The key role played by Canadian Communist Fred Rose in atomic espionage is explained here for the first time. Born in Lublin, Poland, in 1907, he came to Montreal with his parents, joined the Young Communist League and was elected National Secretary in 1929. A secret member of Gaik Ovakimyan's North American NKVD network, he worked with Jacob Golos, Elizabeth Bentley's employer, in securing Canadian passports for Soviet agents. In 1943 Rose was elected to the federal Canadian parliament from a working class district in Montreal.
In September 1945, Soviet embassy clerk Igor Gouzenko defected with documents that revealed an elaborate espionage operation to acquire American atomic research. Fred Rose was a major player in the scheme. Rose was found guilty of conspiring to turn over information about the explosive RDX to the Soviets, and was sentenced to a six-year prison term.
He returned to his native Poland in 1953 and died in Warsaw in 1983, a disillusioned witness to the collapse of the Leninist vision he'd lived by.
David Levy is a film historian and producer. This is his first work of espionage nonfiction.
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