Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (William Henrikhovich Fisher) was born on July 11, 1903 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (England). His parents were expelled from Russia in 1901 for revolutionary activities. From childhood, William was interested in natural sciences. At the age of 16, he entered the University of London.
In 1920, returning to Russia, the Fisher family adopted Soviet citizenship. William worked as a translator for the Executive Committee of the Communist International (Comintern). In 1924 he entered the Indian branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow, but after studying only one course, he was called up for military service. In 1927, young Fischer was hired by the OGPU. He worked as an illegal intelligence agent in two European countries. In 1938 he was dismissed from the NKVD and worked for some time at the All-Union Chamber of Commerce, and then at an aircraft plant.
In 1941, he manages to return to intelligence. At this time, he was organizing sabotage groups and partisan detachments behind enemy lines. In November 1948, an intelligence officer was sent to work illegally in the United States to obtain information from sources working at nuclear facilities. His work was so successful that in August 1949 he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.
In 1957, after the betrayal of one of his confidants, the Soviet intelligence officer was arrested by FBI agents. In order to let Moscow know about his arrest, Fischer, when arrested, named himself after his late friend Abel, whom he met in 1941. During the investigation, he categorically denied that he belonged to intelligence. He was sentenced by the court to 30 years in prison.
On February 10, 1962, Fischer was traded for an American pilot, Francis Powers, who was shot down near Sverdlovsk and convicted by a Soviet court for espionage. Subsequently, William Fisher returned to work in the central office and took part in the training of young intelligence officers.
William Genrikhovich Fisher died on November 15, 1971 in Moscow from lung cancer.