The specificity of the intelligence officer's activities is that his merits are learned years after the end of his career, and sometimes even after his death. The famous agent William Genrikhovich Fischer had many names. But most people know him as Rudolph Abel.
The future scout was born in Great Britain in 1903. His parents, Russian Germans, had recently been expelled from the country for revolutionary activities. Convinced Marxists, they were engaged in active propaganda, introduced the workers to the newspaper Iskra and were personally acquainted with Lenin. The parents gave their son a name in honor of Shakespeare.
From an early age, William developed a talent for the natural sciences, music and painting. The boy did not forget about children's pranks. Often he hijacked fishermen's boats with his friends; he was not even stopped by the fear of water and the inability to swim. As a teenager, he ended up as a draftsman at a shipyard, and a year later entered the university. But he did not get to finish his studies. The October Revolution broke out in Russia, and the Fischers decided to return to their homeland.
Return to Russia
In 1920, all family members received Soviet passports. They were lodged in the Kremlin alongside other famous revolutionaries. Soon the family suffered grief, the Fisher's eldest son, Harry, drowned in the river. William took the loss of his brother hard.
At first he was engaged in translations of the Comintern, then he studied at the Moscow art workshops, from there he was drafted into the army. During his service in the radiotelegraph regiment near Moscow, William became an excellent radio operator, helped by his old love of technology. The acquired specialty influenced his further work. Fischer got a job at the Air Force Research Institute as a radio technician.
First steps in exploration
A new stage in his biography was work in the foreign department of the OGPU. William got into the service for a reason. By that time, changes had taken place in the young man's personal life, he started a family, and his wife's sister, who worked as a translator in this organization, recommended him for the position. He started his career as a translator, and then got a job as a radio operator.
In 1930 he returned to Britain. The country's government did not interfere with this, especially since the Fishers retained their English citizenship. Under his own name, William worked as a radio station operator in England and Norway. An important task, which the young man successfully completed, was the assignment to return the Soviet physicist Pyotr Kapitsa to the USSR, Stalin very much desired this. The scout coped with the task perfectly, his knowledge of physics and the ability to persuade especially helped him. He spent seven years in illegal intelligence and gained invaluable experience.
They had to return to their homeland after the story with Alexander Orlov, when the Chekist, who stole money from the cash desk of the NKVD, emigrated to the United States. On the eve of 1939, Fischer also fell under the "purge of ranks" arranged by Beria. William had to work in the Chamber of Commerce, as a VOKhR shooter at an aircraft factory.
During the war
Fischer has repeatedly filed reports asking for reinstatement. He knew his job well and had a great desire to benefit the Motherland. He could find himself in the ranks only after the outbreak of the war. In 1941, the NKVD organized a unit that trained employees for work in the fascist rear. William led the training of radio operators who were sent to the territories occupied by the Nazis. At this moment, there was a fatal acquaintance with Rudolph Abel, with whose name his further biography was inextricably linked.
Work in the USA
The illegal started working in the USA in 1948. The government of the Soviet Union was very interested in the situation at the nuclear facilities of the rival side. With the passport of the Lithuanian Kayotis, he came to America and stayed in New York. Under the name of the artist Goldfuss, he opened a photographic studio in Brooklyn. Fischer became the head of the Soviet intelligence agency, and the Coen couple became his contacts. Under the call sign "Mark" he was actively involved in the work and took on important organizational issues. The employee's work turned out to be efficient, he regularly transmitted important information and documentation. Very soon, the management appreciated the contribution of the resident to the common cause and awarded the Order of the Red Banner. Later, six more orders and many medals were added to the first award.
Prison term and release
The Vick radio operator was sent to help Mark. But the assistant turned out to be psychologically unprepared for such work, he betrayed his leader to the American authorities and surrendered himself. In 1957, Fischer was arrested. He completely denied his involvement in intelligence and refused to cooperate with the intelligence services of America. Then, when arrested, he first called himself the name of his friend Rudolf Abel, thereby warning the Soviet leadership of failure.
The scout received a considerable prison term - 32 years, but served only part of the sentence in solitary confinement. During this period, the scout's fighting spirit remained unbroken. In the Atlanta prison, he solved math problems and remembered that he had once received an art education. During this period, he created many paintings, but the most famous is the portrait of Kennedy, which the artist personally donated to the president.
In 1962, the governments of both countries agreed to exchange prisoners. Rudolph Abel was traded for the downed American pilot Powers and detained for espionage and student economics Pryor. So, thanks to the efforts of Soviet intelligence, Abel was again at large. Upon returning to the Union, he continued his work in intelligence, trained young specialists. And he devoted all the remaining time to creativity - drawing pictures. Abel died in 1971 from cancer in Moscow.
Many pages of the fate of the famous intelligence officer have opened quite recently. His story prompted the writer Kozhevnikov to create the book "Shield and Sword", which was filmed. Documentary and feature films are dedicated to the fate of Fischer-Abel. The film "Dead Season" was based on his biography, and he himself acted as an advisor to the film. The experience of Rudolf Abel is invaluable material for aspiring scouts and remains an example of true service to his country.