Russia
    Sackett, Alfred, son, 5, b. NJ, father b. Russia, mother b. Russia
    Sackett, Robert L, 1/12, b. NJ, father b. Russia, mother b. Russia.
  6. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, digital image, (, "B. E. Sackett, FBI Chief Here, Resigns
    B. Edwin Sackett, special agent in charge of the New York Division of the FBI, today announced his resignation, effective Nov. 13.
    Sackett said he had "yielded to the importunities of my family to enter civilian life." He added he was ready to answer any "call" the Government may make in the present emergency. He has served in the FBI for 13 years."
  7. The Denison Press (Denison, Texas), digital image, University of North Texas, Texas History (, 19 Feb 1942, "Spies Active for Over Two Years."
Appears inNotable Sacketts
Sacketts in the Military
Last Edited16 Sep 2019

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