Major General Yuri Ivanovich Drozdov very precisely defined the role of Abel, from 1979 to 1991, in honor of Abel, who headed our illegal foreign intelligence:
– William Genrikhovich Fisher, who took the name of his friend Lieutenant Colonel Rudolf Ivanovich Abel during his arrest in the United States, worked on nuclear issues. The most difficult period in world history – the end of the 1940s – 1950s – the spree of McCarthyism. And Abel was restoring in the United States what might have been partially lost as a result of postwar failures. It was not possible to restore everything, it did not work. He took a lot more time than he had. But there were new recruits, the acquisition of new agents. He saved a lot.
The trial in case No. 45094 “The US Government v. Rudolf Ivanovich Abel” became, according to the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, “one of the high-profile episodes of the Cold War “. He entered this peculiar battle alone and came out of the duel undefeated, preserving his officer’s honor and protecting the interests of our country.
One of the last photographs of Colonel Fisher-Abel. He always had a philosophy: devotion to the country. Photo: from the book by Nikolai Dolgopolov “Abel-Fischer”
Much has been said, written and filmed about Abel-Fischer. So my first article on the mysterious intelligence officer was published exactly 30 years ago. However, the hard work is paying off. Slowly but steadily coming out of oblivion, breaking in, coming out of secret or apparently lost files, new details, documented details, eyewitness accounts who decided to break the vow of silence voluntarily taken before the final game. So we can cite here episodes little known, but documented.
On December 31, 1938, Fischer was suspended from intelligence work without explanation. William himself thought about the reason for the dismissal. The brother of his wife Eli, the father of Lida’s beloved niece, ended up in prison. The unfortunate man, who did not know the measure in the drink, committed a crime. They gave me several years for a drunken fight. Usually they were not expelled from the Cheka for this. But who knows… Fischer was afraid of being arrested. However, he “lucky” and “carried.” That was “luck” back then. In September 1941, Abel returned to intelligence, where he worked in Moscow until 1948. And there, a new business trip.
In the United States, an illegal immigrant entered the passport of Andrew Caiotis. After the war, a Lithuanian with a US passport decided to visit his hometowns. But in Vilnius he became seriously ill and died. His career ended with Fischer’s comrades in the service. And a skillful craftsman, Colonel Pavel Gromushkin, pasted a picture of his friend William there.
The colonel endured interrogations and torture. He did not seek any cooperation, he did not mention the name of a single agent
Before leaving for the United States: a personal meeting with parting words from Vyacheslav Molotov. A business conversation was followed by a solemn informal dinner, rarely arranged in those years, to which, to the surprise of the whole family, wife Elena Stepanovna and daughter Evelina Vilyamovna were invited. This only emphasizes the importance of the task received by the illegal. Arach, such was Fisher’s first US operating pseudonym, was highly anticipated. The first own bomb was already in demolitions. And as always, at the last or penultimate moment: information on atomic issues was urgently required.
Colonel Rodolfo Abel. Photo: Getty Images
On October 12, 1948, the illegal immigrant left for the cordon of the Leningradsky railway station under the guise of a foreign diplomat. Abroad was followed by outdoor advertising. It was not just anyone, but the Minister of State Security, Viktor Abakumov himself, who acted as an employee of external surveillance. The caution and the legend of the game are inexplicable to me.
The first major port of call was West Germany, to which Arach traveled with numerous landings and transfers. From here, from the small port city of Cuxhaven, he began a long sea voyage to the shores of North America on the steamer Scythia. On November 14, the ship arrived in Quebec, Canada.
And already on November 16, billionaire New York was replenished with another resident – Andrew Kayotis. Legalization went well. The first results were obtained quickly, as was the military order for these achievements. In 1952, the illegal immigrant also got another American-sounding name: Emil Robert Goldfuss and another pseudonym: Mark.
According to legend, Emil Goldfuss was a freelance artist. But Fischer quickly refocused. The profession did not inspire much confidence and the legend had to be complemented. Emil also turned out to be an inventor, which he (Fischer) managed to confirm as a result of boring correspondence with the patent office and a photographer rolled into one. Goldfuss himself could not be offended by the Soviet illegal immigrant. The baby was born in the US in 1902 and, after living just over a year, died. The original documents from him, in some unknown way, migrated to Moscow, to the Lubyanka.
In New York, the resurrected Goldfuss opened his studio, then a photo lab and paint shop. However, Goldfuss at times reincarnated as Martin Collins, and to the Center and fellow Americans in the Volunteer group, with whom he made contact in May 1949, he remained Arachem, Mark, or Milt. It is curious that Mr. Goldfuss chose to live at 252 Fulton Street, near the FBI. A fact that later angered the director of the FBI, John Edgar Hoover.
Mark was betrayed by his radio operator Vik Heihanen. At first, not even the FBI believed the drunk scoundrel. But still he had to believe: the bastard provided strong evidence of his connection to intelligence. He was so stupid that he didn’t even remember the address of his resident’s apartment, where he once visited. He indicated only the search area, somewhere near Fulton Street.
Nearly a hundred detectives were involved in the operation, dragging stupid Vic around for several days. Many houses were inspected. Members of the FBI could not be denied perseverance. And yet they found an apartment. She was closed. Unsuspecting neighbors recalled that her dear neighbor, Mr. Goldfuss, had gone somewhere to rest at the end of April. The FBI tried to drag Mark into a meeting. Vik put up a symbol, but the Russian intelligence officer didn’t show up at the hideout. The agents around Vic waited in vain. Heihanen was used to the fullest. The escort assigned to him almost hit his hands when he reached the bottle. But it was no longer possible to stop drinking, otherwise the traitor became embittered, enraged, and then depressed. Complete pathology! And suddenly Vic jumped: here it is, that damn apartment.
In this prison cell, painted by Colonel Abel, he spent many years. Photo: From the book by Nikolai Dolgopolov “Abel-Fischer”
And the FBI worked exceptionally professionally. In the house across from 252, on the twelfth floor of the Turaine Hotel, a booth was set up. They kept their eyes on the windows of hotel room No. 505, as well as the entrances to the house. Binoculars with a tenfold magnification, a walkie-talkie – everything was at hand.
Once Mark was lost, who, however, penetrated into the apartment, the post the next time immediately reacted instantly to the light turned on in the apartment. They turned on the radio, the open air was ready. This is how Mark’s visit was recorded.
How did you do it anyway? Mark had to leave immediately. They were waiting for him in Mexico, and then to Europe and home. The colonel, having carefully checked several times, entered the apartment without being seen. He wanted to re-inspect the house carefully to get rid of anything that could be considered evidence. In one of the desk drawers, in two tiny containers made by him, letters from relatives were kept. Without turning on the light, I immediately felt a container. And the second, miniature, round, slipped out of his hands and rolled under the table. The Colonel searched for it for a long time and in vain in total darkness, rummaging on the floor. He went to the window, covered by thick curtains. Cautiously, through a small crack, he peered down the street. Nothing suspicious. He turned on the light, a few seconds and found the container that he had rolled to the pedestal. Immediately there was a flash of light.
They deftly led him directly from his house to the subway. Changed, changed lines. For a second it seemed like they were following him. But no, the quiet middle-aged man with a heavy-looking suitcase, who twice caught Mark’s eye, did not look like an outside agent at all. Yes, and from his rich experience, the colonel knew: carrying something, pushing a cart in front of him, tends to evade observation, confuse. This time he was taken aback.
Here they are – the heroes of domestic foreign intelligence. Photo: Olesya Kurpyaeva / RG
A passenger wearing a straw hat was photographed at the tube exit near the Latham Hotel. Identity established immediately. They reasoned with Heyhanen, and when he saw the photo, he happily nodded: “You found it.”
The colonel endured interrogations and torture. He did not agree to any cooperation, he did not name a single name of the agents. Not the electric chair, but 30 years in prison: he could get out of prison at 85. Five years later, Fisher-Abel was traded for American spy pilot Powers.
At home he taught young people, served, in his own words, as a “museum exhibit”, retired and died in 1971 of cancer. Still a brilliant memory, but Colonel Abel-Fischer deserved a little more, in my opinion. Maybe it was insulting … But, leaving, the daughter Evelina Vilyamovna dissuaded me: “I swear, they did not say, they did not mention two topics: the assignment of the rank of general and the title of Hero of the Soviet Union “And I ask you , if you sit down, write your elegy, be sure to mention it! This is my direct condition! Whatever they wrote about performances and delays, this topic was not even prohibited. Absolutely did not exist. Not a single word, not half a hint, and it hung in the air. That’s what I wasn’t interested in at all, I didn’t care that much.”