Harry Gold was born in Philadelphia on 12th December, 1910. After leaving school Gold worked for the Pennsylvania Sugar Company as a laboratory assistant. He lost his job in 1932 as a result of the Depression. After a variety of menial jobs, Gold studied chemical engineering at Drexel Institute (1934-36). He eventually found work with Brothman Associates.
On 5th September 1945, Igor Gouzenko, a KGB intelligence officer based in Canada, defected to the West claiming he had evidence of an Soviet spy ring based in Britain. Gouzenko provided evidence that led to the arrest of 22 local agents and 15 Soviet spies in Canada. Some of this information from Gouzenko resulted in Klaus Fuchs being interviewed by MI5. In 1950 Fuchs, head of the physics department of the British nuclear research centre at Harwell, was arrested and charged with espionage.
Klaus Fuchs eventually confessed that he had been passing information to the Soviet Union since working on the Manhattan Project during the Second World War. However, after repeated interviews with Jim Skardon he eventually confessed on 23rd January 1950 to passing information to the Soviet Union . Six weeks later Fuchs was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The FBI were desperate to discover the names of the spies who had worked with Klaus Fuchs while he had been in America. Elizabeth Bentley, a former member of the American Communist Party, had in 1945 given FBI agents eighty names of people she believed were involved in espionage. At the time it had been impossible to acquire enough information to bring the suspects to court. These people were interviewed again and one of them, Harry Gold, confessed that he had acted as Fuchs's courier. He admitted that he had involved in espionage since 1934 and had helped Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union. Gold's confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass. His testimony resulted in the arrest, trial and execution of Ethel Rosenberg and Julius Rosenberg.
Gold was sentenced in 1951 to thirty years imprisonment. He was paroled in May, 1966, after serving just over half of his sentence.
Harry Gold died in 1972.
Harry Gold (11 December 1910 – 28 August 1972) was a laboratory chemist who was convicted of being the “courier” for a number of Soviet spy rings during the Manhattan Project.
Gold was born in Switzerland to poor Russian Jewish immigrants. As a young man he became interested in socialism which eventually led him to contacts within the Communist movement.
After leaving school, Gold worked for the Pennsylvania Sugar Company as a laboratory assistant. He lost his job in 1932 as a result of the Great Depression. After a variety of menial jobs, Gold studied chemical engineering at Drexel Institute (1934–36). Gold was recruited into espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union in 1935 by Thomas Lessing Black. He eventually found work with Brothman Associates.
In 1940, Gold was activated for Soviet espionage by Jacob Golos, but he was not a recruited agent of the rezidentura. This changed in late 1940 when Soviet Case Officer Semyon Semenov appropriated Gold from Golos (Gold confession, KF-AS, p. 196). Gold became a formally recruited Soviet agent at this time, and was assigned the codename GUS, or GOOSE. Semyonov remained Gold's control officer until March 1944.
In 1950, Klaus Fuchs was arrested in England and charged with espionage. Fuchs confessed that while working in the United States during World War II he had passed information about the atom bomb to the Soviet Union. Fuchs denied working with other spies, except for a courier who collected information from him. When initially shown photographs of suspects, including Gold, he failed to identify him as the courier, but did so after subsequent prompting.
Under interrogation, Gold admitted that he had been involved in espionage since 1934 and had helped Fuchs pass information about the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union by way of Soviet General Consul Anatoli Yakovlev. Gold's confession led to the arrest of David Greenglass. His testimony resulted in the arrest, trial and execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, though in later trials he was revealed to be a somewhat unreliable witness.
Harry Gold was sentenced in 1951 to thirty years imprisonment. He was paroled in May 1965, after serving just over half of his sentence.
He died in 1972 in Philadelphia, where he is buried in Har Nebo Cemetery.