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Soviet Intelligence Officer
Died when: 68 years 127 days
Star Sign: Cancer
Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (Russian: Рудольф Иванович Абель), real name William August Fisher (July 11, 1903 – November 15, 1971), was a Soviet intelligence officer. He adopted his alias when arrested on charges of conspiracy by the FBI in 1957. Fisher was born and raised in the North of England 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 '30s. 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. Back in the Soviet Union, he lectured on his experiences. He died in 1971 at the age of 68.