50 Years Ago — Remembering Russian Spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (July 11, 1903 – November 15, 1971)

James Donovan — You have been charged with three counts and nineteen overt acts. Conspiracy to transmit United States defence and atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, conspiracy to gather secrets, and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Rudolf Abel — Do many foreign agents register?

Bridge of Spies  (2015) 


(Original Caption) Photo shows Rudolf Abel, accused spy arriving to have a conference with his court appointed attorney James B. Donovan, on the right of Abel is Federal Marshall William E. Smith.

November 15 2021 — Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, real name Vilyam “Willie” Genrikhovich Fisher, (July 11, 1903 – November 15, 1971) was a Soviet intelligence officer. He adopted his alias when arrested on charges of conspiracy by FBI agents in 1957. He  was exchanged for captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: On This Day — U2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers Exchanged in Spy Swap for KGB Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (February 10 1962)

RELATED POST: Former Double Agent : “Self-destruction of humankind has been put back on the agenda”

RELATED POST: The “FAREWELL DOSSIER”: Geopolitical consequences on the end of the Cold War

Rudolf Abel in the studio, 1957. (Photo courtesy Silverman Studios, Inc.)

Fisher was born in the United Kingdom to Russian émigré parents. He moved to Russia in the 1920s, and served in the Soviet military before undertaking foreign service as a radio operator in Soviet intelligence in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

He later served in an instructional role before taking part in intelligence operations against the Germans during World War II.

After the war, he began working for the KGB, which sent him to the United States where he worked as part of a spy ring based in New York City.

In 1957, the U.S. Federal Court in New York convicted Fisher on three counts of conspiracy as a Soviet spy for his involvement in what became known as the Hollow Nickel Case and sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment at Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, Georgia.

He served just over four years of his sentence before he was exchanged for captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

A reproduction of a stamp showing a drawing of a balding elderly man wearing glasses

Back in the Soviet Union, he lectured on his experiences. He died on November 15 1971 at the age of 68.

In 1990 the USSR released a stamp depicting Rudolf Abel as part of series: “Intelligence Agents”.

James Donovan (Tom Hanks): "Do you never worry?" Rudolf Abel (Mark  Rylance): "Would it help?" - Bridge of Spies | Rudolf abel, Tom hanks,  Donovan

In Popular Culture

In Steven Spielberg’s 2015 film Bridge of Spies, Fisher/Abel is portrayed by Mark Rylance.

For his performance, Rylance won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Soviet KGB Spy Colonel Rudolph Abel Captured in 1957, Real Footage (Silent Film)


Bridge of Spies — Official Trailer

A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, BRIDGE OF SPIES tells the story of James Donovan (Hanks), a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the centre of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.

Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable experience in Donovan’s life into a story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.


Rudolf Abel — Wikipedia


50 Years Ago — Remembering Russian Spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (July 11, 1903 – November 15, 1971)

This entry was posted in Rudolf Ivanovich Abel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s