Harry Gold

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Secret apparatus
Manhattan Project
Rosenberg ring

Harry Gold

Harry Gold (December 11, 1910 – August 28, 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 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 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 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 covername 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 the Second World War he had passed information about the atom bomb to the Soviet Union. Though Fuchs would not or could not provide the names of other members of his spy ring, the FBI was able to use his descriptions to find and arrest Gold.

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 Ethel and Julius 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 1966, after serving just over half of his sentence.

See also


  • Harry Gold testimony, 26 April 1956, part 20, 1020, both in “Scope of Soviet Activity in the United States,” U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act, 84th Cong., 2d sess.
  • Robert Lamphere and Tom Shachtman, The FBI-KGB War (New York: Random House, 1986)
  • Williams, Robert Chadwell, Klaus Fuchs: Atom Spy, Harvard University Press 1987 ISBN 0-674-50507-7