FOIA Request for Elliott Forry Laucks

James Katz filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
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From: James Katz

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

A copy of FBI files on Elliott Forry Laucks (other last names from family crest include Lauks, Laucks, Lauk, Loucks, Loux, Louck, Loucks, Lauck) who was born in or near York, Pennsylvania in 1898. He graduated from Gov. Dummer Academy in Massachusetts and Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He moved to West Orange, New Jersey in 1934 with his wife Josephine, and son Barry and daughter June. A copy of the 1940 census is attached. During the 1930s, he expressed his sympathies for Nazi Germany and became involved with the German-American bund. He wore a swastika lapel pin and expressed his pro-Nazi sentiments until he died in 1965. He built a house at 30 Collamore Terrace in West Orange New Jersey. The house was unique in that it had an observatory that faced east towards New York City, and a basement that was finished to resemble a hunting cabin including bunk beds and Adirondack chairs made from tree limbs. He was a chess grandmaster and christened the basement room the Log Cabin Chess Club. A picture of Mr. Loucks under the chess club banner is attached. Due to his largess and sponsorship of individuals and chess tournaments, the Log Cabin Chess Club became renowned in the United States. He became a sponsor of Bobby Fischer, the future world champion when Fischer was 13 in 1956. He also gave money to Fischer's mother Regina, paid for Fischer's entry fees, and gave him free membership in the Log Cabin Chess Club.

He was the son of S. Forry Laucks, owner of York Safe and Lock, located in York Pennsylvania. During World War II, York Safe and Lock supplied Bofors Naval cannons and 5-inch gun mounts to the U.S. Navy, and fuses and explosives to all branches of the military. The father died in 1942. At the end of World War II, Eliot Ness, of FBI fame as the leader of the “Untouchables”, was chairman of the board of the Diebold Corporation, which purchased York Safe and Lock, and later liquidated the remaining assets of York Safe and Lock. Elliott Loucks was the sole surviving heir to his father’s assets including York Safe and Lock. What relationship the pro-Nazi Elliott Loucks had to his father, a crucial defense contractor, or to Mr. Ness, the liquidator of his father’s principal assets, is conjecture that the FBI files could illuminate.

In February 1956, Laucks hosted a US contingent that traveled to a chess tournament in Cuba at the height of the Cold War. The group included future World Champion Bobby Fischer, age 13, his mother Regina Fischer, Laucks, Glen Herbst, and Norman Tweed Whitaker. Regina Fischer had been under FBI surveillance as a labor organizer and pro-communist since 1946, as revealed in the 750 page FOIA document released by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. Whitaker was a chess grandmaster, as well as a convicted car thief, extortionist in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and a child molester who had been imprisoned in Alcatraz where he was a Known Associate of Al Capone. Whitaker was a frequent guest at the West Orange house and played in tournaments there. Loucks had been financing the Fishers for nearly 2 years at that point. The trip was quite public, and the conclusion – the Americans lost to the Cubans – was covered in the New York Times. Hard to believe that a group that included an American Nazi, a known child molester in the presence of a young boy, and a communist sympathizer already under FBI surveillance did not attract the Bureau’s attention, if not directly, then in cross-referenced files.

Loucks continued to preside over the Log Cabin Chess Club, travel and played in numerous tournaments. However, in 1960, Loucks suddenly dissolved the Log Cabin Chess Club, sold the house and departed West Orange amid allegations of child molestation concerning the house manager, Alexander John Goodman (Gudding). Goodman was later identified by the Boy Scouts for having inappropriate contact with a nine year old on a camping trip. However, law enforcement was not contacted. Boy Scout documents are attached.

Lauck’s death from cardiac arrest while playing in a chess tournament July 31, 1965, during the US Open Chess Championship in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico was widely reported. See attached obituary.

Please include all materials found in other subject files and all materials associated with any potentially-related names and any other known aliases, nicknames, code names, or any other identifying pseudonyms or references utilized by this agency.
Please consult the Central Records System and records, the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System and records, Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) records, Physical Surveillance (FISUR) records, Technical Surveillance (TESUR) records, and all available cross-reference indices, databases, and records, in addition to any other locations containing potentially-responsive materials.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


James Katz

  • 1Alex20Goodman20Gudding20LA20Times.pdf

  • 120Josephine20Laucks20from20Ward20120West20Orange20in20194020Census20District207-377.pdf

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

There are eFOIA files available for you to download.

  • Eaf951f61613a16f98e81e2c7c04b666950c23aea_Q42272_D2132883



  • 1Alex20Goodman20Gudding20LA20Times.pdf

  • 120Josephine20Laucks20from20Ward20120West20Orange20in20194020Census20District207-377.pdf

  • Eaf951f61613a16f98e81e2c7c04b666950c23aea_Q42272_D2132883