Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Department of Defense Tells the "Hollow Nickel" Story
If you see something, say something.
That's what Brooklyn Eagle paperboy Jimmy Bozart did, back in the good old days of the 20th century, when the Soviet Union was our enemy. Bozart was collecting his subscription money one evening in 1953 in Brownsville, Brooklyn, when he came upon a strange coin. Upon dropping the nickel on the ground, it split open, and inside was contained a small piece of paper with some sort of numerical code on it. Rather than writing it off as a curiosity, he took it to the police, who in turn gave it to the feds. With the help of an ex-KGB man who had defected to the U.S., they were able to crack the code, as well as bust a Soviet spy operating right here in Brooklyn, Rudolf Abel. Abel had kept a studio right on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
The 1958 propaganda film above was made by the Department of Defense and uses the "Hollow Nickel Case" as a tool to hit home just how real the Soviet threat was. There is news footage of Abel's Brooklyn neighbors being interviewed and of the Fulton Street (now Cadman Plaza) building where he was based (the building is no longer there). The film appears to have been aimed at American industrial workers who were involved in making defense products/weapons, and emphasized the importance of keeping American technology out of the enemy's hands. Enjoy!
Also for your reading pleasure: The Hollow Nickel Case: Espionage in the Borough of Brooklyn [Brooklyn Eagle]
Posted by BklynBeforeNow at 4:08 PM