Helen Silvermaster bigraphy, stories - Soviet spy in the United States

Helen Silvermaster : biography

19 July 1899 - 22 (aged 92) December 1991

Helen P. Silvermaster (July 19, 1899 — December 22, 1991) was an accused Soviet spy.



She died on December 22, 1991 in Beach Haven, New Jersey, aged 92.


Elena Witte was born in 1899 in Tsarist Russia. Her father, Baron Peter Witte, was a counselor to Tsar Nikolai II and acted as an advisor to the Mongolian government. After the October Revolution he was arrested by Bolcheviks, but later released. After her father's arrest, she moved to China and married a Russian, becoming known as Elena Volkov, around 1923.

The couple emigrated to San Francisco, California in 1924 where their son, Anatole Boris Volkov was born the same year. Shortly after their son's birth the couple separated. Helen began a relationship with Nathan Gregory Silvermaster; the couple wed in 1930 and remained married until Nathan's death in 1964.

The couple came to Washington D.C. in 1939. In Washington, she was one of the leaders of the Washington Bookshop, the American League for Peace and Democracy, the Washington Committee for Aid to China, and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties. All these organizations were Comintern and CPUSA sponsored organizations. Her code name with Soviet intelligence, identified in Venona decrypts, was "Dora".

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