Last modified on June 28, 2020, at 23:21

Alexander Koral

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Secret apparatus
Silvermaster group

Alexander Koral was an American member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) who headed a network of spies for Soviet intelligence during World War II called the "Art" or "Berg" group. Koral's wife, Helen Koral, also was involved with the group.

The FBI first detected Koral in 1941 while surveiling Gaik Ovakimian, who the FBI did not realize at the time was the head of KGB operations in the United States. The FBI noted Ovakimian meeting several times with Koral, though no espionage could be proved. Koral was working at the time as a school district maintenance man.

After World War II, in 1947 Koral confessed when confronted by the FBI to being a courier for the KGB from 1939 to 1945. Koral told the FBI he was paid two thousand dollars to travel to different cities to pick up and deliver small packages and envelopes to different persons, including Greg Silvermaster and Helen Silvermaster. In December 1945 Koral was sent to tell Silvermaster “no more visits would be made to him”, at the time of Elizabeth Bentley's defection and the Soviet networks were being compromised. Koral identified Semyon Semenov as one of his contacts in Soviet intelligence to whom he had delivered materials.

Koral was also a contact of Michael Straight. Koral's code name in the Soviet intelligence, and as deciphered in the venona decrypts is "Berg".


Alexander Koral is referenced in the following Venona project decrypts:


  • Allen Weinstein and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—the Stalin Era (New York: Random House, 1999).
  • New York FBI memo, 7 December 1945, FBI Silvermaster file, serial 248.
  • Ladd to Hoover, 12 December 1945, FBI Silvermaster file, serial 235.
  • Koral statement, 11 June 1947, FBI Silvermaster file, serial 2608.
  • Alexander Koral interview summary, 9 June 1947, FBI Silvermaster file, serial 2571.
  • FBI memorandum, “Existing Corroboration of Bentley's Overall Testimony,” 6 May 1955, FBI Silvermaster file, serial 4201.
  • Alexander Vassiliev, Untitled Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on the Failed American Networks (2003)
  • David Caute, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge under Truman and Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pg. 156.
  • Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev, The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives (London: HarperCollins, 1998)
  • Michael Straight, After Long Silence (New York: Norton, 1983)
  • Professors of Denial, Ignoring the Truth About American Communists Weekly Standard, 21 March 2005 by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press (1999), pgs. 151–152, 157, 353, 415n91, 455.