Rudolf Abel had numerous aliases as noted by Thomas Debevoise who was assisting James B. Donovan in the trial of Rudolf Abel. Note that his real name—Willy Fisher—is not on this list. Image online via the Hoover Institution and its James B. Donovan Collection.


His cover—as an artist—suited Fisher/Kayotis/Goldfus/Abel perfectly since he actually knew how to paint. One would expect a photographer to have cameras, so no one ever questioned who he really was.

There were a few other things which Abel also used in his New-York life.

He possessed shortwave-radio transmitting and receiving equipment. His friend Burton Silverman—who produced a portrait of Abel as he appeared during his Brooklyn years—saw (and heard) the short-wave radio but thought nothing of it.

When Abel moved to the States, the Cold War was already underway. America had the atomic bomb but, as far as the average American citizen knew, Russia did not. Of course, Americans were wrong about that.

By the time the U.S. had exploded its first bomb, Joseph Stalin—the Soviet leader—knew about America’s “secret” weapon. Stalin had hoodwinked President Truman—during the Potsdam Conference—when he pretended not to know about America’s new weapon of mass destruction.

Soviet experts, however, were already at work on a Soviet-produced atomic bomb. They’d been helped by spies who passed-along top-secret information from America’s “Manhattan Project.”

The year after Fisher/Kayotis/Goldfus/Abel moved into his Brooklyn apartment, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. To say that Americans were shocked by this development is to grossly underestimate the event’s impact on Russia’s former ally.

Thereafter, a kind of Cold-War “Red Scare” took serious hold in America.  

People worried about spies, but how would anyone know that a man who spoke English with the accent of an upperclass Brit could be one of them?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 22, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"RUDOLF ABEL MOVES to AMERICA" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 22, 2015. Jan 28, 2020.
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